Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Located in Chico, Calif. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. boasts that their flagship brew Pale Ale is the flawless beer that made Chico famous.
Party Points: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s love of live music and great beer lead to the designation of the Big Room: a 350-seat venue located at the brewery, in addition to the Taproom & Restaurant.
Green power: The fine folks of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. allow anyone visiting their Website to see their on-site power consumption whenever they like. Over 10,000 solar panels and four co-generation fuel cells allow Sierra Nevada to power nearly their entire facility in an eco-friendly way. So feel no guilt, Mr. Thoughtful Drinkeryour beverage of choice was made with the awesome power of the sun.
Emily Brown is a writer and eco-enthusiast currently working with Redstone College's new wind energy technology program.
Full Sail Brewing Co.
Full Sail Brewing Co. is based in Hood River, Ore., near the Oregon Trail, where brewing requires scavenging for berries and near-constant repair of broken axles. (Or was that a drunken flashback?) Anyway, on the trail of good flavor no obstacle is too great for Full Sail Brewing. It's also the second largest craft-brewer in the state, which is nothing to shake a broken axle at.
Party Points: The Oregon Human Powered Vehicle Challenge tests your ability to drink alcohol and navigate a tiny wheeled vehicle of your own design without seriously injuring yourself or others in the process. Good times.
Green Power: Littering on the Oregon Trail has got to be a capital offense, so the folks at Full Sail have come up with an ingenious way to keep things neat and tidy. They only work four days a week, ten hours a day. You might call that lazy, but it actually cuts down on energy use and, more importantly, water consumption. Compared to other brewers, Full Sail uses 3 million fewer gallons per year. In fact, Full Sail is saving so much water that drinking other beers is actually wasting water. Not to guilt trip you or anything, but think about the water, man.
Odell Brewing Co.
Odell Brewing Co.'s mission is simple: make consistently great beer in Fort Collins, Colo.: "We love beer. We talk about beer. We dream about beer. And we make incredible beer. We don't mess around with serving food, making music or cutting up limes to mask our beer's flavor. Our dreams lead us to create imaginative, big, bold and beautiful beers."
Party Points: Odell Brewing Co. offers five different keg sizes and half-gallon draft jugs!
Green Power: The brewery is equipped with standard solar panels that generate one-third of the facility's power during peak summer hours. To ensure that their warehouse doesn't consume more power than necessary, the lighting system will actually turn itself off when the natural lighting is sufficient. We have self-aware beer, people.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Another Fort Collins favorite, New Belgium Brewing Co. follows a simple philosophy: ignore tradition and have fun at work. It makes sense. Would you ever want to meet a brewer that hated their job?
Party Points: They're the folks behind the Clips of Faith Beer and Film Tour, which travels the country premiering short films involving craft beer, environmental sustainability, and hilarity!
Green Power: New Belgium was the first brewery to make use of wind power, but their environmental call to arms is passed onto their customers. Team Wonderbike is comprised of customers who pledge to use bicycles more often to off put CO2 emissions from cars. Currently Team Wonderbike is 10,000 strong, which I'm assuming means 10,000 well-toned alcoholics (no drinking while biking) as well.
Eel River Brewing Company
Eel River Brewing Company was the first brewery in California to be certified organic. Much to their surprise, they were also the first brewer in the United States to be certified. The ingredients are right, as made evident by the 100-plus medals in various competitions. Not to toot their horn or anything, but toot-toot.
Party Points: Eel River Brewing also houses the largest beer garden on California's north coast. Toot-toot again, son.
Green Power: Their brewing facility is powered completely by bio-mass, renewable energy. What's more, they have their own water pretreatment facility to lessen the load off the Fortuna city's actual water treatment plant.
The 23-year-old (barely of age) Brooklyn Brewing company was born against all good advice the day two Steves quit their day jobs and took a chance that can only be described as "absurdly huge. Like, whoa." Thankfully it paid off and Brooklyn Brewing has gone on to become one of the top 40 breweries in the country.
Party Points: The brewery hosts a happy hour every Friday!
Green Power: Wind turbines generate all the electricity for both their headquarters and brewery, making Brooklyn Brewing the first company in New York City to be powered entirely by wind power!
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Following in long history of Alaskan brews, Alaskan Brewing Co. is perhaps best known for its historic Alaskan recipes. At long last, you can drink like a gold prospector.
Party Points: Alaskan Brewing is an official sponsor of the Iditarod. Now I'm not saying you should try to race sled dogs while drunk, but that's exactly what I'm saying.
Green Power: Alaska Brewing is willing to go as far as "reusing at least as much waste and emissions as we produce." Now re-read that and you'll notice something. They want to reuse at least as much waste as they produce, if not more. This implies that they plan on using other people's waste for no reason except that they can. That sound you just heard? It was your mind being blown.
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. is a Cleveland, Ohio fixture, claimed by many to be a key part of the city's identity (suck on that, Drew Carey). Both a restaurant and a pub, its brewing tanks have been blessed, meaning their beer will get you closer to God than any other alcoholic drink on the market. Amen.
Party Points: The Brewpub is quite possibly the classiest place to get a beer on the face of this earth.
Green Power: Great Lakes Brewing has entered into what's referred to as a "closed loop" recycling system. Everything that would be considered waste is used somewhere else within the brewery or the surrounding community. Left over grains, for example, are used in baked goods. On top of making their packaging 100% recyclable the company also runs their distribution trucks entirely on vegetable oil.
Peak Organic Brewing Company
Starting as home brewers, the minds behind Peak Ale brought the Portland, Maine micro-brewery to life. Living the underdog dream, they now brew some of the most distinctive ales on the east coast.
Party Points: If you're coming up short on what to eat with your choice of drink, the Peak Ale website has a comprehensive list of what tastes great with which brew so you don't have to think too hard come party time.
Green Power: Despite become a full-fledged brewery, they kept their commitment to local partners not to cut expenses but to maintain high quality, making a better tasting brew while helping build their community. These bonds have proven to be powerful in more ways than one, helping make Peak Ale a powerful brewer in the Northeast. That, and they're organic.
The pride and joy of sophisticated drinkers of Toronto, Ontario, Steam Whistle has made its mark by using only four ingredients: spring water, German hops, 2-row barley and yeast.
Party Points: Every year Steam Whistle hosts the Indie Unsigned concert series, showcasing the best unsigned bands around.
Green Power: Canada's Steam Whistle Brewing has virtually all bases covered when it comes to going green: their facilities are temperature controlled by filtering ice-cold water from a near-by lake, their bottles are made of entirely recycled materials and they reuse as much of their own waste product as possible. Even more important, they've got their customers covered: their outdoor events use completely biodegradable cups. But no matter what cup you are drinking from, there is no denying that an eco-friendly brew just tastes better!