Drink a beer, learn about saving a fish

Recorder/Paul Franz
Brewer Chris Sellers in the Peoples Pint Brewery cooler.

Recorder/Paul Franz Brewer Chris Sellers in the Peoples Pint Brewery cooler.

GREENFIELD — Local environmentalists are trying to raise awareness about the endangered shortnose sturgeon, one pint glass at a time.

On Sunday, the People’s Pint will debut its “Shortnose Stout,” with the hope that the new Irish-style beer will help fight the extinction of the prehistoric fish that calls the Connecticut River home.

Shortnose scholars Boyd Kynard and Karl Meyer will give a talk and answer questions about the fish at 4 p.m. at the brew-pub, though the beer will already be on tap when they open for lunch at 11 a.m.

Kynard, of Amherst, was a federal fish researcher for 25 years, and was stationed at the Conte Fish Lab in Turners Falls before going on to start his own lab in Millers Falls. Kynard studied sturgeon for 17 years, and has written about them.

Meyer, a journalist from Gill, has written about several environmental topics, including the sturgeon population.

When Meyer came across Pint owner Alden Booth while both were out bicycling, Meyer asked if he’d be interested in crafting a beer to bring attention to the sturgeons’ plight. He even had the name “Shortnose Stout” in mind. Booth jumped at the chance and worked with brewmaster Chris Sellers to come up with the concoction.

“The shortnose is an amazing fish, yet the public knows little about the challenges it faces here,” said Booth.

The Connecticut River shortnose population is estimated at 1,800, but according to Kynard’s research, only 300 of them can reach their spawning grounds below the Rock Dam in Turners Falls. Their spawning is sometimes unsuccessful due to the raising and lowering of the river, which is controlled by FirstLight Power Resources’ hydroelectric dams.

Booth said he would like to set aside some money from each draught and bottle sold. At the moment, he said, there isn’t a nonprofit set up to take the donations, but he expects that there will be some fees incurred as he and others continue to raise awareness of the shortnose sturgeon.

If you can’t make it to the People’s Pint to try a Shortnose Stout on tap, you will be able to find it in bottles at package stores across the state in the coming weeks.

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