First, though, the question is this - do I need organic beer in my life? Well, I know this: I need good beer in my life, organic or not, and I know very little about either organic beers or California beers. Sure, I have enjoyed Sierra Nevada, who hasn’t? My wife prefers organic stuff, like wine, veggies, milk etc, and there was a slick ad in one of her magazines for this Wild Hop Lager so we figured we would try it. Finger Lakes Beverage has it for $7.49 - same starting price as most of their micro-brews - and Butte Creek was next to it so I figured, try ‘em both. Let me give you tasting notes and impressions first, then that surprise twist.
The Wild Hop Lager was a very tasty beer, organic or not. It poured a deep reddish amber color with a nice foamy head. It didn’t taste or look much like an average lager, more like a nice English Ale, but the taste finished in what I can only call that "lager aftertaste." My wife and I liked this beer, she claiming it ripples over your tongue.
The Butte Creek was a whole other kettle of fish, of course, being an IPA. The ingredients include organic barley malt and organic hops. It poured yellow amber and cloudy with the biggest foamy head I have ever seen in my life. The foam was bitterish, but the ale itself was a tasty monster hopped IPA, very sharp, like Ithaca Brewing's Cascazilla, double hopped IPA. You can read the reviews on this brewer, although some folks found very little foam and head. And, no, I didn’t shake the bottle - it had been quiet in the fridge for a couple of days. I think an enjoyable winter project would be to work my way through the offerings these guys have.
OK, so a little research on the web here turns up very little from the Wild Hops site. As a matter of fact, in reading the label, the ingredients list organic barley malt, but where are the wild hops? And why aren’t those missing wild hops organic? Something is rotten here, and it turns out the slick marketing of "Green Valley Brewery" is actually Budweiser. OOOOhhhh! They got me!