Sustainable Beers from Eco Friendly us Breweries

Many microbreweries are jumping on the eco-friendly beer brewing bandwagon. There are a few who have not only embraced environmentally sustainable methods but make a commitment to reduce their carbon footprints. The following are not only microbreweries that are eco-friendly, but also make a mighty good brew!

1. WIDMER BREWERY 929 N. Russell St., Portland, OR. 97227 (www.widmer.com)

Two brothers, Kurt and Rob Widmer founded the brewing company in 1984. They are prize craft beer makers. They specialize in ales and lagers. Their Widmir Hefeweizen (wheat beer) is a Gold Medal Beer Cup Award Winner.

Environmentally, the brothers introduced and practice recycling. Waste beer, grain and yeast from the brewery is recycled as cattle feed. The kegs and glasses are all recycled.

They also practice energy conservation. In 2010, they were awarded “Climate Champions” by the BEST Business Center of Portland. They re-engineered their bottle weight to curb CO2 emissions. The heat from the Brewing process (BTU) is recovered and reused. Lights are motion-sensored activated switches. Wind power generates 10% of their electrical needs.

2. NEW BELGIUM BREWERY 500 Linden, Fort Collins, CO. (www.newbelgium.com)

The owners are Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch. Jeff bicycled through Belgium and found several recipes. He began his creations with a brew, “Abbey” in 1991, which subsequently won awards.

This brewery turns out very interesting beers. They are best known for “Abbey”. A Belgian style beer. It won four World Beer Cup Medals and eight medals at the Great American Beer Fest. It is considered a dubbel (double). It is bottled conditioned. It is a dessert beer and goes well with chocolate.

Environmentally, NBB has looked at the use of natural energy, recycling, and ways to cut back on these these carbon footprints. They use xeriscaping, and water for final rinsing of bottles is recycled from the first rinse. They are first brewery to publish an environmental study research.

3. BROOKLYN BREWERY #1 Brewers Row, 79 North 11th St. Brooklyn, NY 11211 (www.brooklynbrewery.com)

Brooklyn Brewery began in 1987, in upstate New York. Two men, Steve Hindy, an AP correspondent and banker, Tom Potter, quit their jobs and began their brewery. Originally, it was hawked by salesmen peddling “Brooklyn Lager” on the streets of New York City. They are best known by their “Black Chocolate Stout”, which is rated 100% by BeerRaters. It is a black chocolate stout.

Environmentally, the brewery uses 100% wind generated electricity.

4. ODELL BREWING CO. 800 E. Lincoln Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80524 (www.odellbrewing.com)

Three brothers, Doug, Wynne and Corkie Odell bought a converted 1915 grain elevator in Fort Collins, Co. This was at the beginning of the craft beer craze. Doug had been working on recipes in his kitchen in Seattle. He perfected two recipes: 90 Shilling and Easy Street Wheat. Those were the recipes they began with in Colorado. He would brew, keg and deliver his beer. Corkie cleaned the tanks and Wynne paid the bills. They stayed in Fort Collins and built a new brewery in 1994.

Their two flagship beers have won awards in many venues, including the Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival, the Los Angeles County Fair and Great American Beer Festival.

Environmentally, when they opened their new brewery, they built solar roofs for 39% of their energy needs. The warehouse installed a daylighting system which lights the area during the day with natural light. All of their 6-pack holders are made from recycled paper.

5. EEL RIVER BREWING COMPANY 1777 Alamar Way, Fortuna, CA (www.eelriverbrewing.com)

This is a great brewery in the sense that it is not only environmentally conscious, but it also makes organic beer. It is the first certified organic beer brewery. The brewery opened in 1995 by Ted Vivatson and Margaret Frigon who both wanted to produce the best hand crafted beer. It opened on the former site of the Clay Brown Redwood Lumber Mill in Fortuna, California. They opened a beer garden and the old mill can still be seen. It has won many awards for its organic beers.

Environmentally, the brewing facility is powered completely by bio-mass, renewable energy. They also have their own pretreatment facility for water treatment in order to lessen the load on the city.

These are the best “green” microbreweries. There are many more that could be mentioned. If you have an opportunity to visit any of these breweries or taste their beer, you should. It is a wonderful taste experience.