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Green Geek Beer 195

DigiDave writes "A time honored tradition on St Patty's Day is to drink green beer. But some breweries go out of their way to make sure that the brewskies we drink are always green, by using environmentally friendly brewing methods. The makers of Fat Tire, for example, use a cogeneration process that involves anaerobic bacteria turning wastewater into methane gas for power."
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Green Geek Beer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:31AM (#14947190)
    St. Paddy's was yesterday.
    • I thought the title was "Green Greek Bear"... curse my blurry monitor!!! :)

      Now that i think of it, that would be cool... :)
      • You mean this isn't "News For Greeks..." ?
      • The Green Greek Bear, sponsoring the college frat tradition of drinking 'til you're green!
      • It was greek's beer for me the first time i read it ...

        from tfa :

        Its choice of method is wind power, which provides 100 percent of the brewery's energy needs, making the 1,658,000 gallons of beer it produces green year-round.

        so, no wind, no beer ? all the green one's and also the greeks have to blow really hard all year around to get any drop of beer. so during the thunderstorms you get all the beer you'll need, and on a nice quite windless hot summer day you're on the dry. that may be nature friendly and s
    • Not surprisingly, Zonk seems to be living in a world of his own. On Thursday, March 16 he posted the Gnome 2.14 story that started "Beware the Ides of March..." (Here's a clue, Zonk. The Ides of March is March 15). Then he posts this St. Patty's Day story on Saturday, March 18 (Another clue, Zonk. St Patty's Day fell on Friday, March 17 this year). It's really not that difficult to keep up on which day of the week it is, especially if you're trying to post topically relevent information for your job...
  • St Patty's day (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark2003 ( 632879 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:34AM (#14947197)
    St Patty?

    Maybe someone is still struggling after a few too many beers?

    I'm not sure I would call this a time honoured tradition either - I'd never even heard of green beer until I went to the US. I'd never seen it either in Ireland or any of the Irish (and I mean real Irish pubs in Kilburn owned by Irish landlords full of first generation Irish people or Irish people working temporarily in London) pubs in the UK I've been to on St Patricks day.
    • It is great though to see companies looking to minimise their environmental impact.
  • Pitching in (Score:5, Funny)

    by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:37AM (#14947199)
    Each of us should be taking local actions to do our part for the planet. For example, I've been using my own anaerobic process to turn beer into methane gas for many years now.
  • Fat Tire (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Solder Fumes ( 797270 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:44AM (#14947206)
    Fat Tire is pretty good. It's not recommended if you ever plan to go back to Bud. Some people don't like a sweet beer, but then some people don't like chocolate either. Ignore those mutants and grab a nice mug if you're in the southern Midwest sometime.
    • Re:Fat Tire (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jbrader ( 697703 ) <> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:48AM (#14947219)
      Why the southern midwest? I live in Tacoma Washington and the Fat Tire flows like water around here.
      • Once upon a time--oh, back in the mid-1990's or so--Fat Tire was only available in Colorado. It was not uncommon for those of us living in New Mexico at the time to drive to a Colorado border town (usually Cortez or Durango) to pick up a few cases of "Fatty". When the New Belgium Brewery finally expanded regionally, it was quite a big deal in Albuquerque. The liquor stores were pretty much sold out for the first week or so.

        You midwesterners should feel blessed that you have this beer at all. It really w
    • Re:Fat Tire (Score:3, Informative)

      American beer is *gaasp* improving to the point that some of it is even drinkable, certainly the local stuff in New England.

      While the mass produced crap deserves it's repuation as being better after urination than before, so does European mass produced beer in the large part. Things like Concorde Pale Ale are not quite up to snuff compared to Fursty Ferret (partly due to the instance on selling it chilled, which impairs the flavour), but it's a hell of a lot better than the canned sewerage output they sell
      • Re:Fat Tire (Score:5, Insightful)

        by paeanblack ( 191171 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:53AM (#14947404)
        While the mass produced crap deserves it's repuation as being better after urination than before

        I brew my own but also drink that "mass produced crap". I used to be a beer snob, but over the years, I've learn that that "crap" has alot going for it.

        -I can get it anywhere...any country, any state, any town I'm in, and I don't even need to ask. I know they have it.
        -Usually, I'm really just looking for something cold and wet.
        -Usually, the beer is just an accessory to the journey; it's not the destination. I'm more interesting in what's going on around me.
        -It is still booze. After a few drinks, it doesn't matter what you are drinking.

        and most importantly...

        -Mass produced beers don't attract a gaggle of shallow buffoons that judge people by what they drink.
        • Re:Fat Tire (Score:2, Insightful)

          -Mass produced beers don't attract a gaggle of shallow buffoons that judge people by what they drink.

          It's better than that. 'Mass produced' beers repel that type of cretin.
        • Re:Fat Tire (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Nothing is better than American beer after working outdoors all day in the hot humid South. When the temperature is 95 deg F and the humidity is 95% you don't want to drink some warm thick syrup. You want to chug a refreshing freezing cold all-American brewski.
          • I suggest you consider the merits of Australian beer (and for reference Fosters is not an Australian beer, they just pretend that it is).
            • Re:Fat Tire (Score:3, Interesting)

              by kamapuaa ( 555446 )
              I suggest you consider the merits of Australian beer (and for reference Fosters is not an Australian beer, they just pretend that it is).

              What's hilarious about this comment (which you often hear from Australians, when beer ever comes up in coversation) is that the most popular beer in Australia is Crown Lager, which is literally the exact same beer, made by the same brewery in the same factory, with different packaging.

              So if an Australian ever tells you that Foster's is the worst shit, that only Americans

              • The last time I (inadvertantly) drank a Crownie, it actually reminded me more of Corona, only worse. It's nasty, thin, sour rubbish, even _worse_ than Foster's.

                I'm surprised it's Australia's biggest selling beer, though. Most of the people I know don't like it, especially at about $A50 a case.
        • Re:Fat Tire (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jthayden ( 811997 )
          -I can get it anywhere...any country, any state, any town I'm in, and I don't even need to ask. I know they have it.

          How is this a bonus? Why bother going anywhere if you aren't going to try something new? The first thing I ask for when I go into a bar/pub while traveling is if they have any local brews.

          -Usually, I'm really just looking for something cold and wet.

          Drink water.

          -Usually, the beer is just an accessory to the journey; it's not the destination. I'm more interesting in what's going on ar

    • Re:Fat Tire (Score:5, Informative)

      by kklein ( 900361 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:05AM (#14947251)


      I beg your pardon, sir, but the noble brew of which you speak is lovingly manufactured in Fort Collins, Colorado, roughly 30 minutes south of the Wyoming border. []

      If you're ever in the area, I heartily recommend their free brewery tour. You learn a lot about beer, and at the end you are given a little glass of each of their brews in a fun and chatty atmosphere. It's a great free day date in Fort Collins. Afterwards, you can head back the road into Old Town for great food and a plethora of great bars, all within picturesque walking distance.

      I recommend The Crown Pub (on College) and the Rio Grande (on Mountain) for food/drinks, and Elliot's martini bar (on Linden) for drinks. Finish your drunken evening off at Walrus ice cream (on Mountain, next to the Rio), enjoying their homemade deliciousness.

      Oh, and personally, I prefer New Belgium's Sunshine Wheat to Fat Tire, mostly because hoppy beers like Fat Tire give me terrible acid reflux, although they are tasty.

      Come on, everyone! Let's enjoy Fort Collins!

      This message NOT paid for by the Fort Collins tourism board or chamber of commerce. My Japanese-language historical walking tours of Old Town have also ended, due to the fact that I don't live there anymore.

      • My definition of "southern midwest" is everything east of the Rockies, west of Ohio, and south of Iowa. Please correct me if this is not acceptable.
      • You forgot the old hangout of the Town Pump. For us old ones, we had Washington, Fort Ram, and of course, College Daze (saw the beach boys back then; just missed the Rolling Stones at hughs). Who is Elliot's?
      • Re:Fat Tire (Score:2, Interesting)

        by poopdeville ( 841677 )
        Fat Tire has been brewed regionally since Miller bought out New Belgium. Neither advertises the fact, for obvious reasons. But the recipe has changed and now sucks. (As opposed to being a tasty, but poor imitation of Belgian beers.
    • I'm not trolling or hating, I'm actually curious what people like about Fat Tire. I've found it ok but nothing to write home. Just for background...I'm no beer idiot I lived in Seattle, had multiple growlers, bought tons of local brew, worked on a local beer taste, and now that I've moved away to less beer-friendly place I brew my own beer in order to have some of the less common and interesting beers I could buy in Washington.

      So what is it people like so much about Fat Tire? Is it that it's an ok beer t
      • I actually really like fat tire, and I never knew that it was green until now - that only makes it cooler. When I see it in a bar here in SoCal, I always order a pint.

        Describing why I like it is difficult. I'm not going to turn into one of those beer snobs and describe is with words like "hints of" and "burnt chocolate" because I hate people who say that. If you don't like it, don't drink it - I don't like several beers and I don't drink them. One of the things I really enjoy about going to new bars and pla
    • Fat Tire is a Denver beer.
      And I personally don't like it at all. It's bland. Not very hoppy, not very malty. Reminds me of Newcastle - just not much personality in it.

      Give me a Bell's any day of the week. Or hell, even a Sierra Nevada. But Fat Tire. . meh. Overhyped and overpriced.

  • Beer? (Score:4, Funny)

    by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:45AM (#14947211)
    "use a cogeneration process that involves anaerobic bacteria turning wastewater"

    in (state side) domestic beer.

      move on ... nothing new here:-)
  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:46AM (#14947212) Homepage
    If you are in Boston at this time of year DO NOT respond when people introduce themselves as "Irish-American" with "Nice to meet you, I'm a Saxon-Norman-Viking-Dutch-Englishman". Breaking them out of their fantasy world may result in you spending the night in the gutter looking for your teeth instead of getting personally aquainted with a drunk BU chick who can't tell the difference between a Home Counties and Irish Counties accent.
    • When I was in Ireland the Irish American tourists really got up the locals noses. I think the general consensus was that they were, "a bunch of pillarcs". I was amazed at the anti American sentiment there, but I never figured out just what the U.S. had done to deserve it.

    • Genuinely confused. Does it mean having "one ancestor from Ireland five generations back" or "at least 50% of grandparents born in Ireland" or what?

      I was born in England, got a southern English accent, but using the above suggested definitions, well in the first case (one ancestor five generations back) maybe you could call me "Spanish-English" (apparently one of my great great grandfathers married a Spanish girl). Or in the second case, two of my grandparents were born and bred Scots, my mum spent a lot o

      • In my experience it's about whoever's ancestors make a bigger deal of it... I'm generalizing here obviously, but that seems to me to be largely related to what they did once they moved here. Living in heterogenous communities makes it fade pretty fast.

        My grandparents on one side, Polish... second generation... speak the language, grew up in strongly Polish neighborhoods in Chicago, strongly identify with it... grandparents on the other side, one German one Luxembourgian, lived in a pretty Luxembourgian nei
      • It's trendy in the US these days to be some kind of 'ethnic'. Paricularly Irish - in general, people from the US are infatuated with the Irish.
    • First year I haven't gone out on St. Patrick's day (been in Boston for 4). I must say, having people over for Green Margaritas and DDR was much better than wading through the mass of BU/BC dudeguys in Allston like I usually do.
  • Paddy's Day (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hrungnir ( 682279 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:46AM (#14947213)
    Patty is a girls name

    Its spelled St. Paddy's Day if you're gonna abbreviate it.

    Patty is short for Patricia.
    Paddy is short for Patrick because the gaelic name is Padraig.

    Why does everyone insist on calling St. Patrick a woman?
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:57AM (#14947236) Journal
    Seriously, if you tried giving anyone beer than had been dyed green in Ireland, you'd be introduced to that other tradtitional Irish custom of having your head smashed against the bar.
    • Um, I'm pretty sure nobody was referring to the color of the beverage. But, on a similar note, I think what's even more revolutionary is that they developed a friendly method. Imagine that - you come into your brewery and the method comes up to you and says "Howdy, Sam! Wanna be friends?"
      • Plenty of US bars dye beer green for the night... usually something like one of the big light beers (Miller or Bud) cause it's alot easier to tell.

        Just a little food coloring in the pitcher, nothing fancy... heck in Chicago they dye our whole dang river flourescent green.
    • American tourist: Bartender, what do you drink on St. Patrick's Day?
      Irish bartender: Green beer, of course.
      American tourist: No way! I've got to try me one of those!
      Irish bartender: [hands tourist a Guinness]
      American tourist: Um, are you sure this is green?
      Irish bartender: It's a bit dark, but it's green to be sure.
      American tourist: Gee, wait 'til I tell the folks back home!

      And thus a great Irish joke was born...
  • Most breweries do.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zenethian ( 873096 ) <jgentil.sebistar@net> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @04:59AM (#14947241) Homepage
    Anheuser-Busch does the same thing with it's BERS program. Takes all its wastewater and manages microbiological reactions in it to produce mostly clean water and CO2 (for bottling) and Methane to power the boilers. In fact they produce almost all of their own power in several breweries. This isn't anything new.
  • I see this as the beginning of a trend of colored seasonal beers. Green beer for St. Patrick's Day....perhaps an orange beer for Halloween! Or a yearround Red, White, and Blue multipurpose patriotic beer! Ah, the marvels of modern science.
  • Why all of sudden, starting this year, is everyone saying St. Patty? It has, and never will be, St. Patty. It's St. Paddy. Patty is short for Patricia. Paddy is short for Patrick. I don't know what idiot started saying St. Patty but it's irking me something chronic.
  • apart from the ridiculous St.Patty's goof, what the fsck is a "Brewskie"??? and I thought the Australians were getting silly with their corruptions of perfectly good words...
    • eh, do a google for "st. paddy's day" and "st. patty's day"
      patty has twice as much, and his original christian name was patricius.
    • fake upper midwest polish/slavic slang for beer. Now in common usage in a large part of the US.

      Enjoy the blend of slavic and hiberian culture :)
    • Brewskie is a term (infrequently) used by American college students. It is seen primarily in the pot-smoking, permanently drunk sub-genus of this group, and was popularized by our greatest idiot, Pauly Shore.

      It means, roughly, "Me idiot. Want beer."
  • Real "Green" Beer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by geln12 ( 789258 )
    I assumed something like Wasabi Ale [].....
    #Miyamori Wasabi Beer at []
  • by riflemann ( 190895 ) <riflemann@bb[ ] ['.ca' in gap]> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @05:54AM (#14947327)
    Most people associate beer with cheap piss, generally only drinking it as a social lubricant and really ignoring the true flavours of the beer. That's true for just about any mass-produced beer (VB, Fosters, Bud, Miller, Heineken).

    Go out and trying a real beer for once, and not just Guinness on St Pats (arguably not that great a beer). Some of the world's greatest beers [] are quite accessible and will blow your socks off with their complexity and flavour.

    Similar to wine coinnoseurs, there are also those who are (mostly self-professed) experts in beer, preferring something good like a trappist beer [] with their meal to wine, and deservingly so. A properly brewed beer's a lot more interesting to have with a meal than wine, and there's infinitely more variety.

    Heineken is not a good beer. Really. In Holland it's considered mediocre. If you see a beer everywhere, then it's mosty likely crap. Stella's pissy too. Budvar, Pilsener Urquell, Hertog Jan...they're ok for lagers.

    A coding session's a heck of a lot more enjoyable when combined with a decent brew. But be careful, too good a beer will distract! Some of my best output's come after having a good Belgian [].

    Seriously. Go down to your nearest large speciality bottle shop/liquor store and find a few bottles of the higher rated beers [] that you can find. Drink them, out of the proper glassware and at the right temperature then you'll never go back to a macro again. It could get more expensive, but damn it's worth it. A hint - drink light-coloured beers in warmer weather and darker ones in cool weather.

    And then you can have good beer all the time.
  • Guiness (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @06:25AM (#14947363)
    Anyone who doesn't drink Guiness on St Guiness' day has only thems elves to blame.
    • Is that anything like Guinness? If so, I must try some (though it looks like you've had a few already yourself ;-)
    • Anyone who doesn't drink Guiness on St Guiness' day has only thems elves to blame.

      I just knew that was where all the tales of the wee folk came from.
  • by ayjay29 ( 144994 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @07:07AM (#14947425)
    I was in Seattle a while ago, and was advised by all the locals to try the beers from the micro-breweries (after trying Bud-Light i was weary of beers from the other side of the Atlantic).

    After trying a few brands (some OK, some not so OK), i tried Fat Tire [], and it was the best beer i've had in a long time.

    (Coming from Yourshire in England, I'm usually a bit weary when it comes to sampling beers not brewed within 50 miles of where I was born...)

    • I'll say this only once, because it seems it's becoming a habit on /.

      Weary means tired
      Wary means cautious.

      Message ends.

    • Ever been to Germany.
  • by toxic666 ( 529648 ) on Saturday March 18, 2006 @07:20AM (#14947452)
    And cheap beer isn't good. Ahh, brewing, water and energy -- enough to spark an old geologist's interest; I homebrew from grain and got up early to knock out an ESB.

    Brooklyn and New Belgium are both good breweries in that they use REAL grains (mostly malted barley) instead of the cheap and tasteless adjuncts (rice, corn) that make up 50% of cheap American swill. That alone is worthy of support.

    But seeing them spend more money to be environmentally friendly is truly impressive. It takes a lot of enery to brew -- the grain must soak in 150F water (the mash), then be rinsed with 170F water to wash out the maltose (the lauter) and finally that resultant wort boiled for 60 - 120 minutes. That ain't cheap. Geting rid of the spent grains through farms is not unusual for small breweries -- but it is cheaper than landfill disposal costs. The wastewater treatment is not cheap either, because brewing produces a lot of it -- rich in yeast and sanitizing chemicals. However, most brewers just drop it into the sewer system.

    It's not only admirable, but impressive that these breweries can keep costs in line while going the extra mile in energy and water treatment.
  • But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by demonlapin ( 527802 )
    Much is made here of how "green" they are to use wind power. Unfortunately energy, like money and oil, is fungible.

    It is quite easy to say that you only use type X of a commodity - whether it's wind power for your electricity, non-(country of choice) oil for your gasoline, or lottery money for your state's education budget. It doesn't change the fact that everyone ELSE out there doesn't care what your source is - in the aggregate, the total amount of stuff is essentially not affected by you.

    Short version:

  • Beer geeks speak out (Score:4, Informative)

    by merc ( 115854 ) <> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @09:07AM (#14947702) Homepage
    I get a kick out of St. Patty's day when laymen refer to green beer in the most literal sense.

    In a lager brewing process the post-fermented wort is sometimes referred to as "green beer", which is the beer before a secondary fermentation process commences (conditioning, lagering, etc.)

    As a side note it would be interesting to know how many tech-geeks extend their geektitude into the realm of brewing or zymurgy?
    • get a kick out of St. Paddy's day when people refer to it as St. Patty's day.
    • It seems like quite a few. Brewing is definately a hobby with geek appeal. Chemical engineering, mechanical engineering (building equipment), and even electrical engineering (temperature control, etc) are all part of the process. :)
    • I brew from grain; it's all about that fine-tuning of recipes to make something I enjoy and can share with friends. It's a weekly get-together for a group of us.

      But why stop there? I also make wine, although only from kits. You can get very interesting wines in kits that can be VERY expensive (e.g. Amarone, Viognier) from the vinyards. At $3 - $4 per bottle.

      I most enjoy aged vinegar. Commercial vinegar is another travesty, being made from cheap, flavorless ingredients like cane and beet sugar. Try mak
  • Not so green! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdn-programmer ( 468978 ) <> on Saturday March 18, 2006 @11:25AM (#14948090)
    First off the malting barley is probably not organic. Even if it is organic, it is farmed with tractors driven by petrol. I have yet to see a commercial farm tractor or combine for that matter driven by a non-oil fuel source. However - it is possible in spite of the bad energy economics cited by Dr. David Pimethal which is still being quoted.

    Having been harvested, the grain is hauled by petrol fueled trucks to elevators and then hauled by petrol fueled rail to the maltsters.

    The malting plant is probably not green - however it again probably could do better.

    Now - as others have pointed out - energy is fungible. In order to be off petrol they would have to work only when the wind blows. Or they would have to harness the exothermic reaction called brewing.

    The reason the brewing process gives off CO2 is because a hydrocarbon - eg sugar - is being partially oxidized by the yeast.

    Essentually we are going from a polymer based on (CH2O)n into an alcohol which is CH3CH2OH or C(n)H(2n+1)OH where n=2 for ethanol (C2H6O which is really C2H5OH just written differently).

    To be more specific we have a series of reactions by alpha and beta amylase which are created during the malting process which is exothermic. During mashing which is also exothermic the starches are broken down into simpler sugars, principally maltose which is a disaccharide made from two glucose molecuals.

    So very specifically we have C12H22O11 + H2O -> 2 C6H12O6 followed by
    C6H12O6 -> 2 C2H6O + 2CO2 + heat.

    The point I am making is that with all these exothermic reactions they are still consuming a great deal of energy so they are not nearly as green as they might like to be seen as.

    Next - of the wastewater.

    Well - most of this would contain either nothing of much value or yeast which is very high in protein being a fungus and all... fungus are more closely related to animals than to plants. They are an excellent form of nutrition.

    Rather than flushing the yeast down the sewer or putting it into holding tanks where it can be degraded by another micro-organism producing methane - it makes more sense to collect it and ship it off for food.

    Of course the spent brewer's grains are typically shipped off for cattle fodder since they are high in proteins. Another use for them is as a nitrogen suppliment in synthetic substrates for mushroom production.


    The thing about organics is that plants are basically a polymer of simple sugars. These are built into complex sugars then into starches, cellulose, pentosans and lignin. Fungus digest these. There are many fungus which can do this and some examples are Pleurotis spp, Lentinula spp, Flamulina spp, and I'll not go on. From these three genus we have the common Oyster mushrooms, Shiitaki and Enoki.

    Other fungus which are cellulose digesters include Trichoderma spp. T. reesei is used to produce stone washed blue jeans for instance because it is easy to culture and partially digests the cotton. So they are really fungus washed blue jeans not stone washed and here we have another example of people lying to us!!!

    There are some who are attempting with some success to use T. reesei to digest wood and produce alcohols. I suspect T. Reesei is being used because it is available and not because it is particularly good at this job.

    The economics of this process are actually quite simple.

    We start with a polymer made of (CH2O)n

    We transform it via enzymes excreted by fungi into C(n)H(2n+1)OH

    If we note that the alkane series is C(n)H(2n+2) where for n=8 we get octane then what we see is that our alcohols are simply a slightly oxydized alkane.

    The reaction from sugar to ethanol for instance is:

    (CH2O)6 -> 2(C2H5OH) + 2CO2

    From a molecular weight standpoint we have:

    (12+2+16)*6 -> 2*(24+5+16+1) + 2*(12+32)
    30*6 -> 2*46 + 2*44
    180 -> 92 + 88

    Now agricultural products have some moisture even if they are "dry"
  • The makers of Fat Tire, for example, use a cogeneration process that involves anaerobic bacteria turning wastewater into methane gas for power.

    Ewww! Since when, I ask you, does anyone want to drink a beer that involves a gray-water treatment regimen? Sounds like they partnered with the Department of Waste Management for this sparkling solution...


  • St. Patrick's day is really as American as Thanksgiving or the Superbowl; it's just a little better known internationally. Heck, we even have it in Ireland. But not the green Budweiser. (OTOH, regular yellow Budweiser is ubiquitous in Ireland, 365 days a year :( .)

"Mach was the greatest intellectual fraud in the last ten years." "What about X?" "I said `intellectual'." ;login, 9/1990