Hell, Heaven, and Organic Beer

Some days everything in the world feels just right. Today started out the other way – like we’re doomed to make the same mistakes over and over. The news in the Washington Post was even more depressing than usual: mass rapes in the Congo, budget crises in the state governments, Mugabe continuing to jockey for power in Zimbabwe, China violating human rights, and General Petraeus telling us that the war in Iraq is going just fine.

Clearly, the world is going to hell.

But then the day took a turn for the better. I’m a pacifist – I haven’t heard of a war yet that I think makes a shred of sense. But I have a strange connection to some of today’s news, particularly that involving the U.S. military. You see, the Pentagon is one of the world’s largest offices, housing about 23,000 employees. The building is so big that it undergoes continuous renovations because by the time they finish up one section, there is another section ready for rehab. The contractors who manage these renovations invited my group, the Responsible Purchasing Network, to help them develop a green purchasing policy. Today I found out, unofficially, that we were awarded the contract. Cool.

But then something even more impressive happened. I got free beer in the mail. I love it when that happens. Have I said that before? Sorry, I can’t help it. There is just nothing like the feeling I get when free beer appears unexpectedly in the mail . . . addressed to me . . . and did I mention it was free? And sometimes . . . it’s even organic! My god, I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Green Lakes Organic AleToday I received three bottles of the new Green Lakes Organic Ale from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Two bloggers wrote about this beer during last month’s Beer Blogging Session, which I hosted here at BeerActivist.

The beer is brewed with five types of certified organic malts. But what I found more intriguing is that it is brewed with ‘certified salmon safe‘ hops. I had never heard of this before. Apparently, Safe Salmon is a non-profit group working to protect salmon habitat in the Willamette Valley of Oregon (where much of America’s hops are grown) by certifying farm practices that prevent run-off and other habitat damage.

The beer itself is a delicious bitter ale. Scorers over at Beer Advocate currently have it clocked in with a B+, while the Rate Beer reviewers have ranked it in the 78th percentile of the Amber Ale style.

In the glass, this beer exhibits a deep, contemplative amber with a steady but moderate flow of carbonation bubbling to topside to produce a reasonable, lasting head with lace that has equally thoughtful stick-to-it-tiveness. An initial blast of bitterness bites the tongue but is quickly followed by a cake-like malt sweetness. Hop citrus notes are apparent throughout but do not dominate. This is a beer I could relish drinking with a group of environmental activist colleagues as we plot strategy for saving the world, one organic barley crop and one salmon safe hop farm at a time.


3 Responses to Hell, Heaven, and Organic Beer

  1. timjo62 says:

    it’s hard to argue with free organic beer. SAS is doing an hour long TV show tonight, GreenWatch which is produced by the Harris County Green party. It’ll be archived on google video a couple of weeks. We’ve been getting press left and right.

  2. Chuck says:

    I’m a big fan of testing fresh hops. Know where I could get some online? I can’t find anywhere that they’re not dated.

  3. beeractivist says:

    Sure! You can get them from Seven Bridges at http://www.BrewOrganic.com. I’m not sure what you mean by dated, but our hops are as fresh as anyone’s given that this is an annual crop.

    If you’re really looking for fresh, one good option is to buy rhizomes and grow your own. Seven Bridges also sells rhizomes. Happy hopping.


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