Drinking Green is the really fun stuff: When You’re There. Whether you’re currently traveling, planning a trip, or just day-dreaming at your desk, the rest posts in the series will be about how to be a green traveler once you’re traveling. We’ve talked a lot about water and water bottled lately, so I’ll save that for another post and start with the fun stuff – alcohol (and juice).
Drinking Green Local Organic Beer
Ah, one of my favorite topics: beer. Just as with produce and other food, locally-produced and organic is the more environmentally-friendly option with beer. Plus, when you eat and drink organic you’re consuming fewer pesticides so it’s healthier, too. Drink organic when you can.
Green St. Patrick’s Day with Organic Beer
You don’t have to travel to Ireland to find good beer on St. Patrick’s Day. No matter where you are, just head to a local grocery store or favorite bar and look for an organic brew. I love beer, so I don’t hesitate to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by sipping on a few quality brews. And since I prefer my food (and drink) to be pesticide-free, I go organic when it’s available. It’s better for the environmental and for my health – plus, it tastes good. Find the best organic beer and let someone else do your homework for you.
photo credit: kapital
Can’t pick just one? Look for an Organic Beer Sampler Set and try 4-10 different brews. Alternatively, see if your local bar has a sampler of organic beer, or if your favorite grocery store will let you mix and match a six pack. (Many grocery stores now carry craft beer from local breweries.) If you’re more of a do-it-yourself type, pick up a new hobby and learn how to brew organic beer at home. Amazon has a great beer kit available.
Check out this great book about sustainable beer making. There’s even a section which discusses making and growing your own ingredients. Still not convinced? This Co-op America article touts the advantages of organic beers and wines.
Here are some organic beer resources to get you started:
- BeerActivist’s organic beer roundup
- Grist reviews 7 organic beers
- North American Organic Brewers Festival in Portland, Oregon
Make St. Patrick’s Day even more green this year by drinking green!
Local, Organic Wine
I have to admit I’m not a big wine connoisseur, except with Rieselings. Two buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s is generally just dandy, but I always buy organic when possible. However, according to the USDA Organic Standard, to be marketed/sold as “organic,” organic wine can contain only naturally occurring sulfites at less than 10 ppm (parts per million).
Read more about it at Serious Eats. Gotta love it. If you’re willing to give it a go, check out these sites:
- Background from the Organic Consumers Association
- Recommended Wines from About.com
- Search for wines by country or type, care of the Organic Vinters Association
- Find more organic wines at The Organic Wine Press, a small, locally-owned store in Oregon
Another way to experience the culture when abroad is drink what the locals do. When I spent time in St. Petersburg, Russia, my beverage of choice involved Gzhelka, an amazingly smooth yet incredibly cheap vodka. Coming back to imported Smirnoff sure was a shocker. During my travels abroad, I also experienced the worst alcohol I’ve ever tasted – Becherovka. It’s a Czech alcohol that tastes like a putrid, strong cough syrup. I don’t doubt that there are ways to drink it that make it taste better – perhaps a 1:50 mix with a sweet juice of choice – I just never found it. But the point is, you’ll never know until you try and experimenting with different local liquors (responsibly, of course) is a fun way to experience a new culture.
Drinking Green Juice and Local Drinks
Some of the best juices I’ve ever had were in Russia and Egypt. Growing up on American “from concentrate” juices, I had no idea what real grape juice could taste like, and I’d never even thought about drinking the nectar of peaches and cherries. Even juice from the supermarket was better than anything I’d found at home, short of fresh-squeezed. So go ahead and try something new. I love the NutriBullet and MagicBullet for easily blending different produce. It’s a great way to be green and get more fruits and vegetables in your diet too. It’s an all-around easy way to be green at home and to save money too.
You never know what you’ll find when you try to drink green. Of course our favorite, is to use a reusable water bottle instead of disposable plastic bottles. That’s a great way to always drink green.