If you’re asking yourself, “Self, what else can I do to help the planet?”, have you looked at your beverage choices lately? It feels like this could be an often overlooked opportunity for us as individuals make a collective impact. Sure, looking for the obvious keyword of “organic” on the label is a great start, but how about looking even further into a company’s business practices? Are they using renewable energy? Conserving water? Including local ingredients in their recipes? Buying bamboo toilet paper? Not kidding, we looked! We checked out many other things too about Hopworks – a brewery with locations in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington that is BIG on doing right by the planet.
He Said: Here we go again: my awful job is forcing me to drink beer and hang out in interesting places. Are you picking up my sarcasm? Because I’m laying it on pretty thick. I practically skipped with glee down to our local brewpub, Hopworks. We picked this particular brewery because it has an extensive list of sustainable practices and some pretty tasty beer to boot. They source most of their ingredients locally, use organic malt in every single brew, and four out of the five beers I tried had the green badge of honor. That’s right, nearly every delectable beverage on my sampler plate was USDA organic. I started my flight with the light, citrusy, west coast IPA, “Gear Up,” then moved on to the malty, sweet, “Patagonia” northern ale made from Kernza root (which is an amazing grain, look it up). I believe it was about this time that my beer cheese pretzel and green chili burger arrived. I washed those down with a heavenly, smooth red ale, “Velvet ESB.” Dessert was a caramel, roasty, “Beestly” honey porter. Mmm-mmm! Now, you know I try to be very thorough with my reviews, but if you feel this one wasn’t good enough please email my editor and tell her to force us to do this one over again. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings.
She Said: In the area where we live, it wasn’t hard to find a local brewery. I bet it isn’t difficult these days no matter where you live – just look in your own backyard. Maybe literally. Hops are easy to grow, right? Since WE didn’t have any hops, off to the brewpub we went. I noticed right away that “reduce, reuse, and recycle” was taken seriously at Hopworks, with lampshades made from modified growler jugs, and tables from reclaimed wood or repurposed doors. But how about the beer? Oh, they didn’t disappoint! There was a fun variety of brews made on-site (with organic hops, I might add), from IPAs to “Patagonia,” which is important to point out because its made from a special type of grain, Kerzna, that prevents soil erosion, uses less water, and thrives without pesticides. What?! Talk about creative ways to help our environment and get your drink on! They also had a tasty cider that was a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and dry. The menu was recently updated, with reliable dishes of burgers, salads, fries, and apps. The staff was also very apt to accommodate my fussy order of a bacon and blue cheeseburger with no cheese and a gluten-free bun (which was still great). The pretzel twists with beer cheese appetizer though? Wow! Honestly, I’d go back just for the pretzels and a pint of the mahogany-hued “Velvet ESB.” Mmmm! But I’d also go back to support the awesome things this company is up to, like using local and organic ingredients, designing efficient buildings, offsetting carbon emissions, using half as much water as other breweries per gallon of beer, earning B Corp and Salmon-Safe certifications, and a ton more. These guys set the bar pretty high for a sustainable business, and thank goodness for that!