Last Sunday, we were in the city of Harrisburg to attend a church service where two of our friends were guest musicians. Harrisburg apparently these days is three times more dangerous than Philly. Yikes. I checked out a map of the most recent crime map to see if we were possibly headed for a Sunday morning stick-up. What the heck happened, what the heck is happening? The city of Harrisburg has become a hellhole. All the more reason for a church to be doing its work of preaching, teaching, and discipleship.  After the service concluded, we debated where to catch some lunch.

We hiked over to the Appalachian Brewing Company a few minutes away. Normally I am fairly reticent about drinking beer during the day. Leaves me sluggish. Yet, a relaxing brew or two with friends on a Sunday afternoon with a good burger is not a bad plan. I had a bit of an edge because I drank too much coffee that morning and wanted to chill with a cold one. I opted for the Trail Blaze Organic Brown Ale. Definitely hit the spot with the burger. Always good to have food with drink, it moderates consumption. Festive.

My dream one day is to make my own organic ale from the bottom up so this offering from ABC is a bit model for what that might look and taste like. I want to grow my own barley, malt it, harvest homegrown hops (I actually have the hop garden started), and cultivate the yeast. Off the grid, not for electricity, but for beer. Green beer. I tried to grow the barley last summer and it was doing fine, with intense watering, but when we left for California and Vancouver, British Columbia, last July for almost three weeks, the barley baked to brown and dead. Like straw.

Beer, like communities, is better when the ingredients are of a high-quality. The Brown Ale from ABC is a very good beer. Unfortunately, Harrisburg has a real bad element in the mix and it had better start raising up those qualities that enrich the community rather than cause it to become a desert of destruction and mayhem. The trail to Hell is also paved with bad intentions.               


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