For healthy eaters, Super Bowl parties’ bent toward rich, calorie-laden foods compete with our desire to shed some holiday pounds and return to regular diet regimens. Whether supplying eco-beer selections for guests or bringing refreshments to a gathering, armchair players can score green points both in terms of natural ingredients and supporting the domestic economy and environment.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s plant in Chico, California, uses 10,000-plus solar panels and a large on-site water treatment facility for recycling and conserving water. “It’s the number one ingredient in brewing,” says Sustainability Manager Cheri Chastain. “You can generate more energy, but you can’t make water.”
Other American microbrews deploy varied eco-solutions. Dave’s Brew Farm, in Wilson, Wisconsin, for instance, obtains most of its energy via a wind-powered generator. Goats “mow” the grass outside the Anderson Valley Brewing plant in Boonville, California.
Odell Brewing Company, in Fort Collins, Colorado, practices waste reduction and recycling and uses renewable energy sources. The 100 percent wind-powered brewery also encourages employees to bike to work and/or carpool, and uses biodiesel-powered delivery trucks (the biodegradable fuel emits 78 percent less CO2 than standard fuel).
Five of the 2014 Good Food Awards’ winning beers—exceeding the criteria of recycling water, local sourcing and banning genetically modified ingredients—are Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, Virginia; Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon; Bear Republic Brewing Co., Healdsburg, California; Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown, Pennsylvania; and Ninkasi Brewing Co., Eugene, Oregon (GoodFoodAwards.org).
ChasingGreen.org offers information on many other U.S. craft breweries that operate in sustainable ways, including the Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York; New Belgium Beer, Fort Collins, Colorado; and the Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
If none of these brews is yet a current favorite, seek them out at a specialty beverage retailer that stocks from multiple regions in order to score a touchdown for us and the Earth. Some just may become part of local fans’ first-string beverage “team” after the game is over.