8 Great "Green" Beers Sideshow

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New Belgium Brewery, Fort Collins, Co.

You could practically write a treatise on New Belgium's achievements in sustainable brewing. The country's first brewery to use wind power, other eco-friendly efforts include employing solar energy and using their own byproduct methane to power a percentage of their electricity and heat. They even have a team of "Sustainabillies" who help promote sustainable thinking and practices across all departments. And as if that weren't enough, 1% of their revenue is donated to environmental nonprofits.

Brooklyn Brewery, New York City

In 2003, this brewery became the first New York City company to use 100% wind-generated energy. What's more, they've found a more sustainable way of dispensing with their spent grain: The brewery pays New Jersey farmers to pick it up to use as livestock feed.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.

Another leader in environmental brewing practices, this California-based company is taking sustainability to the streets. In addition to producing its own biofuel for its delivery trucks, it also purchased a hybrid electric route truck in 2009 for local deliveries. Also of note are their efforts in heat and CO2 recovery, as well as a water treatment system that creates methane by-product used to fuel their boilers. Oh yeah, they also recycle everything from office paper to burlap sacks at the brewery.

Long Trail Brewing Co., Bridgewater, Vt.

On this brewery's eco-friendly agenda? It has reduced its water usage to two gallons for every one gallon of finished beer (the industry standard is six), uses an in-house heat recovery system, and every year donates eight tons of spent mash to feed local cows.

Steam Whistle Brewing, Canada

No detail is too small for this "green" beer. The company features a painted-on logo on their green bottles, which, by the way, use 30% more glass than a typical bottle — giving them the unique ability to be used up to 35 times. Not to mention, every element of their packaging line is recycled. On top of that, the brewery uses energy-efficient lighting and equipment and is powered by renewable energy.

Alaskan Brewing Co., Juneau, Alaska

Among this brewery's sustainable innovations is a grain dryer that allows them to stabilize grain in-house to prevent it from decomposing on the trip to the Pacific Northwest where it is sent to local farms. They also practice CO2 recovery and use a mash filter press to help reduce the amount of water, malt, and hops needed to make their beer.

Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, Calif.

One of the country's largest craft beer producers, it counts a water recycling system, using solar energy, and donating spent grain to local farms among its achievements. And not only are Stone Brewing's bottles and cardboard packaging recyclable, the brewery itself was made with reclaimed wood and metals. 

Maui Brewing Co., Maui, Hawaii

For this up-and-coming "green" brewery, it's all about the can. But in addition to espousing the virtues of aluminum cans — they're completely reusable, eliminate the risk of oxidation, help keep local beaches free of broken glass  — the company also makes its own bio-diesel and donates its spent grain to local farms.