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GTR Newspapers | Find Local Tulsa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Union, and Owasso News, Sports, and Entertainment:Microbrews: Delicious and Environmentally Friendly

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Greater Tulsa Reporter

HOPJAM: In May, downtown Tulsa’s Hopjam festival drew thousands and featured 15 local brewers such as Choc, Marshall, Dead Armadillo and Tulsa musicians-turned-brewers Hanson.

Tis the season for tailgating and Oktoberfest, all of which brings opportunities for having a beer with friends. So how can we turn sipping a cold brew into a more eco-friendly activity? Simple, buy local.
ECO-HomeThe trend of brewing small batches of tasty beer continues to boom across the globe, the nation and even across our landscape in Tulsa.  This summer, thousands of us enjoyed the free festival thrown by the Hanson Brothers to introduce, among others, their very own brew, MmmHops ( The fall brings with it Tulsa’s annual Linde Oktoberfest, Oct. 16-19 at River West Festival Park.
Events like these are a great way to get out and enjoy our vibrant Tulsa, and they’re a great way to discover that beer offers a tasting pallet you can develop and appreciate.
ECO-InterestI became more interested in our own local brewery scene after visiting native Tulsan Matt Vincent at his microbrewery in Durango, Colo. named Ska Brewing.  From repurposing a shipping container into a kitchen to incorporating recycling practices, a tour of Ska Brewery showed off a myriad of ways the company thinks about and responds to environmental concerns.  This got me to wondering about Oklahoma’s burgeoning micro brewery scene.  Are these practices common in the industry, or unique to Ska?  ECO-logyLucky for us, the practices I learned about at Ska are imitated in breweries here in Tulsa.
First, when we buy anything that’s created and sold all right here at home, we’ve just reduced gas emissions created whenever we haul stuff around.  As for actual brewery practices, a big eco-friendly move comes after the brewing process. After beer is brewed, there is a leftover mixture of grains that breweries like Prairie and Marshall (and Ska back in Colorado) pass on to local ranchers. This keeps the beer waste out of a landfill and upcycles it into high-protien food that cows love! 
Another example is in the trash. For example, Kristen McCormick of Shikoba Recycling created the recycling plan for Marshall Brewing Co., allowing her to recycle close to 90 percent of their non-food waste.  That’s 200-300 pounds of cardboard each month alone. 
Packaging is another area in which many breweries are making environmentally-friendly changes. Vincent says Ska sells up to three times more canned beer than bottled beer.  While a debate in the eco-community rages on about whether glass or aluminum packaging is healthier for the planet, what is true is that more people recycle aluminum cans than glass, and more recyclers accept aluminum over glass.  Vincent dismisses the notion that bottled beer tastes better. If you’re tasting aluminum in your beer, “You’re just not drinking good beer,” he says.
ECO-DeliciousA thanks goes to Tulsa Young Professionals, or TYPros’ Sustainability Team for shining a light on new brewer Prairie Artisan Ales, 183B S. 49th W. Ave in Tulsa.  TYPros Team member Eric Pollard says recent law changes now allow local brewers to offer more tasting opportunities.  If the beer is at or under the low-point standard of 3.2 you can walk away with a growler. What is a growler? Well, it’s an eco-friendly jug that you can have filled and re-filled with your freshly brewed favorite flavor of beer.  
ECO-nomicsWhen we buy local, the money we spend stays in our community. For example, Prairie Artisan Ales utilizes Tulsa water in their beer making. They pay their bills, and we create a win-win for a healthy economic ecosystem.  Plus, we create a wonderful spot within our community. Prairie is open to the public every Wednesday and Friday 4-7 p.m.  TYPros’ Pollard says that during the Sustainability Crew’s tour, how cool it was to watch a group of 25 bicyclists ride up, enjoy a drink, then ride on down the Riverside bike path.  “Tulsa has some amazing things happening. Watching the bikers ride in and out was just what we want for our city,” says Pollard.  “These brewers are good stewards, and they’re also bringing in tourism. People can come here and hit up two to three brewers, enjoy our downtown, our restaurants…we have a lot to offer and it’s just getting better.” 
Updated 08-28-2014
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