I attended college at a certain Big 10 School, where, I'm assuming like many other colleges, we found glee in paying triple the price for a keg of beer dyed green every March the 17th (or a quarter of the price on March the 18th). But if you're interested in going a different kind of green, there are many beer options to choose from. This makes sense, since many breweries pride themselves on using the very best ingredients for their product. But most of the barley and hops that go into traditional beer is pumped full of pesticides, insecticides, and because hops is a fungus-attracting plant, lots of fungicide (who knew that was a word?!). However, switching to organic means thinking long term, here, people. There aren't a lot of organic hops available and US breweries need to import them from New Zealand. This means the use of fossil fuels for transportation. BUT, if the demand for organic libations continues to rise as it has been (up 40% in 2005 alone!), its an incentive for farmers to grow organic barley and hops in the US- so drink up!
Perhaps while you are reveling today or getting ready for the insane amount of college basketball there is to be watched this week, you could give some of these organically made beers a try. For scientific and environmental purposes, of course!
- Peak Organic Beer- they're way ahead of the curve on this one. They have a Pale Ale, a Nut Brown Ale, and an Amber Ale, and they claim they've been perfected in the 10 years they've been brewing them.
- Butte Creek Brewing Co - Their Organic Revolution Imperial IPA rates pretty well among beer lovers. They are based in California but sales have grown to 25 states as demand has increased.
- Wild Hop Lager -this one's made by Anheuser-Busch, marking the start of "big players" entering the oragnic beer market. There are concerns that they will try to lower the Organic Certification standards, but so far, it hasn't happened.
- The Caledonian Brewery- if you need your imported beer fix, this company is based in England and is famous for their Golden Promise and EcoWarrior organic beers.
Plus, you can check out beertown.org to find local micro-brews who might be brewing up something green near you. Happy St. Patrick's Day to Ya!