The Topic for Session #13 Is Organic Beer

Organic Beer SessionBeer Activist is proud to host Session #13 on March 7, 2008. The topic is “organic beer.” [Read the roundup of posts here.]

As usual, rules for The Session are minimal. Simply publish a post related to organic beer. Then email me or add a comment on this post to let me know that you’ve published a post. I’ll gather them up here with brief summaries and links to all the posts.

USDA organicWhat Is Organic Beer?
Here’s a bit of context to help inspire your observations on organic imbibing. “Organic beer” refers to beers that use ingredients, supplies, and production processes that have been certified as adhering to the rules of the National Organic Program administered by the US Department of Agriculture (and similar programs in other countries).

“Organic” is not a beer style or a political concept. It is a specific, highly defined system of agriculture and food production that emphasizes the building of healthy ecosystems, especially soil health, by avoiding manufactured chemicals known to be detrimental to humans and other living things and relying instead on natural processes such as composting and systems such as inter-cropping that harness the strength of biodiversity to increase productivity and decrease pests and disease.

Only beers verified by independent certifiers as meeting the legal organic standards are allowed to bear the USDA Certified Organic logo (the one up there to the left). Lots of brewers use Certified Organic malt and/or hops but have not had their facilities and processes certified. Legally and in practical fact these beers are not organic and are prohibited from being marketed as organic. But for this Session, it’s up to you to decide what to count as organic. Feel free to comment on beers that someone just tells you are organic, but be aware that just because someone has good intentions and seems trustworthy doesn’t mean that their beer is in fact organic.

Here are a few resources for those of you interested in learning more about organic beer:

  • The Organic Beer Guide (Carlton Publishing, 2002) by Roger Protz. Getting a little bit dated but this guide has a good intro about organic beer and a listing of some of the earlier, mostly British and European, organic beers.
  • Seven Bridges Cooperative at – An organic brewing supply coop. The website has lots of info and the friendly staff will be happy to answer questions. Does this sounds like an advertisement? Sorry, I guess it sort of is – I’m part owner of the company. And speaking of adverts . . .
  • Fermenting Revolution: How to Drink Beer and Save the World (New Society, 2006) by Chris O’Brien. Sorry I can’t help but plug my own book! Really though, there is a long chapter on organic brewing ingredients and the pesticides used on conventional barley and hops.
  • The link list of organic beers in the right hand column of this very blog. Take a look. It’s right over there –> but you’ll have to scroll down a bit to see it.

About The Session
Here’s some background for those of you who are new to The Session. About a year ago, Stan Hieronymus, author of Brew Like a Monk and blogger over at Appellation Beer, kicked off the idea of having a monthly group beer blogging event. He called it “The Session” and ever since then bloggers have been group-blogging away every first monthly Friday on topics ranging from “Beer and Atmosphere” to “Beer and Music,” the latter of which was my favorite topic so far due to the fact that those two things have been both the blast powder and the salve of my life.

64 Responses to The Topic for Session #13 Is Organic Beer

  1. […] his announcement, Chris helpfully offers up some resources for learning more about organic beer, as well as a list […]

  2. […] Session #13 has been announced and the details can be found at the Beer Activist. I haven’t attended any of the previous sessions, but it sounds like […]

  3. […] to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Nipping at the heels of the announcement for the topic for the March Session, the news surfaced today that The Lucky Lab Brew Pub in the other Portland (anyone who doubts that […]

  4. […] Captain Hops over at Beer Haiku Daily posted this little ditty today in honor of next months beer-blogging Session on organic […]

  5. […] more likely as a result of his long standing passion and dedication, Chris O’Brien has chosen Organic Beer as the theme for next month’s […]

  6. […] Beer Activist: The Topic for Session #13 Is Organic Beer […]

  7. […] edition of The Session is sponsored by Chris O’Brien’s, The Beer Activist. (I just love his tag line, “Drink Beer. Save the World.”) Session #13 is titled […]

  8. Ray says:

    My contribution to this month’s Session is available here:

  9. […] so I’ve been trying to think of an Organic Beer-related post for the March Session since it was announced nearly a month ago and was completely drawing a blank. I didn’t want to do just another Peak […]

  10. Lew Bryson says:

    I’m up, Chris…and my post isn’t about beer or organic. But I’m sure you’ll agree that it is “related to organic beer.” At least, I hope you do!

  11. Rob Cannon says:

    Thanks, I’ve got my review of the New Glarus Organic Revolution at

  12. […] Session is a monthly beer-themed group writing project for bloggers. This month’s theme is Organic Beer and it is hosted by Chris O’Brien the Beer […]

  13. I’ve got one up, Chris. Remains to be seen if I’ll manage my other blog, but I’ll let you know if I do.

  14. Hi Chris

    Great topic! I’ve put my post up here:

    Thanks for hosting!

  15. Jereme says:

    Thanks Chris for getting me thinking about organic beers in a new light. You got me to try one of the best beers I’ve had recently, organic or otherwise. Review posted here
    Thanks all.

  16. […] topic for Session 13 was suggested by Chris O’Brien at the Beer Activist Blog – organic beer. It’s an issue that’s very important to us. Since moving to the San […]

  17. Jasmine says:

    We’ve got our video on organic beer and food up now at:

  18. Gray Hunter says:


    Here’s the contribution for The Session from Bottled Llama Brewing. I hope it’s okay and thanks!–samuel-smiths-pure-brewed-lager.aspx

  19. […] Cheers! This month’s topic and hosting duties comes to us from Chris O’Brien, the Beer Activist: Organic Beer. Only beers verified by independent certifiers as meeting the legal organic standards are allowed […]

  20. […] Look, I am as left as they come (within reason¹) but when I heard about the plan for this month’s theme, I yawned. Why not “social responsibility and beer”? Why not “photos of tumbling puppies and beer”? […]

  21. […] around our host, Chris O’Brien, the Beer Activist, chose a topic near and dear to his heart, organic beer. It’s one I’m fairly familiar with as well. I wrote a feature story on green breweries […]

  22. […] BeerActivist’s organic beer roundup […]

  23. judegreen52 says:

    Organic Beer post… Judy, Las Vegas, Nevada. Full post at

  24. […] beer: ditto as above but click on this dude’s blog, his organic beer list is hella long Damn, all this writing has made me thirsty.  Excuse me while […]

  25. Acai says:

    I’m always into discussions on anything organic, so this read made me feel at home.
    I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  26. Hey, I’ve found a great organic beer too. I’m not a big lover of beer, but when it’s organic I’ll give it a shot:)
    Saucy Salsita, AKA The Sexy Hippie – Because sexy comes in GREEN!

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  34. I really like the fact that there is a beer kit out there that has organic ingredients, and was interested to read that you are part owner. Good on you for getting some organic ingredients out there.

    Thanks for the run down on what actually comprises organic, it can be confusing.


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