secret to organic beer is, as with other organic foods, use of certified
organic ingredients: barley (which is
turned into malt), water, hops and yeast. Organic brewers must ensure crops
have not been exposed to toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and
fertilizers. In the processing stage, they steer clear of enzymes produced by
genetically engineered fungi, upon which conventional brewers often rely,
according to Luddene Perry and Dan Schultz, authors of A
Field Guide to Buying Organic. And the yeast used to make organic beer must
also be free of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs).
What’s on Tap?
companies are well known for their organic beers. The frontrunner is
Middlebury, Vermont-based Wolaver’s
certified organic beers, made from certified organic malts and hops, combined
with “pure Vermont water” and the company’s special house yeast.
has offered organic ales since 1998, and you may purchase its certified organic
Brown Ale (mild and creamy, with hints of cherry and black currant), Pale Ale
(full-bodied and malty) and India Pale Ale (a spicier brew) year-round.
Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout, a dark beer brewed with organic rolled oats, is
available now through April. The company’s newest product is Wit Bier, a
Belgian-style white beer lightly spiced with orange and coriander, which is
available from May to September.
company with a nice selection of organic beers is Butte Creek Brewing Co. in
Chino, California. Its first batch of organic beer was brewed in 1998, and the
company now offers Organic Ale (a medium-bodied amber ale), Organic Porter (a
robust dark beer), Organic India Pale Ale (full-bodied malt and hops flavor)
and Organic Pilsner (a crisp beer brewed with German malt and Czech hops).
Peak Organic Brewing Co. of Burlington,
Massachusetts, offers certified organic Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale and Amber Ale.
And British Columbia, Canada-based Pacific
Western Brewing Co. added Natureland Organic Lager to its lineup. This beer
brewed with organic malted barley, hops and the company’s naturally pure spring
to be outdone by smaller brewers, America’s top beer companies are beginning to
is currently test-marketing two beers. Wild
Hop Lager and Stone Mill Pale
Ale are made from 100% organic barley malt supplied by small, family-owned
big-name brewers are no doubt monitoring sales to see if they want to enter the
organic marketplace. My guess? Count on it.