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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Green Beer

An eagle-eyed observer (my wife) noticed yesterday that something protruded from the roof of the Lucky Lab that looked remarkably like photovoltaic panels. Told me I should check into it. Thanks to the wonders of the internets, I have confirmed her theory:
It's hard to miss our new solar thermal hot water panels as you approach our pub. We've got 16 four foot by ten foot panels gathering hot water from the sun. Today it's partly cloudy and 43 degrees and we are pulling down over 100 degree water! We can't wait 'til summer! Keep you're eyes posted for a solar powered beer. This is the first commercial brewing application of solar water heat in Oregon and you can drink the results!
No idea how old the posting is, and I find no other reports of it online. Until now. Prost!

Also going green is Deschutes Brewery:
Deschutes Brewery’s latest release in the Bond Street Series, Green Lakes Organic Ale, hit the shelves right around Christmas. “We have always been committed to sustainability and see this new beer as a natural extension of our interest in doing things the best way possible,” said Deschutes Brewery founder Gary Fish....

After working with Oregon Tilth for nearly six months, Deschutes Brewery received organic certification for its 50 barrel brew house. The brew house, built in Oregon by JV Northwest, was the anchor of the brewing facility built in 1993 that expanded the operation outside of the original brewery and public house. After brewing 20,000 batches of beer, it now meets the stringent standards of the National Organic Program.
It's not actually clear to me whether this means the entire brewery is going green, or if the brewery has to be certified even for a single beer to be certified. Either way, Deschutes once again shows its attention to detail. I'll try to track down a bottle of Green Lakes and see how it measures up.


  1. According to my tour guide at the Full Sail brewery, the entire brewery has to be certified before they can brew any beer. Once the actual facility is certified, from there they can brew approved organic beer. Full Sail had to go through the process because they brew Henry's Organic Amber.

  2. Rick is correct. Once you're certified by the Oregon Tilth you can begin putting out organic beers, however each beer has to undergo it's own certification process to receive the little green USDA sticker.

    You also have to keep a very clear separation between your organic and "regular" ingredients, which usually means storing the grain in a completely separate silo or store room.

    Also, the certification for the brewery extends beyond the ingredients; you also have to use organic cleansers in the brew house prior to brewing a batch of organic beer. Regular caustic won't cut it...

  3. What about:
    -Cooling lines
    -Conditioning & Bright Tanks
    -Parts & Sanitizing solution?
    There are many elements beyond the brewhouse that seem to need this same type of cleaning. Unfortunately, production brewing uses gobs of resources to begin with, so even a Henry's organic needed a large amount of water/electricity/compressed air/carbon dioxide/packaging to make it to the shelves. And besides, going with spendier products might not equate with tastier beer and that's what matters to many (most?) consumers, right?

  4. Cool story! Thanks for the info, and I just wanted to let you know that I've linked to this post from my party planning site to help my readers plan a fun (and green) St. Patrick's Day party. Feel free to check out our site for free online invitations, party planning tips and recipes.