Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tips for Finding Real Green Beer

Not plain old beer filled with green dye. Organic beer.

In Arlington, the best selection of organic beer can be found at Lost Dog Cafe in Westover on Washington Blvd., but Shirlington's Busboys & Poets is coming on strong with Wolaver's Organic and Peak Organic available. Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon usually has at least one organic beer available. At Washington Blvd. & Pershing Drive, Tallula's EatBar carries Samuel Smith Organic Lager, but it's expensive at $11.50 a bottle and not that good.

In DC's Dupont Circle, you can find organic beer at
Brickskeller and Restaurant Nora, and Peak Organic is now flowing at Rocket Bar, Tryst, Open City, Wonderland Ballroom, J. Paul's, Hook, Oceanaire, Les Halles, Cafe Saint Ex, Busboys, Ulah Bistro, The Reef, and Kramerbooks.

At the grocery store, Whole Foods has a good selection, including Wolaver (my favorite: the Wit Bier). Harris Teeter carries Peak Organic's Pale Ale and Anheuser-Busch's organic Wild Hop Lager and Stone Mill Pale Ale. The Trader Joe's out on Route 7 has some local brews but not many organic selections. If you live outside the DC area, the National Geographic's Green Guide has a great review of what's available.

Locally-brewed beers have less of an impact on the environment because they don't have to be shipped in from Colorado or Germany, a concept known as food miles. Local breweries include Dominion (in Ashburn) and Shenandoah Brewing (in Alexandria).

If you're at a bar with no organic or local options, I'd suggest two options to reduce your environmental footprint:
* Order a draft. Few bars and restaurants have good recycling programs, so your empty beer bottle is likely headed for a landfill. But a pint glass will be used hundreds (if not thousands) of times.

* Go with a beer from Anheuser-Busch, maker of Bud, Busch, Michelob, Natty, Rolling Rock, and other beers. Anheuser-Busch is actively reducing its carbon footprint and increasing its use of renewable energy, earning top honors among major breweries in the most recent ClimateCounts.org scorecard.
To read more on sustainable drinking, check out Chris O'Brien's Beer Activist blog!
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