Monday, March 26, 2012

Ecotopia CDA

Map of Cascadia; Columbia River watershed areas.
Imagine a future world where common bioregional areas encompassing major parts of the Pacific Northwest secede and form their own country.  An environmentally-minded, socially liberal, and fiercely independent and self-governed nation determined to set themselves apart from the wonton consumerism-at-any-expense practiced by the rest of the contiguous United States.  This "Ecotopia" is the subject of Ernest Callenbach's 1974 novel of the same name.  He imagines such a place as a utopia of forward-thinking independent citizens who embrace the rugged individualism embodied by their lush and fertile landscape, and place ecological priorities above all others.  Callenbach's book celebrates the ideals of Cascadia in a fictional way but is significant in that he presents a functioning, ecologically enlightened society in a realistic way for the first time.

I was inspired by Callenbach's vision of the future and the ever larger number of delicious Cascadian Dark Ales being produced to make one of my own.  Ecotopia CDA makes use of generous amounts of hops, but deviates from traditional varietals in the use of Citra in the finish and for dry hopping.  American 2 row, crystal 120, chocolate and Carafa II (dehusked) comprise the grain bill.  I mashed on the cooler side (148 degrees F) to encourage beta-amylase activity for a more fermentable mash.  I'll be adding a pound of raw, unfiltered clover honey to secondary to dry the beer out further and hopefully retain some of the raw honey's characteristics.  It should be opaque, hoppy, medium-bodied and delicious.

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