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Drink up! Hop, hop hooray for organic beer.

HOP farmers in Britain are beginning to say cheers to the organic movement according to Roger Protz, founder member of the British Guild of BeerWriters. He has just producedThe Organic Beer Guide which takes a look at the `green' ale and cider varieties on offer around Europe and America.

There was just one organic beer in Britain in the early '90s and those who drank it were put firmly in the hippie and sandals brigade.

Now there are 59, all listed in the book with more in the pipeline.

The market has come out of a niche to boom along with demand for eco-friendly food and drink and this book reflects the rise and rise of this specialist area.

Golden Promise from the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, the first of its kind to be brewed during the last decade, has been joined by a whole string of individual, small-batch tipples. TheWelsh beer Blodeuwedd for example, launched in 2000, comes from the Bragdy Ceredigion Brewery set up in a converted barn. It is described as having a citrus hop and juicy malt aroma with peppery hops dominating the palate.

Organic Premium Ale with its mellow biscuity malt aroma and hint of vanilla is brewed exclusively for the Co-op, while Meridian Organic Lager has been developed solely for Sainsbury's.

The tasting notes reveal that it is an amber gold beer with an aroma of slightly toasted grain mingled with cornflour and tart hops and a touch of citrus fruit on the palate. The author singles out Safeway as having the best range of organic beer one of which is Organic Rye Beer, a dark grain bitter.

As well as the British collection, the book has sections on French, Belgian, German and American varieties.

The French for example, have 32 organic varieties including Blonde from Brasserie Moulin D'Ascq in the suburbs of Lille.

This bottled ale is dominated by the taste of spicy hops and tart fruit and after a fruity burst of flavour, has a dry and bitter finish.

The Organic Beer Guide by Roger Protz, Carlton Books, pounds 9.99.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 12, 2002
Words:349
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