When I told my husband I picked up some green beer, he assumed I meant a brew reserved for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (which is strange since I usually don’t even wear green that day).
No, I bought the other kind of green beer: eco-beer — extra refreshing whether it’s March 17 or any other day. I don’t remember ever seeing ecological beer in the States, so I was intrigued when I saw the label while living in Sweden last year.
Turns out the market for organic beer is growing in the U.S., from $9 million in beer sales in 2003 to $25 million in 2006, according to the Organic Trade Association. Today, it’s fairly easy to find an organic beer stocked in most large liquor stores. Look for New Belgium’s Mothership Wit, Otter Creek’s Wolaver’s or Samuel Smith’s Organic Ales and Lagers, to name a few. (But, beware — the USDA does not require that brewers use organic hops for their beer to be labeled organic, so look for that.)
No green brews near you? Don’t worry. You can still drink a little greener, no matter what kind of beer you pick.
- Choose cans over bottles. Cans are much more efficient when shipping because they are lighter and more stackable. And they’re not just reserved for mass-market beers like Coors and Budweiser. Colorado brewery Oscar Blues distributes all of their brews only in cans, and you can even find New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale in cans now.
- Drink local. Coloradans, Oregonians, Californians and Vermontians, you have loads of beers produced in your state. Choosing one made close to home, instead of an import, reduces your beverage’s carbon footprint.
- Buy in bulk. Well, sort of. The principle applies to beer, too, when you fill up a growler at a local brewpub and eliminate packaging.
Of course, brewing your own beer with organic hops would be the ultimate in sustainable beer drinking, and someday I hope to try it. How about you? Will you be drinking greener this St. Patrick’s Day?