Going GreenBefore you go shopping for green and blue food coloring to make your St. Patrick’s Day beers more festive, brew lovers who care about the environment and like to buy local might want to consider beer that’s another kind of green.
Along with organic fruits and vegetables and eco-friendly consumer products, organic beers have seen a rise in popularity in recent years. But it’s not just a trend, and even beer critics say it’s actually good.
Here’s a look at some of the green brewers and beers that go beyond the color of the Emerald Isle. How many greenbacks you’ll need for a six-pack or a pint may vary depending on your location and the popularity of organic beers near you.
Photo Credit: Misserion
Peak BrewingThis small craft brewing company says flavor doesn’t need to be sacrificed for sustainability. In fact, Peak believes that “only the finest artisanal ingredients” make the beer taste better than beers made with traditional ingredients and methods.
Location: Portland, Maine
Your green options: Peak’s Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale and Amber Ale are available year-round, and its Maple Oat Wheat Ale, Espresso Amber Ale and Pomegranate Wheat Ale are seasonal, according to Wine Enthusiast.
Photo Credit: peakbrewing.com
Highland BrewingHighland brews about 20,000 barrels a year, sold in 12-ounce bottles as well as 22-ounce hand-filled bottles. The beer is only sold in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, the company says.
Location: Asheville, N.C.
Your green options: Black Mountain Bitter and Cattail Peak Wheat.
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Uinta BrewingUinta goes beyond just using organic ingredients. Its brewery is 100% wind-powered, which the company says prevents 888,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment every year. That’s the equivalent of planting 174 acres or 87,180 trees, the company says.
Location: Salt Lake City
Your green options: Wildfire Extra Pale Ale
Photo Credit: uintabrewing.com
Lakefront BreweryAs MainStreet previously reported, foods labeled “organic” are only required to have 95% organic ingredients, and only foods specifically labeled “100% organic” are all-organic.
It can be especially challenging for beer brewers to use 100% organic ingredients, notes Eating Well, but Lakefront does. In fact, all of its ingredients are Wisconsin-grown, the company says.
Your green options: Lakefront ESB extra special bitter.
Photo Credit: lakefrontbrewery.com
Eel River BrewingEel River’s organic beers are certified as such, but they provide a generous dose of alcohol in every bottle. Its India Pale Ale has 7% by volume and its Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout has 9.5% alcohol, according to the company.
Location: Scotia, Calif.
Your green options: Eel River IPA, Eel River Raven's Eye Imperial Stout and Eel River Triple Exultation Old Ale.
Photo Credit: eelriverbrewing.com
North Coast BrewingNorth Coast makes a Belgian-style ale called Cru d’Or that’s certified organic by Oregon Tilth. It has a fruity and floral taste and is made by brewers who have won more than 70 national and international awards.
Location: Fort Bragg, Calif.
Your green options: Cru D'Or Belgian Style Ale.
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Bison BrewingBison owners Daniel Del Grande and George Allen were drawn to the organic beer industry by their love of brewing and their concern for the environment. Del Grande left his six-year job as an environmental engineer and Allen left the financial industry after 10 years of success there, according to the company’s Web site.
Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Your green options: Organic India Pale Ale, Barleywine Ale, Chocolate Stout, Single Hop Organic IPA Belgian Ale and seasonal beers including Pumpkin Ale, Honey Basil Ale, Imperial Brown Ale and Gingerbread Ale.
Photo Credit: kapital
Butte CreekBrewers at Butte Creek call themselves “organic pioneers” and call their beer the “official beer of planet earth.”
The company’s Web site is still in the works, but one reviewer says this of Butte Creek’s IPA: “Slightly muddled caramelized cereals appear heavy alongside citrusy and floral hops, before a resinous and spicy bitterness takes over for the long run.”
Location: Chico, Calif.
Your green options: Organic IPA, American Pale Ale, Pilsner and a Porter.
Photo Credit: kapital
Elliot Bay BrewingOrganic certification was recently awarded to 12 different Elliott Bay brews by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, making it the first brewery in its county to be certified and the first in the state to have so many types of beer certified, the company says.
The company also composts all of its food waste, recycles waste fry oil into biodiesel and reuses spent grain from the brewing process as an ingredient in hamburger buns and as a feed supplement for livestock, according to the Seattle Times.
Location: Burien, Wash.
Your green options: Alembic Pale, Dry-hop IPA, Elliott Bay IPA, Hop von Boorian, Luna Weizen, No Doubt Stout and Pilot Light.
Photo Credit: elliottbaybrewing.com
Hopworks BrewingHopworks offers all-organic handcrafted beers made with local ingredients in a sustainable building that composts, uses rain barrels and promotes cycling with its bicycle bar and parking for up to 50 bikes.
Location: Portland, Ore.
Your green options: Hub Lager, Hopworks IPA, Velvet ESB, Crosstown Ale, Deluxe Organic Ale and Survival Stout.
Photo Credit: hopworksbeer.com
MateVezaMateVeza is brewed with organic malt and organic yerba mate, which makes it a naturally-caffeinated alcoholic beverage. Conventionally-farmed hops are used, but they’re farmed according to the USDA’s National Organic Program standards.
Location: San Francisco
Your green options: MateVeza Organic India Pale Ale and MateVeza Organic Golden Ale.
Photo Credit: mateveza.com
Orlando BrewingThe ingredients Orlando Brewing uses are grown without insecticides, bioengineering or irradiation and these beers are declared “Fresh From Florida” by the state’s Department of Agriculture, the company says.
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Your green options: Orlando Brewing Blonde, Pale, Red & Brown Ale in addition to Olde Pelican, Blackwater Dry Porter and European Pilz.
Photo Credit: orlandobrewing.com
Roots BrewingRoots offers flavors that are off the beaten path as far as beer goes. Its Epic Ale has the remnants of Glenlivet Scotch and contains a hefty 14% alcohol by volume. It also offers an Apricot Wheat Ale flavored with locally-grown apricots and a Chocolate-Habanero Stout, which the brewery calls an “interesting yet delicious beer.”
Location: Portland, Ore.
Your green options: Currently on tap are the Epic Ale and Festivus Olde Ale and the Red eXXXcalibur Imperial Stout, among others, and seasonal beers include the Apricot Wheat beer and Shark Bite Imperial.
Photo Credit: rootsorganicbrewing.com
Santa Cruz Mountain BrewingSanta Cruz seems to be steeped in flavor as well, and its Web sites prominently feature meal ideas that are compatible with its beers. The company’s blog also offers a recipe for a sinful-sounding cake made with its Devout Stout.
Location: Santa Cruz, Calif.
Your green options: Santa Cruz Mountain Pale Ale, Organic Amber Ale, Organic Olallieberry Cream Ale , Organic Dread Brown Ale, Organic Wilder Wheat, Organic Devout Stout, Peoples Porter and coffee-infused beer.
Photo Credit: santacruzmountainbrewing.com
Ukiah BrewingUkiah is a family-owned brewery with an entire facility that is certified organic, meaning artificial or toxic chemicals and many pesticides, additives and preservatives are not allowed, even when the brewery is being cleaned, the company says.
Location: Ukiah, Calif.
Your green options: Pilsner Ukiah, Small Beer, Renegade Barleywine, Old Mill Belgian, Sunhouse Amber, Point Arena Pale Ale, American Pale Ale and Navarro Yarrow.
Photo Credit: Swift Benjamin
Wolaver’s Certified Organic AlesWolaver's uses organic malts and hops, a special house yeast and local, pure Vermont water, the company says.
Location: Middlebury, Vt.
Your green options: Pale Ale, IPA, Brown Ale and Oatmeal Stout, as well as seasonal beers including a pumpkin ale, coffee porter, American ale and white ale.
Photo Credit: ottercreekbrewing.com
Fish BrewingFarming of non-organic beer ingredients means synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides enter groundwater and pollute the earth, accoding to Fish Brewing. But this brewery uses “100% organic barley and the finest hops available,” to make its Fish Tale Organic Ales.
Location: Olympia, Wash.
Your green options: Fish Tale Organic Ales including amber ale, IPA, pale ales and seasonal ales.
Anheuser-BuschIf you prefer to stick with a brand you know, Anheuser-Busch (Stock Quote: BUD), under its Michelob brand, sells its own organic ale. And it promises to be a great-tasting organic beer. The company also says it recycles solid waste and packaging and converts brewery waste water into renewable fuel.
Location: Fairfield, Calif.
Your green options: Stone Mill Organic Pale Ale.
Photo Credit: stonemillpaleale.com
Pinkus-Muller BrauereiAmong organic beers worldwide, “The Pinkus-Muller Brauerei of Germany was the first brewery in the world we know of to ‘go organic,’” said Craig Hartinger of Merchant du Vin, a specialty beer importer to Wine Enthusiast “That was in 1980.” Pinkus was established in 1816, when it was certainly organic.
Location: Munster, Germany
Your green options: Alt, Pinkus Special, Hefewiezen, Pinkus Pils, Detmeter Lagerbier, Pinkus Jubilate, Müllers Malz, Pinkus Honig Malz and Pinkus Alkoholfrei, notes Bella Online.
Photo Credit: @joefoodie