While the world breathlessly awaits the outcomes of news stories like… Will Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston Break Up? …amazingly, other things keep happening.

Take, for example, the story of Michael Fey, a German priest who has discovered a new way to brew beer.

I know, I know. The fact that someone of German extraction has found a new way to brew beer isn’t really news. This is like learning that the Swiss have designed a new kind of watch, or that Australians have discovered yet another highly poisonous and multi-fanged animal in suburban Melbourne.

The fact that a clergyman is brewing beer isn’t news either; some of the best beers and wines produced in the world have come from monasteries. This is clearly because contemplating nothing but sacred texts all day is thirsty work.

No, the angle of this story (which we in the newspaper business like to call: the angle) is that Fey brews beer in his washing machine.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I look at my washing machine, the first thought that runs through my head is usually not: “Hey! I could get beer from that!” (But then again, I’m not German. Or British.) My first thought is usually: “Argh! More laundry!”

In any case, Fey has discovered that you can use an old-fashioned top loading washer hooked up to a standard personal computer to brew up to 40 litres of, well, suds, every day.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of beer, on the grounds that too much lager will make you stout &#0151 but I know a lot of people who think that beer is good for what ales you. So what this discovery means is that worldwide:

A) Thousands of previously undomesticated husbands are suddenly going to take a very keen interest in “cleaning clothes.”

B) Laundry detergent sales will not increase concurrent with this upsurge of interest.

C) Hundreds of personal computers will be moved out of home offices and dens and into laundry rooms.

D) From now on, home brewed beer will be characterized by a really foamy head.

E) When this method catches on in the US, even if it has faintly soapy overtones, American beer will taste better than it does now.

This could also mean that there’s a new trend to put standard household appliances to alternative uses. For example, I can see clothes dryers being used to bake chocolate cakes. (Okay, so they’d have to be tumble resistant cakes). Dishwashers could be used to grow tropical plants. (Really water tolerant plants). Steam irons could be used for… say, what are irons used for now?

And of course, if the price of oil continues to rise, coffee makers could suddenly be used to refine cooking oil into something you can put in your gas tank.

Well… maybe not. In any case, a special note to all you homeowners out there: If a member of your family suddenly decides to make beer in the laundry room, don’t worry too much.

It will all come out in the wash.

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