Organic Beers

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Brewing Industry is Producing Organically Brewed Beers

As organically grown ingredients for beer making are slowly becoming more available and less expensive, more and more breweries are producing their own version of organic beer.

So why brew with organic ingredients? Well, a commitment to sustainable agriculture and the environment are what organic brewing is really all about. But while some brewers are doing it as a genuine commitment to the environment, most are simply following the lead of others in vying for a miniscule corner of the commercial beer market.

The more serious brewers say that organic brewing…

…allows you to brew better beer. Beer made with organic ingredients tends to be much clearer without even using chemicals or fining agents, which results in a cleaner taste. On average, organic malts have a lower protein content, which results in reduced haze problems in your finished beer. Also, organic malts don’t have any chemical residues that may interfere with fermentation.

…can contribute to your overall health and well-being. By using organic ingredients you can avoid consuming the chemicals that are used in agriculture and food processing –many of which are known to be toxic.

…contributes to a better world. Organic farming reduces erosion, soil nutrient depletion, water shortages and pollution by not using chemicals to fertilize crops or to fight pests and diseases. Organic farming also provides more agricultural jobs per acre than conventional farming.

The Short History of Organic Beer

The modern organic beer movement traces its roots to Brauerei Pinkus-Müller in Münster, Germany, where the first all-organic beer was brewed in 1979 as the result of the brewer’s disappointment in the declining quality of conventional malt at the time. He found organic malt to be a superior substitute, and the brewery switched to all-organic brewing a little over a decade later. Germany alone now boasts about 30 organic breweries. Pinkus-Müller’s organic beers eventually influenced brewmasters abroad. In 1997, the USDA established the National Organic Program, which opened the door for Morgan Wolaver to found the first all-organic brewing company, Wolaver’s Organic Ales, in Santa Cruz, California.

Determining What’s Really Organic

Simply put, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards for organic beer are the same as those for organic foods: ingredients must be grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers in soil free from chemicals for at least three years, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are a no-no. Keep in mind this Organic Certification process is kind of a work in progress. USDA regulations are likely to continue changing and modifying in the future.

In order for a beer to qualify for organic certification, the USDA requires that 95 percent of the ingredients used be organic. In order for a beer to carry the “USDA Organic” label, according to Federal law, it must contain 95 percent organic ingredients, with the other 5 percent being non-organic ingredients on the USDA National List, provided that organic equivalents aren’t commercially available in sufficient quantity.

Here’s a partial list of imported and domestic organic beers:


  • Stone Mill Anheuser-Busch USA
  • Wild Hop Anheuser-Busch USA
  • Organic ESB Lakefront USA
  • Woody Organic II Roots Organic USA
  • Laurelwood Free Red Hopworks USA
  • Fish Tale Amber Fish USA
  • Naughty Nellie’s Ale Pike USA
  • Henry Weinhard’s Prem.Amber Miller ** USA
  • Foret DuPont Belgium
  • Golden Promise Caledonian UK
  • Organic Best Ale Samuel Smith UK
  • Jade Benifontaine France
  • Pinkus Alt Pinkus-Muller Germany

**brewed for Miller Brewing Company by Full Sail Brewing Company

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