Organic Phenomenon

Organic beers have become
increasingly popular among
consumers, with sales more than
doubling since 2004, according to
the Organic Trade Association.

Sales of organic beer grew 40
percent in the past six months,
which ties it with organic coffee as
the fastest-growing organic
beverage. Even Anheuser-Busch --
the nation's largest beer company
and maker of Budweiser products --
recently started producing two
brands of organic beers.

"The interest level in the past year
has grown so that we don't have to
pound on doors to sell our
product," says organic beer pioneer
Scott Burchell, national sales
manager of Butte Creek
Brewing Co. in Chico, Calif.

Though Anheuser-Busch's venture
into organic brewing indicates that
organic beers are marketable, some
organic producers have raised
concerns that the large corporation
could put pressure on the USDA to
lower the standards for organic
products, which currently require 95
percent of a product's ingredients to
be grown without chemicals or

Most fans of organic products
however had nothing but praise for
Anheuser-Busch.  Ronnie Cummins,
national director of the Organic
Consumers Association, says A-B's
entry into the organic market will
allow a broader audience to
experience organic products.

It is interesting to note however,
that A-B's two organic beers -- Wild
Hop and Stone Mill -- will not bear
the Budweiser name, but instead will
be labeled as from the "Green Valley
Brewing Co." and "Crooked Creek
Brewing Co."
Beer is Back!

Beer Tops Gallup Poll as America's Beverage of Choice

Data posted on the Gallup Poll's Web site indicate that once again, beer is America's
beverage of choice. Findings from Gallup's annual poll on Americans' alcohol and
drinking habits demonstrate adult consumer consumption of wine has decreased, while
consumption of beer has increased 5 percentage points from July 2005 to June 2006.

Of those Americans who drink alcohol, 41 percent most often drink beer. Beer is the
largest segment in the alcohol beverage category in both volume and dollar sales, and
accounts for nearly 60 percent of all alcohol beverage servings.
Feature News  from
   Grilling, Food, and Beer

"Craft beer  is perfect for summer grilling.  Some
types offers lots of caramel and roasted-grain flavors
that enhance the caramelized proteins of grilled
meats while others offer fruity tastes derrived from
yeasty esters that tend to offset the herbal flavors of
sauces and spices," according to grilling guru and
beer chef J.R. Attamante. "I also think the slightly
bitter edge of a well-hopped ale extends the heat
from chilies and hot spices."

Attamante recomends making beer-based
marinades  which allow the meat to become infused
with the beer's flavors as it is being tenderized.  
According to him, a good beer-based marinade
should incorporate some oil for moisture, beer for
flavor and acidity (for tenderization), a bit of
sweetener and aromatic and flavorful herbs and/or
fruit for flavor.

Vegetarians also can get in on the beer-and-grilling
act: Attamante touts asparagus, grilled in a light
marinade of olive oil and framboise as a perennial

As for drinking beer to enhance the tastes of grilled
meats Attamante recommends beers with a touch of
smoked malt. Style wise, he suggests smoked
porters, German rauchbiers and steinbier or "stone
beer" (because the brewer throws hot rocks into the
liquid to heat it up) for your next cook out.

"You might also try some ambers and brown ales to
pick up some of the sweet, carmelized flavors of
grilled meats and vegetables" he added.

"The malty, hoppy notes in beer are natural partners
to the caramel and spicy flavors of lots of barbecued
and grilled foods," Attamante said. "The carbonation
in beer adds another level of enjoyment. It is
quenching and refreshes the palate for the next bite."

You can use beer to complement textures as well as
flavors: A  slightly spicy witbier or a citrusy wheat
beer could be the perfect selection for a lightly
textured fillet of grilled fish while a silky-smooth stout
goes well with a grilled steak.   

"Have fun with beer," he concluded. "The key is to
experiment different 'flavor combos' until you find the
ones that rings true for you. "