Monday, November 3, 2008

Brew Ha Ha!

Over the past six months I have done an extensive level of research into artists, products and companies that dub themselves eco-friendly. Many of the discoveries I have made were through the sharing of links from family, friends and bloggy friends and all of the shared information both surprised and delighted me. One of the companies that my favorite Vegan With a Purpose, Ginger shared with me was for a beer brewery based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Could this be true? Could I have finally achieved the perfect storm of awesomeness where consumption of finely brewed beer could be an environmentally friendly activity? I pulled up their website and began the research into this unique concept immediately.

New Belgium impressed me right off the bat as the photo on their homepage shows the outside of their building and about twenty five bicycles parked in the parking lot instead of cars. They brew eight styles year round, four seasonal and one on a limited release. Right on the homepage they proclaim sustainability as a core value and they truly mean it. The company: utilizes recycled bike rims for stools in their bar, use a heat exchanger to recycle the steam created from boiling to assist in boiling the next brew, use both active and passive solar for lighting, upcycled beetle kill pine trees to line their walls, employ evaporative coolers in place of air conditioning units, they create electricity through wind power and via collection of their own methane (created during wastewater treatment), provide an employee ownership program and participate in countless philanthropic events. Talk about a fantastic company model! After discovering this wondrous company I looked for the beer in some of my local package stores but to no avail.

It occurred to me that was not necessarily a bad thing because it got me thinking if there was such a company in Colorado, ready to serve a feast of barley, malt and hopps, perhaps a similar brew house existed right here in my own state.

Of course the first company that came to mind was Samuel “Sam” Adams, brewed by The Boston Beer Company right here in Massachusetts, but because they have grown into a household name and ship both nationally and internationally they have expanded operations to their additional brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio as well. They are fervently committed to many charitable organizations (notably the Boys and Girls Clubs, Boston Urban Gardens, Cam Neely Foundation, the Dennis Leary Firefighter Foundation and Share Our Strength) and additional philanthropic pursuits. It made me happy to see such a large company (there are seventeen brews in their standard rotation, some seasonal) giving back to their local and national communities.

The next local brew master I thought of is the Harpoon Brewery who provide their beers internationally but brew in their two New England locations Boston, Massachusetts and Windsor, Vermont. This company creates just six standard beers, four seasonal and three limited edition brews but their community reach extends far further than their thirteen beers would indicate. Their own humanitarian branch is called Harpoon Helps and this division donates through beer, merchandise, monetary contribution and time of volunteers to a myriad of organizations and events throughout New England (such as soup kitchens, Greater Boston Food Bank and American Red Cross) and have just expanded their reach to include the Spread Holiday Cheer event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington DC and Albany, New York as well.

Both Sam Adams and Harpoon display a commitment to their communities, as well as the people who live in them through their humanitarian and charitable efforts, but I will definitely enjoy spending some time researching smaller local brew houses doing their part to provide yummy libations without sacrificing an environmentally friendly approach, just like New Belgium Brewing.

Due to their true commitment to all things Earth and environment it is my proud honor, without ever sampling the wares, to bestow a Five Green Leaf rating to New Belgium Brewing. Hooray to them for thinking both locally and globally! Spread the word to your beer brewing friends how easy it is to be green.


LostRiverRags said...

Great blog!

LazyTcrochet said...

This is great. I shared links with my beer/bike loving hubby. Thanks

Bridgete said...

That's great! Although I don't drink beer.

But, along these lines, check out McMenamins. It's a chain of pubs in the Pacific NW that brew their own beer. They use green practices too. They also have a winery and the best fries ever.

Ginger said...

glad i finally caught up to this, thanks for the link love!

too bad you don't get new belgium beer out east, it's good stuff. if anyone ever has an opportunity i recommend fat tire by them. (it's a mountain bike reference, not the flavor).