Friday, March 07, 2008
The Session #13 Organic Beer
Yes its the first Friday of the month, that means its time for the monthly virtual tasting that we've all come to know and love. This month the Session is hosted by Chris O'Brien of the Beer Activist and the focus is on Organic Beer. It seems the new "it" words these days are Organic or all things 'Green'. But with those words one must ask what they really mean. Is organic just the growing of plants, vegetables, and even animals without antibiotics, chemicals or for that matter anything artificial? Or is it something more? Can a massive corporate entity plant a few hundred acres of 'organic' greens, growing them so close together and with no rotation of crops, thereby destroying the soil, be called organic? To me the terms organic and green should be mutual terms. To be organic shouldn't just mean not using chemicals, it should mean trying to be sustainable, helping and nurturing the surrounding environment. Doing as little harm to the earth as possible. In fact using the earth to help cultivate your crops or animals, not damaging it in the process of growing ones food.
The unfortunate issue as a beer drinker is that Organic beers are few and far between. This is not due to brewers not wanting these organic products. In fact I'm sure if you asked most would want all organic products. However for anyone that's visited a Whole Foods, you know that organic isn't always cheap. Therefore the problem is that its difficult to find a large supply of organic hops and malts for a beer. Mostly what you'll find is Organic barley, however Organic hops farming is starting to make some in roads. To put craft beer into my definition of what Organic should mean is to touch on the subject of those brewers sustaining in some way. Whether its on a larger scale like New Belgium who uses wind power to power their operations thereby limiting their carbon foot print, or to a lesser scale to those many brewers that give their used barley to local cattle farmers, thereby limiting waste, craft brewers tend to care deeply about their environment.
So the question that I'm finally getting around to, is what beer to choose for this weeks Session on Organic beers. Well I headed to that holy land of all things Organic, my local Whole Foods and selected a beer brewed specifically for the market. The beer comes from North Coast and is their Plowshare Stout.
The Beer: The beer is made with organic malts, but I'm assuming conventionally grown hops. This is an Irish style stout and weighs in at 5.7%. The beer pours a dark brown with a cafe colored head. Smells of strongly roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa, coffee. The mouth is sweet malts, coffee, espresso, a little of a burnt taste, and also a little watery. The mouth is not as strong as the nose, a little thin. A very tasty beer even if its not as robust as i would like. Easy drinking, highly quaffable. Good stuff, if nothing to necessarily write home about. This one gets a B from me. What do the folks at BA have to say?
Now that about wraps up my post for this months session, so head over to Chris's Blog and checkout his wrap up.