April is Organic Beer Month

In Colorado, Organic Beer Month really means one thing – a visit to Asher Brewing in Boulder.  As the only certified organic brewing company in Colorado and one of only a few dozen in the country, the folks over at Asher are making quite a name for themselves.  Last week, I sat down with owner Chris Asher for a beer and some brewing tales.

Opened in November of 2009 and located at 4699 Nautilus Court, Suite 104 in Boulder,  Asher Brewing Company was inspired not only by Chris Asher’s love of beer but also by his desire to live and produce products with as little environmental impact as possible.  In addition to being organic, the brewery runs on 100% wind power, uses energy efficient lighting, and has an aggressive composting and recycling program that enables the brewery to produce very little waste. They even up-cycled used furniture for portions of the tap room and they also donate all their spent grain to local ranchers for animal feed.

Becoming a fully USDA Certified Organic brewery is not as simple as maintaining an organic supply chain.  The brewery itself must be certified and continually inspected to ensure that anything that touches the final product is also deemed organic. For example, all cleaning products must be organic and all ingredients must be processed in an organic facility. It should also be noted that the organic supply chain can be limiting at times.  Asher often finds himself working recipes backwards – “We determine what is available and work recipes based on availability, not the other way around.”  This method produces some outstanding results.  One of the specialty brews I sampled was an oak aged, double-fermented IPA, which also had blueberries added to it during the second fermentation.

Their standard tap list includes the Green Bullet IPA and the Greenade Double IPA, definitely two of my favorites.  The Greenade made my jaw twitch a bit – perfect. The Green Monstah (Asher is from Boston) is a strong ale that is maltier than it is hoppy (to me) but overall not as ‘booze-y’ as I would have thought.  Their session beers include the Green Lantern Kolsch, an amber called Tree Hugger, and the Superfly Oatmeal Stout. While I loved the stout and the Tree Hugger, the Kolsch was probably my least favorite (but it definitely was not bad – nothing is here).

Asher Brewing is a truly unique place doing really fucking cool things and I highly recommend visiting them.  Their tap room has a perfect hang-out vibe, plenty of seating, and a huge game room in the back with old school pinball and corn-hole tournaments.  They feature live music on Fridays and on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, they have food trucks featuring some delicious and environmentally conscious eats.  And they are growing.  They have a current barrel production schedule of 1,000 barrels for 2012, which is up from 700 last year.  With a newly added fermenter, they have a potential capacity of 1,500 barrels and plenty of space in the brew house to continue growing.  While there are no immediate plans to can or bottle, Asher’s brews are available in growlers and you can find them on tap in a number of bars/restaurants in the Denver area including the Mercury Cafe (they feature all of Asher’s beers), Hops and Pie, Watercourse, and Fresh Craft.

So do yourself (and the environment) a favor and try a beer from Asher Brewing for Organic Beer Month and all the months in-between!

About Michelle Simons

Michelle likes beer, booze, bands, beards and boys. And alliteration.