This year, the Anchor’s Organic Beer Festival is showcasing an even wider range of drinks, including cider, perry and wines, as well as the usual ales and Birmingham Friends of the Earth serving up tasty barbecued organic burgers from local suppliers on the Friday.
The beer festival calendar first welcomed this celebration of eco-friendly drinks in 2000 at the trend-setting Anchor, on Rea Street, Digbeth, but now the annual event is firmly established as a favourite summer event.
Organic meat and vegetarian burgers from Rossiter’s Family Butchers in Selly Oak will be on offer in the pub’s beer garden with rolls and buns supplied once again by local community baker and food guru Tom Baker.
As well as being a chance to sample some delicious food and drink from high quality suppliers, the festival also provides a chance to promote planet-friendly farming practices. With the threat of more industrial-scale intensive farming practices being brought to the UK, punters can be sure that the food and drink served here will not be produced in a way that is damaging the environment.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth Campaigns Coordinator Roxanne Green, said, “We need a food system that creates a good livelihood for UK farmers, producers and local shops but that doesn’t damage the environment. Organic practices have been show to build up soil fertility and lock up soil carbon – providing benefits both to the climate and local wildlife.”
The Anchor’s Gerry Keane explained, ” This festival is now in its 12th year, which goes to show how popular it has become with our customers. In spite of the recession, people are still prepared to seek out organic items, they can be a little more expensive, but I think you can taste the difference and the quality. We are really happy to be associated with the local branch of Friends of the Earth , and have their help providing the organic BBQ”
So why drink organic beer?
If you look at the average pint of beer served up in the UK, it’s not so perfect. The hops used in the fermentation of beer are estimated to be sprayed up to 14 times each year with around 15 different pesticide products. In addition to this, countless additives are added to create the ‘perfect pint’, ensuring that it has a nice colour and flavour, a decent head and a profitable shelf life.
A big problem with this is that according to European legislation these additives, along with the other ingredients, do not need to be declared on the label unless the drink contains less 1.2% alcohol. Basically your pint has been chemically altered and you don’t know what you’re drinking.
In contrast, organic beer is made in small batches from only organically grown barley, malt, wheat, hops, yeast and spring water. There are neither additives nor genetically-modified ingredients; everything grows as nature intended, giving a purer, more wholesome taste.
So please come and support Birmingham Friends of the Earth on the 8th July for the Organic Barbecue and the Organic Beer Festival will run from 7th – 12th July.