Waiter, There’re Organic Ingredients In My Beer! by Ginger Johnson

Ginger JohnsonThe organic conversation goes on and the drumbeat grows louder and subsides as various voices chime in, froth up, and then begin anew. Beer is no exception in the organic conversation. 

Here’s what I find interesting. The fact that people are sooooo vocal about what’s *now* important in the things we put into our bodies. All the while we overlook other things, like what we put on our bodies…I digress, so let’s get back on track. 

It’s good to want to know, it’s good to speak up and it’s great to be educated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, education makes the world go round. And I’d enhance that by stating applying knowledge is what makes the education fruitful. 

Knowing what your beer is all about, what’s in it and how it’s made all go to the direction of organic production. Did you know it’s very expensive to obtain an official organic brewery designation? Did you know there are a number of breweries operating that want to share that they’re all but certified, which in no way lessens the impact of their choices of sourcing organic ingredients and goods? 

Fish Brewing, Olympia WAFish Brewing out of Olympia, WA is a certified organic brewery, so is Bison Brewing, Berkeley CA and so is Eel River Brewing, Fortuna CA. Standing Stone Brewing Company, Ashland OR is one of those darn-nears, with the brewer trying to source as much as fits sustainably. The entire operation is to the goal of green so it’s only natural, pun intended, that the beer is part of that formula. 

A few things to keep in mind when searching or learning about Organic Beer include:

1. Costs of materials – I feel confident in saying way more brewers would use organic materials if they were more abundant and more affordable. Both of those things are getting better, though business is still business and there are thresholds we have and then can reach successfully as we move forward.

Organics2. Brewhouse – If the brewery is dedicated to straight organic beer then it’s all set up accordingly all the time. If the brewery brews one organic in a line up with the rest ‘conventional’, then the consideration of a complete detailed cleaning before a certified organic beer is brewed adds time, effort and resources, as well as personnel and money. 

I’d caution everyone to be cognizant of the various terms and what they mean, since there’s inherent confusion as the terms are bandied about with no “Label Cops” overhearing and correcting us on every day life. According to the USDA, here’s some help

When it’s all brewed and done, enjoy your beer. Knowing from whence it came is an important facet to enjoying for me. To me knowing that the brewers and business side of the passion are dedicated to making a high quality product always trumps any labels, terms or certifications. Transparency is obvious and easy to find with those who are in it for the beer. 

Till the next glass ~ 

Try This: Enjoy cooking your pasta dishes by boiling the pasta in a beer that complements the end flavors desired. Making a marinara? Use some red, amber or brown to enhance the sweetness of the roasted tomato flavor. Making a cold seafood salad? Use a delicate fruit beer, Kolsch or Vienna lager for a subtle flavor addition. 

Event: Dig around a bit on the internet to find out which beverages are organic if you want to know more. There’s info a plenty – so pour yourself a refreshment and dig in!

Did you know it’s very expensive to obtain an official organic brewery designation? Did you know there are a number of breweries operating that want to share that they’re all but certified, which in no way lessens the impact of their choices of sourcing organic ingredients and goods?  ~ Ginger Johnson

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

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