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Awake at the Whisk: Beer: Is Your Beverage Green?

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Beer: Is Your Beverage Green?

Thirst-quenching, delicious beer! The beverage of football players and frat parties has finally become refined. Farewell, watery light beer! Hello, American craft ales!

I am a proud beer snob. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Yet, I’ve come a long way in my journey. When I drank my first beer (a tasteless brew from a giant corporation), I doused my cup with Mt. Dew. Yes, I hated it that much. A few years later, I had the good fortune of living in Denmark, where I was introduced to a finer lager. And thus my taste for good ale blossomed.

Today, I stick to microbrews. (No Mt. Dew needed.) Smooth amber ales will win my heart over any time! I’m also quite fond of good pale ales and hoppy IPAs. I like my beer to slap me in the face with bold flavor. Or, on a hot summer day, I’ll grab a lager and throw in a twist of lime to cool the heat. And while others are clinking glasses of wine, I’ll opt instead for a frothy brew any day.

Yes, I shall forever remain a true beer fan. And in celebration of Sacramento Beer Week, which kicks off tomorrow, I’m putting my beverage-of-choice to the ultimate locavore test. Is it green enough?—and I don’t mean adding food coloring as they do on St. Patty’s Day.

All hail my green beer experiment! I have done the research for you so that you might drink in peace. Grab a pint and let’s celebrate!!

Green Beer Tips:
1) Head to the Nearest Pub (on bike!): Beer containers maximize their environmental footprint. All those bottles and cans start to add up. The greenest beer container? The keg! So, pedal on over to your local pub to keep your brew green.

2) Order Local: Now that you’re comfortably seated at your local bar, order the local brew. For those of us here in Sac Town, ordering locally is easy. From Rubicon to Hoppy, we’ve got some wonderful beers to choose from. You can even remain safely within the 100 mile locavore radius by choosing popular Sierra Nevada ales from Chico, CA. Hell, even if you’re feeling really naughty and want to order one of my favorite brews (Arrogant Bastard) out of San Diego, you’re still lightening the carbon load by not ordering that bicyclist’s beer from Colorado or that Irish brew from across the ocean. Cali’s got it going on when it comes to local beers.

3) Go Organic: Crops of hops are ubiquitously doused in fungicides. If you want to reduce the amount of pesticide use on our planet, opt for locally-brewed organic ale. Here are a few you might like, conveniently located at a brewer near you: Butte Creek (Chico, CA), Bison Brewing (Berkeley, CA), and Eel River Brewing Company (Fortuna, CA).

4) Go Solar: You can minimize your beer’s carbon footstep even further by buying from a solar-powered brewery. Boont Amber Ale is one such delightful beer, and it’s crafted in Boonville, CA—just a stone’s throw away (well, only three hours—still closer than Colorado!). Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is also solar powered. Now doesn’t that just make your favorite beer taste better!

5) Cool Your Own Beer: Cut down on the amount of energy used to keep your beer cold in the grocery store cooler. Buy room-temperature beer (as they sell it at Trader Joe’s) and throw a few bottles in your frig at home. And for Pete’s sake, don’t run an extra frig just for your cold beverages. Keep only what you need in your kitchen frig. If you’re having a party, buy some ice and throw everything in a tub to save energy.

There you have it: proof that you really can go green while drinking beer! For more reading on the matter, check out this fine article.

All this good news is making me thirsty. I hope to see you at the Colonial Theater opening event for Sacramento Beer Week tomorrow at 6pm! I’d love to raise a glass with you. I’ll also be passing out samples of my tasty Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.

Afterwards, meet me back here throughout the week for brew-inspired recipes like my aforementioned cupcakes and some tasty Purple Potato Wedges marinated in Amber Ale. Cheers!

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Loving beer week, we did the ciders and dinner at Magpie last night. YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY.

I am going to have to try making those cupcakes this weekend.

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