It’s that time of year again where frat boys everywhere don shirts demanding kisses and the Chicago River runs green. For a change of pace this St. Patrick’s Day, opt for an actual green beverage choice in lieu of a crummy beer mixed with food coloring.
Peak Organic’s name says it all: optimal beer made from organic barley and hops. Based in Maine, the small craft brewing company is dedicated to making delicious, handcrafted ales using only the finest artisanal ingredients. Peak was birthed out of brewer Jon Cadoux’s love for both beer and sustainability. Jon started off as a homebrewer, and it was through his own search for local and organic ingredients that he realized you don’t need to sacrifice flavor for sustainability. We recommend checking out the Nut Brown – a light, crisp ale with a taste so smooth even Chipotle has been known to serve it alongside their famous burritos.
Abita was founded in 1986 just north of New Orleans. Standard brews, such as the Purple Haze and Restoration Pale Ale, combined with beloved seasonal blends have made Abita a favorite in the south and beyond, but it’s their green practices that make them a prime choice for eco-consumption this St. Patrick’s Day. The Abita Brewing Company recaptures and treats wastewater used in the brewing process. Their wastewater treatment plant generates energy that is then used by the brewery. Additionally, each six-pack of Abita Beer is designed to use 50% less paper and glue than the ordinary carrier, not to mention that the paper used is made with recycled materials.
And, the green doesn’t stop there. The Abita Brewing sales team drives hybrid vehicles. Even the spent grain and hops from the brewing process don’t go to waste. Local farmers use the end products of the brewing process as feed for their cattle! While we love the Turbodog for its chocolaty flavor, and we are of course huge fans of the fact that Abita donates $.75 from every bottle of Save Our Shore to the “rescue and restoration of the environment, industry and individuals fighting to survive the disastrous oil spill,” we feel like you must try their limited edition Red Ale this St. Patty’s Day. It’s only available through May, and it does have a shamrock on the bottle.
In 2009, Chicago’s Goose Island launched their Green Line Project to first assess the brewery’s carbon footprint, and then enact initiatives to reduce it. As a result, Goose Island took active steps to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and engage with conservation organizations. Additionally, they launched the Green Line Pale Ale, from which proceeds are donated to the Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre® program. The donation from each pint will allow the Nature Conservancy to protect one square foot of rainforest in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula. To reduce packaging and waste, Green Line Pale Ale is only available on draft in Chicago, but if you find yourself in the Windy City this St. Patrick’s Day, look for the reclaimed wood handle behind the bar and enjoy.
What’s not to love about Fort Collins, CO-based New Belgium Brewing Company? For starters, their logo incorporates a bike, one of our preferred modes of transport. Second, their environmental standards include eight points such as preserving precious Rocky Mountain water and minimizing the environmental impact of shipping their beer. Oh, and they are employee-owned.
Begin your own love affair with New Belgium by indulging in their Flat Tire Amber Ale, a brew with an entire PDF dedicated to its carbon footprint. Refreshing and easy drink, it’s the perfect way to start an evening of imbibing.
Hopworks Urban Brewery proudly bears the label of Portland’s “first Eco-Brewpub.” What exactly does that mean? Hopworks offers handcrafted organic beers made with fresh, local ingredients, all served in a sustainably-built and operated building. Green aspects are incorporated throughout the brewery, from composting to rain barrels. Bonus: Hopworks is 100% renewably powered and “cradle to gate” carbon neutral. If you’re near Portland, ride your bike over to the brewery to check out their beverages and eco-friendly initiatives firsthand, Hopworks has parking for up to sixty bikes. Considering St. Patrick himself lived during the 1st century, we recommend celebrating whatever it was he did exactly with the Survival Stout, billed as the beer of the Ancients. The stout incorporates Barley (Egyptian), Wheat (Mesopotamian), Oats (Egyptian), Amaranth (Aztec), Quinoa (Incan), Spelt (Mesopotamian), and Kamut (Egyptian) and is then finished with 15 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Hairbender espresso.