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May 12, 2008 | by  | in Opinion |
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Founder’s Beer

Finding a beer which is environmentally friendly, certified organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher is not quite as hard as it may sound. The entire Founder’s range of beer from Nelson fit the bill perfectly.

Established in 1998, it was the first brewery in the country to be certified organic. As well as complying with one of the most modern food standards, their beers also conform to the Bavarian Beer Purity Laws of 1516, one of the oldest. Earlier this year, Founder’s received the Karshrus Certificate from the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority in Wellington. I for one was previously unaware of the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority.

The head brewer at Founder’s is John Duncan, a fifth generation brewer. He says “we try to operate our business to minimize the negative effects on the environment. We bottle our beer in reusable bottles, use minimal packaging and recycle our brewing byproducts into organic compost through a worm farm. Our spent grain gets used as stock feed.”

While I am pleased that Nelson worms and cows get to share in the miracle of brewing, the key for me is still flavor. Their newest offering is Founder’s Fair Maiden Pale Ale (5%), the first solo beer from John’s son Matt.

The Fair Maiden is a handsome bronze/copper beer with a citrus hop nose. It has a strong caramel body with hints of orange, cinnamon and passionfruit followed by a tangy finish. It is easy to see how it won a Gold Medal at the 2007 Brew NZ Beer Awards in the hugely competitive Pale Ale category.

One of their best selling beers is Founder’s Tall Blonde (4.2%), a zesty blonde lager. This slightly cloudy golden beer has a fresh nose of hops and spice. In the glass, it has a firm body and a big, bold, bitter finish. It is a true guilt-free quaffer.

For the winter months, Founder’s Long Black (4.7%) is a rich warming dark lager – a style known as Schwarzbier. Given the name, the beer is unsurprisingly dark with a light cappuccino head. The nose is a medley of chocolate, coffee, nuts, smokiness and honey. Surprisingly light in the mouth, Long Black has a soft finish.

These are easily the best environmentally friendly, certified organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher beers I’ve ever had. Above all, they taste good – the ultimate measure of a beer.

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