This is the second in my series Focus On: Organic Beer. We review Bath Ales Wild Hare. This beer has the distinction of making it into 1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die. Why brew an organic ale, some may wonder, well according to the Bath Ales founder, Roger Jones, “few brewers have the appetite to brew a certified organic beer – so it’s a basic point of difference” (Tierney-Jones, 2010 p. 545).
This beer is made using organic Maris Otter Pale malts and organic First Gold hops from Kent. It carries a SOIL Association stamp of approval.
On the pour it was a golden, straw colour with a slighty cloudy body and frothy head. The nose was mild with a bit of citrus. The taste followed the nose, with citrus notes, slightly bitter and a dry lingering finish. Overall, very drinkable and a great compliment to a picnic akin to another organic beer reviewed, Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Ale.
The brewery has even jokingly blogged about getting a Bath airport named after it – the Bath Wild Hareport.
Proudly independent and creating craft beers since 1995, Bath Ales is situated between Bath and Bristol in the southwest of England. They create beers, “brewed for those who know… And those who don’t”. I appreciate their stated approach of brewing beer to be appreciated on both sides of the beer aisle, for those just coming into craft beers and for those who consider themselves a bit more schooled.
Like other breweries (Adnams for example) with an eye for recycling their waste, Bath Ales send their spent grains to be used as feed for livestock. The spent hops and yeast are turned into fertiliser. In the case of the Wild Hare, the grains go to feed organic cattle. Perhaps, there are opportunities like this for other breweries looking to break into the organic beer market. Organic beef sales held strong while the overall market in the UK took a slight fall, as per details below.
Notes on the organic market:
1) The global organic market was estimated at £38.8 billion in 2011 with sales growing by 8%. Despite this overall trend, UK sales fell by 3.7% , while box schemes, home delivery and mail order increased by 7.2% to £161 million.
2) Eight out of ten households in the UK purchased an organic product in 2011. In fact, the average consumer purchased 13 organic products last year.
3) Globally, there are 37 million hectares of land now farmed organically. That’s about the size of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Ohio together – all as organic farmland. Or just shy of 3 times the size of England or 1.5 times the size of the UK.
(source SOIL Association Market Report 2012)