What does organic really mean, anyway? Well, according to this excellent Life Hacker article:
The USDA states that the goal of organic foods and organic farming is to “integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Put simply, if you see the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal on your food, the item must have an ingredients list and the contents should be 95% or more certified organic, meaning free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the USDA. The remaining 5% may only be foods or processed with additives on an approved list
With a motto to “Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time,” the North American Organic Brewers Festival aims to bring organic, environmentally friendly farming, ingredients and practices to the beer industry. As the world’s only organic brewers festival, this brewers fest will celebrate its 11th year this August 13 through 16 at Overlook Park in Portland, Ore. Event hours are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the festival serves up 50 organic beers and ciders from three dozen breweries. Some of the breweries are certified organic, but most brew a one-off organic batch just for the event. Styles run the gamut from Ambers to Belgians to Wild Ales, with a bit of everything in between. A complete list of participating breweries is available at www.naobf.org. The event also offers live local music, organic food and sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits in a beautiful park setting.
This year’s event will also feature an exceedingly rare opportunity to sample draft beer from Pinkus Brewery, the world’s first certified organic brewery. Along with Pinkus Ur-Pils and Münster Alt on draft, the festival is introducing the Merchant du Vin Organic Bottle Garden, featuring 11 bottled beers and ciders from Pinkus in Germany and Samuel Smith’s Brewery from Yorkshire, England.
“When Samuel Smith’s opened in 1758 and Pinkus in 1816, chemical fertilizers and pesticides didn’t exist — all beer was organic,” stated Tom Bowers, district manager at Merchant du Vin. “Viewing the beer world from this historic perspective, these brewers chose to become the trailblazers of organic brewing for the modern era. By including Samuel Smith’s and Pinkus in this year’s festival, NAOBF has expanded the opportunity for festival goers to not only experience amazing beers from the world’s original organic brewers, but to taste history.”
Admission into the NAOBF is free. The purchase of a $7 reusable, compostable cornstarch cup is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. A full cup of beer costs four tokens and a taste costs one token; select beers and ciders may cost double tokens. Patrons receive an extra token with a validated Tri-Met ticket or a ticket from the Hopworks Bike Corral (one discount per person).
The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. A kids area offers art activities, face painting and a root beer garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors (and designated drivers).
The NAOBF is known as the most earth-friendly beer festival on the planet. Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch cups made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company; volunteers receive organic cotton t-shirts ; food vendors are required to employ sustainable practices; and onsite recycling stations are provided for festival waste.
The NAOBF encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail; the Yellow Line Overlook Park Station is adjacent to the festival. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Bike Corral, where volunteers watch over bikes for free (donations are appreciated and support the BC to Baja Bicycle Odyssey).