The headlines of a local paper ‘ Beer helps forest ravaged by fire’, immediately caught my attention and left me somewhat puzzled.
Being an Englishman in South America there have been many times that I have longed for a good English beer at the end of a day’s bird watching. A frothy white top spilling over the top of a glass, followed by the smooth taste of hops, not too cold.
We like our beer and in my local pub a farmer even brings his horse in for a drink!
The joys of being in South America, particularly Argentina and Chile, are many, but I do miss good English beer!
Fortunately the landscapes of Patagonia have made up for this minor inconvenience.
A beer refreshes the spirit but Patagonia stirs and refreshes the soul.
It was the forests of the deep south, the sub-polar forests that I fell in love with. Trees bedecked in moss, thick lichen draping every branch and twig. Southern Beech and Pine, some as tall as five storey buildings, nature’s green cathedrals.
Wherever there are forests there are forest fires. Sometimes fire is natural and beneficial but often not.
Fire caused by man, deliberately or accidental, wreaks havoc.
In 2011 the superb Torres Del Paine National Park suffered a catastrophic accidental fire, millions of hectares destroyed, whole mountainsides razed to the ground. Their ‘green cathedrals’ turned to silver skeletons.
Paths now wind through hoary palisades of bleakness, bright metallic echoing tangles of sterility.
However this resilient park is starting to recover and remains a wondrous place to visit.
And some of this is thanks to Beer!
Not any old beer but Austral Beer made in Punta Arenas, Chile, by an old established Craft brewery who brew English style ales.
After the fire this amazing company started a campaign to raise money for replanting the National Park and have done a wonderful job.
What a generous and thoughtful enterprise. And they have another new customer as well, ME.
‘Beer helps forest ravaged by fire’, now I understand the headlines.