Beer Activist

The Topic for Session #13 Is Organic Beer


Beer 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.

What 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:

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.