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March 2, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Bier! Keeping it Green

When I think of anything ‘organic’, I think of smelly, dreadlocked hippies, sitting around smoking something green… But if you’re into that whole organic thing, you’re in luck. New Zealand has a great selection of certified organic beers, and even breweries dedicated to brewing only organic beer.

Being an organic brewery can severely impair your selection of brewing ingredients, as the range of organically grown hops and malts are limited. Yet almost all of New Zealand’s organic brews are of the highest quality and, in some instances, world leaders.

Emerson’s Pilsener is one of these leaders. It has been at the top of the pilsener style for quite some time now, have one sip of this impressive beer and you’ll understand why. The fruity organic Nelson Saaz hops jump out of the glass at you, bathing your nose in grapefruit and hops. The flavour is somewhat bitter, but balanced beautifully with sweet passionfruit and malt.

Fair Maiden Pale Ale is the newest beer from Founders Organic Brewery. Situated in a historic park in Nelson, Founders Brewery produces only organic beers crafted by a family team consisting of John Duncan and his two sons. Fair Maiden is a New Zealand Pale Ale with strong hops, making for a passionfruit aroma. Staying true to its style, this girl tastes very hoppy, with the passionfruit translating into the flavour, and smooth caramel malt underlying it all.

Green Man Stout is unlike the beer you probably think of when you hear the word ‘stout’. Crafted at Green Man in Dunedin, just around the corner from Emersons, this brewery prides itself on creating a wide range of purely organic beers. Their stout is a fine example of how a stout is supposed to taste. A rich espresso-like bitterness fills the mouth, balanced with the sweetness of the four malts used. This silky beer slides down the throat and begs for more. At 7% alcohol by volume, it’ll keep you happy.

If you’re a true hippie you’ll care for the environment too, and luckily there are ways to reduce the impact of your organic adventures. Emerson’s Pilsener and Fair Maiden are available in riggers at Regional Wines and Spirits. Riggers remove the need for packaging, are re-usable and are also the cheapest way to buy these two brews. Green Man is dedicated to creating a ‘sustainable’ organic brewery, so have organised a bottle return scheme. Through SmartBottles you can send empty cartons and bottles back to the brewery for re-use. Go planet!

If you have any questions about this week’s beers or any comments, please email me at

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