Beer and the color green–two great things that are NOT great together. St. Patrick’s Day is known for lots of cool things, but putting food coloring into a glass of foamy, delicious brew is one thing that I’ll never be able to get behind. Why would you take a gorgeous, naturally golden mug of delicious hops and put something so unnatural in it? Not only are food dyes gross, they are not good for you! They have been found to cause hyperactivity in children, who should not be drinking beer of course, but is linked to asthma and cancer in adults.
Now my kind of green beer is the locally brewed and organic kind. The first and best thing you can do is find a local brewery to patronize. Not all of the craft beer makers on this list are organic, but a lot of them are, and the green points you’ll get by drinking beer that hasn’t been trucked from halfway across the country are a bonus.
If you’re looking for some great organic bottled beer, there are many to choose from. Even a few of the big-name brewers are getting in on the act like Miller Organic Amber from Henry Weinhard’s.
Here are some smaller brewhouses, all USDA Organic certified, to look for at your neighborhood bar or market:
Peak Organic Beers, based in Portland, Ore., prides itself on the celebration of local, sustainable agriculture in its production of five different varieties, including a Pomegranate Wheat Ale with Acai and an Espresso Amber Ale. All are USDA Organic certified.
Otter Creek Brewing has been making Wolaver’s Organic Ales in small batches in Middlebury, Vt., since 1997. Brewed with organic malts, hops, special house yeast, and pure Vermont water. Seven brews, including an Oatmeal Stout and Pumpkin Ale.
From the UK, Sam Smith Organic Lager & Ale is made with organic Vienna malt and organic hops from New Zealand. They make a selection of Fruit Beers and Organic Cider, in addition to their lagers and ales.
Eel River Brewing Company in Humboldt County, Calif., advertises itself as the first USDA Organic certified beer in the United States (and maybe the world). Its motto is “Be natural, drink naked.” They have a wide selection from the lighter Blonde Ale to the Triple Exultation Ale–a dark, rich, sweet beer in the tradition of old English ales.
If you really want to be local, try the DIY approach: Brew your own organic beer at home.
Whatever you choose to imbibe, have a Happy St. Paddy’s Day! And don’t drink and drive: Save the Earth and lives by either walking, carpooling (with a designated driver), or taking public transportation.