Organic beer has to be certified as organic in order to legally label itself as “Organic Beer.” This means that the ingredients that are included in the beer need to be grown under organic conditions with no artificial fertiliser and pesticides.
The arguments for organic beer are that it is better for the environment due to the lack of artificial chemicals in production of the hops and the barley. Also, it is well known that food without artificial additives leads to a healthier you. However, as is the case for many organic crops, the yield is lower and production costs often higher, which ultimately leads to a higher price for the consumer.
Why Drink Organic?
With the brewing process being long and complex, and fermentation taking place, the benefits of using organic crops is not as significant as it would be if we were to eat the crops directly. That said though, there will potentially be some chemical residues that dilute the quality of the beer and impair the fermentation process. Organic hops and barley will ensure a true brew the way nature intended and limit the amount of imperfections. Years of experience has also taught me that the hangover is less when drinking organic, whether it be beer or wine. Here is a review of a delightful
Non Organic – But Naturally Brewed
An alternative to Organic Beer is beer that is “Naturally Brewed.” This is beer without any additional additives and made up of only four main ingredients of water, hops, yeast and barley. This combination of ingredients is consistent with the
Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law).
You will find that many of the mass produced beers the world over will add other ingredients. This can be as simple as treating the water used in production all the way up to the use adjuncts and fining agents.
Adjuncts is the term used in brewing that simply means form of grain other than malted barley that it is added to the brew. The main reason for this unfortunately is that these other grains, such as corn, rice and maize, a cheaper than malted barley. However it sometimes is a brewing decision to use a different grain to achieve a lighter taste and colour.
What to Look For
As you look at the back of your beer bottle you are unlikely to see the ingredients labelled. If you do, there is no guarantee that what you see is ALL the ingredients. Often you will see the words “Naturally Brewed” on the side of the bottle or can, but even this is not a guarantee.
It’s best to do your research. Go to the brewery website to see what they are willing to say about their beers production. In general, stick to microbrews which are brewed with a lot of pride, and therefore the brewer is unlikely to want to spoil the beer by adding more than the four main ingredients. Also stay away from anything that is mass produced, especially with anything with the words light, dry, clear, or ice in the name, and it is reasonably likely that you will be drinking a beer made from natural ingredients.