When people are asked why they choose organic, they typically respond that it tastes better or that it's better for you. I'm not sure you can really taste the difference between organic and conventional. To me, there's a bigger difference between fresh (think locally produced), and the stuff that's been trucked in a few hundred miles or more. As for it being better for you, the jury is out on that one, too, at least when it concerns individual health. But when it comes to the health of our planet, it seems a no-brainer: sustainable organic agriculture does less harm than our filling the aquifer with pesticides and petrochemicals. Sure, a few studies have claimed conventional agriculture is really better for Mother Earth, but those are typically subsidized by the companies that produce the chemicals. That said, here are a pair of organic beers that taste good, are good for you (in moderation, of course) and are produced in a way that's good for the planet:
Deschutes Green Lakes Organic Ale
Always committed to sustainability, Deschutes has taken it to the next level with their brewery, receiving Oregon Tilth organic certification. Their first offering has just been released in 22-ounce bottles, and Idaho is lucky enough to get some. It offers earthy aromas laced with stone, grain and mineral, all punctuated by lightly bitter hops and dry malt. A medium-bodied brew self-described as an amber ale, the flavors are all smooth malt (a blend of five varieties) with a hop bite that sneaks up on you. One ingredient listed on the label is "Salmon-Safe hops." Not sure if that means no fish were harmed during production or that salmon can safely consume them or that it's safe for us to consume salmon while drinking Green Lakes.
Samuel Smith Organically Produced Tadcaster Ale
Certified organic by the USDA and the California Certified Organic Farmers, Samuel Smith has been offering their environmentally correct ale for a number of years now. It shows light spice on the nose that carries through on the palate (much more subtle than a Belgian). Nothing against the Green Lakes, but the Sammy's version better displays the balance I expect in an ale. Creamy malt flavors dominate, backed by a light fruit quality (primarily peach) and subtle hops. Smooth citrus keeps things in balance on the finish. The ale comes in an "Imperial Pint" (18.7 ounces) with a nice retro label.