oktoberfest man

You drink only organic, biodynamic wines, but what about when you just want to throw back a cold brew? Not to worry; while organic beer has become more and more mainstream, some companies are even taking it a step further and greening the way the beer is produced as well. Lucky for us, green beer doesn’t just have to come around on St. Patrick’s day any more.

1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

This California brewery made famous by its pitch-perfect pale ale has 10,000 solar panels and four co-generation fuel cells which allows the company to produce its suds in an almost entirely eco-friendly way. In fact, you can even log on to their website to see their energy consumption in real time—it keeps them honest.

2. New Belgium Brewing Co.

One of my personal favorites (I am a Colorado girl, after all), New Belgium was the first wind-powered brewery in the country, but they’ve taken their environmentalism to a new level. On their first anniversary with the company, every employee is given a Fat Tire cruiser bike—in honor of their popular Fat Tire beer—and more than 10,000 fans of the brews have joined Team Wonderbike, pledging to use their bicycles more often to reduce CO2 emissions. 

3. Odell Brewing Co.

Another Colorado brewery, Odell has made a name for itself with its 90 Shilling Ale, which is produced in a warehouse that is partially fueled by solar cells.  But more interestingly, the warehouse knows when to turn the lights on, and when there’s enough ambient light to leave those lights off. Pretty cool. 

4. Eel River Brewing Co.

The first certified organic brewery in the country, Eel River also powers its warehouse with biomass energy—in other words, scrap lumber, forest debris, agricultural harvest waste, and other industry byproducts. In addition, they use their spent grain from the brewing process to feed their own cows, which in turn feed hungry customers at their brewpub. That’s some serious recycling going on.

5. Great Lakes Brewing Co.

This Cleveland, Ohio company has pledged itself to a closed loop recycling system, meaning that they actually have a net-negative waste footprint.  Spent grain is recycled to feed livestock, grow mushrooms and as a soil amendment. Used vegetable oil from their brewpub is recycled into fuel for their vehicles, and even low-fill beers are made into sauces, ice creams, soups and sausages.

6. Alaskan Brewing Co.

No doubt inspired by the pristine wildernesses of Alaska, Alaskan Brewing Co. has made a commitment to “have a zero-net negative effect upon our environment by reclaiming and reusing at least as much waste and emissions as [they] produce.” That means they’re not only recycling and reusing their own waste, but the waste of others as well. 

image by Traveller_40