Freedom as in beer… as in free beer

Webster’s own shared CC by Garrettc

If you read this blog, or seen me give a talk, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the learning party as thrown by the Sustainable Living Arts School. It’s a simple and social way of sharing skills and having fun, whether it’s getting a sense of what bees do for us (and what we can do for them) or learning how to make kimchee.

But there has been one gap in my own learning that has left me feeling very vulnerable in an increasingly harsh and unmoored consumerist society. I’m talking booze security. With the price of liquor, beer and wine continuing to climb, it’s hard not to fear what an uncertain future may hold. A sobering sober thought indeed.

So finally, SLAS has stepped up and is organizing its first ever home brewing learning party:

Our guide for the day: John Margetts

“I first pitched some yeast into a beer kit a little more than twenty years ago but I really started making beer about 11 years ago. That was when I first met Dan [of Dan’s Homebrewing Supplies – a sponsor of this learning party – BL] and he taught me how to use a mash tun and the value of using fresh hops.”

There are so many reasons to brew your own beer: it’s cheaper, it’s tastier, it’s often better for you (unfiltered, unpasteurized) and has real food value, it’s less predictable (i.e., more interesting), it’s educational and empowering to do it yourself. It’s one step in the right direction- avoiding mindless consumerism. The old saying about chopping your own firewood applies: it warms you twice, and it’s fun.

Teachers provide some guidance, but the real learning comes from the student her/himself and their experiences. I think the best way to learn how to do something is by working with someone with experience and then just doing it and learning from your successes and failures both.”

So if you can’t tell from that description, this ain’t that swill that cheap frat boys peddle when the keg runs dry, this is the real deal. I don’t ever want to stop enjoying the many different lagers and ales available around the world (hello Pilsner Urquell, how do you do Tree Cutthroat Pale?), but this strikes me as precisely the skillset I need to ensure the tap never runs dry at home.

This workshop is a two-parter. Brewing goes Monday, March 29 from 7-9:30; Part 2 is Bottling, Monday, April 12 from 7-9:30

You will leave not just with invaluable knowledge, but with at least 2 litres of what we brew up. And this event will put the party into learning party, thanks to the kind sponsorship of the Tree Brewing Company (for my money BC’s best brewer… and believe me I’ve laid my money down), who will be providing ample samples of their delightful wares.

If you like beer, want to drink some, and want to know more about it, you can register at:

I feel as if all the work and learning I’ve done in the public and open education space has merely been a prelude to this learning party. That, and I feel thirsty.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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