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.
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 http://www.BrewOrganic.com – 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.