The craft beer brewing community tends to be a very eco-conscious one. But to make choosing your Earth-loving beverage a little easier, I put together a list of some of the most planet-loving breweries out there and their best beers for the season. Enjoy!
Beer image via Shutterstock
New Belgium Brewing - Fort Collins, Colo.
Beer to try: Rolle Bolle Ale
From the time New Belgium came into being, environmental stewardship was a keystone of their Core Values & Beliefs. The company even embraces new ideas on how to improve their environmentally friendly methods from employees and customers. In practice, the brewery works hard to limit their carbon footprint by sourcing local ingredients, powering facilities with green power, conserving water and reusing waste where possible.
With summer on the way, the brewery's Rolle Bolle, named for a Belgian game, is the way to go: the beer is a blonde ale that features hints of tropical fruit, a mild tart flavor and a bit of creaminess to balance.
Hopworks Urban Brewery - Portland, Ore.
Beer to try: Organic Hub Lager
Hopworks is on a mission. That mission is to create delicious beer and food "as sustainably as possible." The original brewpub opened in an existing building to eliminate the need for building, and when they did build a new location, they ensured that only green building methods and eco-friendly designs were implemented. As a team, the brewery works together to save water and use local and organic ingredients. In the spirit of organic ingredients, the brewery's Hub Lager is likely the best choice for the eco-conscious drinker. It's a dry, but refreshing pilsner style brew that’s a perfect complement to gorgeous weather.
Eel River Brewing - Fortuna, Calif.
Beer to try: California Blonde Ale
To keep their impact on the planet in check, Eel River started off making organic beers. Since their inception, they've also implemented processes for recycling their waste and sourcing local products and ingredients.They also put an emphasis on renewable energy and have installed a waste water pre-treatment facility on site to reduce their carbon footprint. The California Blonde Ale is, like all Eel River's brews, certified organic. It's also a light and crisp blonde ale that pairs well with lighter, summery foods that you can grill up all season long.
Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn, N.Y.
Beer to try: Silver Anniversary Lager
Aside from plying their local community with beer, Brooklyn Brewery also gets very involved with local organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy. The brewery donates their spent grains to local chicken coups as feed in an effort to reduce their waste. And they also run on 100% wind power, a renewable energy source. When choosing a Brooklyn beer, go for one of their big bottles. Their most recent, the Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager, celebrates their 25th year as a full-fledged brewery. While it's called a "lager," this beer is actually a doppelbock style, which is a stronger version of a German-style lager. This is a solid, bready brew lifted by a mild citrus tang.
Alaskan Brewing Co. - Juneau, Alaska
Beer to try: Summer Ale
As co-founder Geoff Larson sees it, Alaskan Brewing is privileged to create "award-winning beer in one of the most majestic locations on Earth." For that reason, the brewery makes environmental stewardship a part of every aspect of the business. And the team has made a commitment to reusing at least as much waste as they produce. That means they're not only recycling their own excess, but even waste from elsewhere as well. Another refreshing option comes from this eco-friendly brewery: the Alaskan Summer Ale. This Kölsch is a traditional style from Germany that features a citrus bitterness in combination with a crisp and dry finish.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. - Cleveland, Ohio
Beer to try: Rye of the Tiger IPA
Great Lakes loves Cleveland, which is why they want to be good to their local community. From their sustainable farming practices to the implementation of alternative fuels (their delivery van runs on reclaimed vegetable oil), the brewery has been working to reduce their carbon footprint since the early days. They even use Cleveland's natural chill to cool the beers in the winter in an effort to lower their energy use. It could be the great name that makes this beer so appealing (I'm a sucker for beer puns) but the Rye of the Tiger IPA is a citrus and piney brew with an aggressive hop flavor. It's a nice IPA for celebrating how much you love the planet.