Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2015

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Page 25 of 43

F or beer-drinkers who prefer organic, locally sourced food, organic cra beer is a no-brainer and it's fi nally becoming somewhat available. Last August nearly 60 organ- ic beers and ciders from around the country were served at Portland's 11th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival. At the same time, a number of breweries are taking their brewing practices in an eco-friendly direction, hoping to create a fresh, healthy and earth friendly beverage. However, thoroughly organic beer is still just a drop in the barrel. Although 2014 organ- ic food sales in the United States amounted to nearly $36 billion U.S. dollars, and sales of certifi ed organic wine and those made with organic grapes exceeded $80 million, there are still only a very few beer makers in the country who embrace fully organic brewing. e industry is hopping with organic ele- ments, but to be truly organic, every single ingredient must be organic. Brian Mercer and partner David Holop, founders of Brouwerij West, soon to open in San Pedro, are creating what is arguably one of the greenest breweries in the coun- try, but even they won't be fully organic by their late-2015 launch. "Organic might happen down the line, but as a new facility, we're focused on getting up and running," Mercer says. "Some of it is that there aren't that many organic hops to choose from, and some of it is the choice of malt we want to use." Instead, Brouwerij is focusing on a brew- ing system that uses 30 percent less water than traditional systems, while the brew- ery itself will be powered by solar panels. "We are using a mash fi lter system in- vented a hundred years ago in Belgium. e design is kind of like a French coff ee press. It fi lters water and squeezes grains dry, saving both water and malt, and taking much less time than traditional brewing processes—which also means less energy is used," Mercer explains. e 123,000-square-foot warehouse housing the brewery is generating enough solar power for not only the brewery, but also 400 homes. "It's a great feeling that we'll have an energy excess and we can give back," Mercer says. "Saving water and producing solar energy makes us feel very good and green. My other dream would be to partner with someone to desalinize water for Brouwerij West. Here we are just 100-feet from the harbor; I worked for a de-sal brewery in Perth, Australia, and it would be wonderful to get a system like that going here." THREE ORGANIC LEVELS Not all organics are created equal. In fact there are three diff erent kinds of organic brews sold in this country, off ering diff er- ent percentages of organic ingredients, and all must list the organic-certifi cation agent. • 100 Percent Organic If you're concerned about GMOs—banned from use in European beer ingredients— look for brews labeled 100 percent organ- ic. ese beers are guaranteed to be GMO free, using exclusively organically sourced ingredients and organic processing. Beer recipes are submitted to certifying bod- ies, brewers must supply a USDA organic certifi cate for every ingredient, and the product cannot include harmful additives. In addition, all brewers in this top tier sup- port eco-friendly farming practices. • Organic Products ese beers are cra ed with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Why not go all the way to 100 percent? For cra brew- ers, the main reason may be, as Brouw- erij West's Mercer suggests, diffi culty in ~BY GENIE DAVIS~ MICRO-BREWS GET ON THE ORGANIC BEERWAGON POP ME AN ORGANIC TALL ONE 26 wholelifetimes.com

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