Eco-Friendly Beers

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No one needs an excuse to drink good beer, but here's one anyhow: 2014
is the best year ever to find ecofriendly ales. Virtually nonexistent
20 years ago, green beer is now being cranked out by brewers of all
sizes, from micro to mega.

"When I opened in 1996, I was barely able to find organic malt," says
Ron Silberstein, who started San Francisco's ThirstyBear Brewing Co.
and sits on the Good Food Awards Beer Committee. "But as more people
use organic products, it has become easier to brew sustainably."

Microbreweries like ThirstyBear often have a drastically smaller
carbon footprint than their giant competitors. On average, a locally
brewed pint is 300 percent kinder to the planet than a bottle of beer
that has traveled far. Microbrews make up just 7.8 percent of beers by
volume, but the number of small breweries grew by 18 percent last

To even be considered for a Good Food Award, beer makers must recycle
water, source locally, and not use genetically modified ingredients.
To win, they have to be tasty, too.

While the market for easy-on-the-earth beer ingredients has grown—it
helps that prices have dropped—it's still relatively minor.
Silberstein admits that his commitment to staying organic limits the
variety of beers he can make.

Another challenge for eco-brewers is recycling and conserving water.
"It's the number-one ingredient in brewing," says Cheri Chastain, the
sustainability manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "You can generate
more energy, but water is that one thing you can't make."

Sierra Nevada's Chico, California, brewing plant has more than 10,000
solar panels and a big on-site water treatment facility—a setup envied
by many smaller breweries.  

Others are coming up with eco-solutions as varied as America's
microbrews. Dave's BrewFarm in Wisconsin has "Jake," a wind-powered
generator that delivers most of the brewery's power. Anderson Valley
Brewing in Boonville, California, deploys goats to mow its grass.

"There's something new every day," Chastain says. "The industry is
growing so quickly. It's really an exciting time."

Below are five of the Good Food Awards' winning beers (all are
pictured above):  

PORT CITY BREWING CO., Alexandria, Virginia

2014 GFA WINNER: Optimal Wit, 5% ABV ($6 for a pint). This traditional
Belgian witbier is made from raw wheat and oats. It has notes of
coriander, orange peel, and grains of paradise.


2014 GFA WINNER: Black Butte Porter, 5.2% ABV ($5 for a pint).
Deschutes's flagship beer is hoppy up front with a roasted-chocolate

BEAR REPUBLIC BREWING CO., Healdsburg, California

2014 GFA WINNER: Cafe Racer 15 Double IPA, 9.75% ABV ($8.50 for a
22-ounce bottle). Citrus and pine aromas mix with generous hops. Pair
it with spicy foods and savory dishes.

VICTORY BREWING CO., Downingtown, Pennsylvania

2014 GFA WINNER: Helios Ale, 7.5% ABV ($5.30 for a 22-ounce bottle). A
Belgian farmhouse ale by style, it finishes with flavors both honeyed
and tart.

NINKASI BREWING CO., Eugene, Oregon  

2014 GFA WINNER: Believer Double Red Ale, 6.9% ABV (About $5 for a
22-ounce bottle). Plentiful hops and dark malts. Drink it alongside
pork, pizza, or chocolate.

Re: Eco-Friendly Beers
On Sat, 30 Aug 2014 11:16:00 -0400, Garrison Hilliard <email clipped>

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Beer doesn't seem to me like a particularly polluting thing. I'd say
mainly you want to recycle the bottles and cans, and then certainly
the argument is sound that you buy the localish stuff to eliminate the
transportation pollution from consuming a product from 300 or 500
miles away.

The article went on about recycling the water, and I assume that means
water waste. I wouldn't want to drink any beer from recycled water. In
fact I think the reason that the cheap domestics here in Texas are
undrinkable to me, except Coors for some reason, is because those
canneries are using inferior water. Up north I can drink some of those
same cheap domestics, and I believe it is because they're coming from
northern canneries where the water source is better.

And I'm not saying there are no good water sources in Texas or nearby,
but I do believe they're harder to find.


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