Get Green: Drink Organic Suds From Kona Brew Co.

Long before Kona Brewing Company decided to be a sponsor of this newsletter, we were huge fans of its product. It's truly the finest Hawaiian-made brew; and the ease with which KBC makes it available in restaurants, bars and markets certainly makes it easy to pick up a Longboard Lager. There's something nice about a glass of "aloha" at the end of a long day -- whether it's post-work, or an epic battle in the surf.

This week, KBC announced that it was joining the ranks of "green" companies, by releasing a Hawaiian "first": An ale that uses all organic malted barley and hops, called "Oceanic Organic Ale." The result is a crisp, straw-colored brew (that packs a punch with 6.6% alcohol by volume) with hints of lemon peel, clove, white pepper, cardamom and fresh hops. The ale leans towards the drier side, giving a healthy nod to the Belgian-style saison ales that it harkens to (the Oceanic Organic actually uses a custom blend of Belgian yeast strains).

Vice president of Brewery Operations Rich Tucciarone commented on the fact that the effort didn't come with ease.

"It was extremely challenging and expensive for us to acquire the malt and hops -- organic ingredients such as these are difficult to source and in short supply," said Tucciarone.

It's not ironic that the Oceanic Organic arrived in time for fall harvest seasons. The word "saison" means "season" in French, which is the language spoken in Belgium's beer-producing region.

KBC president and CEO Mattson Davis added that the company strives to be "green" whenever possible. From using organic, local produce in the two Kona Brewing Company restaurant-breweries (Kailua-Kona and Hawaii Kai), to feeding Big Island cattle the spent grain from their brewing process, Davis claims these are just the tip of the iceberg as far as efficient operations he employs.

"We are able to lessen our carbon footprint by utilizing heat exchangers in the brewhouse and heat reclamation systems in our restaurant to reduce our use of electricity," said Davis. "All these processes are better for our guests, better for our business -- and most of all, better for our planet."

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