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Beer as green as they come

Today is the day everybody – thank goodness, not everybody, but a lot of body – drinks or at least talks about green beer.

Kudos to Wired magazine for writing about the environmentally friendly, if not truly green, beers of Brooklyn Brewery and New Belgium Brewing.

Brooklyn recently followed the lead of New Belgium in committing to wind power to provide 100% of the brewery’s energy needs. “It’s the right thing to do, and not too many years down the road it will be a common choice,” said Brooklyn co-founder Steve Hindy.

New Belgium gets 70 percent of its power from wind-powered turbines, producing the rest with an innovative in-house system.

New Belgium puts its waste water inside closed pools filled with anaerobic bacteria. The microbes feed on the water, rich in nutrients from the brewing process, and produce methane gas, which is then pumped back to the factory where it becomes electrical and thermal energy.

CEO Kim Jordan indicates that New Belgium doesn’t plan to stop at 30%, although the system cost $5 million.

“It’s a gratifying way to use money, to try and push the envelope and the practice of alternative energy,” she said. “It’s our goal to completely close that loop, so all our energy use comes from our own waste stream.”

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