The Beer Anderson Valley Crafted to Support Coastal Causes

Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s newest release — Coastal Ale — was brewed in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports and protects coastal and water-centric ecosystems.

AVBC is donating 5% of the gross profit from the sale of all packaged Coastal Ale to Surfrider, AVBC president Kevin McGee said.

A number of factors contributed to AVBC’s decision to make a beer for Surfrider. AVBC is the world’s first solar-powered brewery and sources all water used in the brewing process from the brewery’s 30-acre property. AVBC also operates its own water treatment system which allows it to process and return 100% of its waste water back to the brewery property. As water is the most important ingredient in beer, protecting Anderson Valley’s pristine water system has long been a major priority for AVBC.

“Contributing to causes is really an extension of a lot of the practices that the brewery has been doing since its inception,” McGee told Brewer Magazine. “As an illustration, sustainability has been central to the brewery throughout its 35 years – we’re the world’s first solar powered brewery and the brewery was literally built around a very forward looking closed-loop water system.

“From the brewery side, we think it’s important because it directly furthers causes and organizations we believe in and it helps drive some awareness by showing that we think this is important enough to put our money where our mouth is and hopefully encourage others to do the same. Contributions are great and super helpful to the organizations that receive them, but without ongoing and honest behavior that’s complimentary to the contribution it wouldn’t be that meaningful for a brewery’s’ identity.”

AVBC chose the Coastal Ale for the release because they wanted a beer that reflected an active and semiaquatic lifestyle.

“Surfrider pretty strongly brings to mind what happens when water meets land and all the different ways humans experience that frontier so we wanted a beer for that place and time,” McGee said. “For us, that starts with a moderate alcohol level — we targeted 4.5% ABV — and then we worked through the challenge of how to make a lower alcohol beverage full-flavored but still balanced. The goal was a “beer-flavored-beer” that had the same drinkability and weight as a Pilsner but with modern ale hop aromas and flavors.” 

The beer needed to be balanced between tasting light but having some fullness to it, McGee added.

“A small amount of wheat added to the grain bill added some body and character but kept it light and emphasizing aroma hops and dry hopping techniques over bittering additions got us to where we wanted to be,” McGee said. “If the beer doesn’t actually taste good nothing else matters so it was critical that the beer was compelling in its own right and our brewing team nailed it. I’m really proud of this beer and our team.”

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