Green Summer: Organic Beer

| 7/1/2009 4:44:54 PM

I’m not a big drinker, but sometimes after a long day, I like to open a beer and relax. Being a noncommittal person, I don’t like to tie myself down to one beer, and with so many options out there, it doesn’t make sense to always buy the same thing. Lately my quest to try different beers has led me down a greener path – and there are a lot of green beers down that road! 

Not all USDA organic-certified beer is made with organic ingredients. Beer is traditionally brewed from hops, and hops are a delicate crop. They’re highly susceptible to pests, mildew and fungi, making it difficult to grow hops in a damp, northern climate. Most organic hops are grown either in New Zealand or on small-scale farms in Wisconsin, the Northwest, Western Canada and England. This makes it difficult to get organic hops for brewing, which is perhaps why the USDA has allowed certified organic beers to be made with non-organic hops. 

Despite this, finding a beer made with organic hops isn’t too difficult. Here are a few I found: 

Stone Mill Pale Ale: Most organic beers come from microbreweries, but this one’s straight from beer giant Anheuser-Busch. Brewed at an organically certified brewery in Merrimack, New Hampshire, this beer has a fruity aroma and is distributed nationally. 

Peak Organic: This brewery currently offers seven different types of beer made with organic ingredients, including some interesting flavors. Peak Organic distributes nationally, and a six-pack costs about $8. National Geographic’s Green Guide labeled Peak Organic products as the greenest beer available.