Far, far away from its organic produce neighbors, organic beer has been popping up not only on store shelves but in bars across the country with a growing speed that forces me to wonder, WHY? In 2007, organic beer sales totaled $25 million. What’s the reasoning behind organic beer? Does it lessen the hangover the next morning? Does it have less calories? Does it pump brews full of vitamins? What’s the appeal?
According to the Greenopia Glossary, a web destination for demystifying all things “green,” organic beer can be defined as beer “made from certified-organic malted barley, hops, and yeast. These ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.” Pesticides aren’t exactly the first thing to come to mine when one is ordering a beer but maybe they should be.
Heidi Sopinka of the Globe and Mail tells Treehugger.com that, “armers are estimated to spray hops 14 times a year with an average of 15 pesticides and fungicides. One of the two primary ingredients in most beers (the other is barley), hops constitute about 5 per cent of beer’s total volume and account for at least 50 per cent of the taste. Organic beers should have organic hops.” The visual of farmers spraying hops with pesticides about 14 times a year is not an image I associate with drinking frothy pints on a hot summer day.
So what can you do to avoid turning your beloved beer into a chemical cocktail? Support the organic beer movement!
Planet Green suggests that when purchasing organic beer look for “an organic label on your beer, it means it’s been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Additionally, beer lovers should think of each pint they purchase as a ballot, voting for better beer to be made available to consumers. Try to support breweries with green brewing practices like solar power and carbon offsets and in turn, supporting local breweries reduces both miles the beer has to travel and its eco-impact.
You can start your very own green beer movement by trying one of the following organic beers and check out their reviews at Just Eat Food:
- Wolaver’sTM Pale Ale
- Butte Creek Brewing Company Organic Ale
- Goose Island Beer Company, Lamar Street Organic Pale Ale
- Stone Mill Organic Pale Ale
- Wychwood Scarecrow Golden Pale Ale