A Tale of Two Brews
During our Going Local challenge, I found a local mead that didn’t break any of our rules, but as adult beverages go, that was about it. However, certain occasions call for a beer, so why not enjoy one with an environmental conscience?
LOCAL: While local breweries don’t get all their ingredients from in state, you should still consider getting your beer from a local brewer. Not only are you supporting your local economy, but the distance it travels to get to your fridge is minimal. My favorite local beer comes from Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington, Indiana. I emailed Caleb, the head brewer at Upland, and he was more than helpful in letting me know that their wheat beer (my favorite) is vegan, and gave me a run-down of the ingredients. (Apparently, brewing depends upon certain agricultural ingredients that are region-specific — such as hops, which are domestically grown almost solely in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.) As for the rest of the ingredients in the wheat beer, the barley and wheat come from Chilton, WI, the hops are from Yakima, WA, the organic coriander, chamomile and orange peel are from a co-op in Norway, IA and the yeast is from Odell, OR. The water, which makes up about 80% of beer is very local, coming from Bloomington city water.
As for their environment impact, Upland Brewing Company supports the Sycamore Land Trust, and as they continue to grow and expand, a common focus will be to utilize greener building materials and electric/heating energy alternatives. Also, all of their spent grain is used to feed buffalo at the Buffalo Nickel Ranch in Ellettsville. In turn, Upland serves buffalo burgers at their restaurant, in addition to other local foods that they receive via their involvement with the local growers guild.
ORGANIC: Organic beers carry the same benefits that organic fruits and veggies have — no toxic insecticides, fertilizers, and other things that aren’t great for you or the environment. My choice for organic beer is Lakefront Brewery’s Organic E.S.B.. This beer is one of the few in the world that uses 100% certified organic ingredients. Meanwhile, Lakefront Brewery is also making big strides towards helping the environment, including donating their spent grain to Growing Power, “a non-profit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds and the environment in which they live by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food” and making an effort to use green energy in their facilities. They are also working with organic farmers to revive the once thriving hops growing industry in Wisconsin.
So next time it’s B.Y.O.B, think about bringing a beer that is local and/or organic. After all, it doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to enjoy a “green” beer.