Proudly We Ale
A Maine-based brewer lets drinkers toast St. Paddy with a different kind of green beer.
Two years ago, a 28-year-old eco-entrepreneur and beer lover named Jon Cadoux turned a home brewing habit into a company. Now, his Portland-based Peak Organic produces three ales using only chemical- and pesticide-free ingredients. “We aim to go beyond organic and really focus on local,” says Cadoux, whose beer is poured at restaurants like Hamersley’s Bistro and KO Prime in Boston and Gramercy Tavern in New York. This month the lineup expands to include Maple Oat Ale, made from organic Maine oats and Vermont maple syrup. Says Cadoux, “We’re looking at it as a celebration of New England.”
Maple Oat Ale
The oats come from GrandyOats in Maine, the syrup from Vermont’s Butternut Mountain Farm. Peak Organic is also donating part of the profits from Maple Oat Ale to Chefs Collaborative, a Boston-based organization dedicated to sustainable food. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to cut down on the number of miles our ingredients have to travel?’” Cadoux says.
Tasting notes: Maple on the nose mellows into a subtle sweetness; the oats give it a creamy, full body.
Because he brews at a shared facility, Cadoux keeps the organic Munich and crystal malts used in this ale separate from those of his neighbor, Shipyard Brewing. He’s devising a plan to donate his leftover mash to organic mushroom farmers in Vermont—and if it weren’t prohibitively expensive, he says, his packaging would be 100 percent post-consumer. Tasting notes: Crisp and lively; the flavor is sweet and toasty, with a strong malty character.
Nut Brown Ale
Cadoux had to encourage his sources—small family farms—to secure organic certification, which can cost several thousand dollars. For his Nut Brown, he uses the warm-climate New Zealand Hallertau hops, but is eager to find local suppliers (a farmer in Maine is working on a variety that thrives in cold weather). Tasting notes: A smoky caramel aroma; the body is crisp, dry, and slightly nutty.
The beer that started it all. Cadoux began home brewing 10 years ago, and says this ale took the first eight to master. After earning an M.B.A. at Harvard (where he polished the Peak Organic business plan), he tailored the recipe for earth-friendly mass production—a plus, he says, for business, the environment, and even flavor. Cadoux considers it a cross between western-style pale ales and their milder British cousins.
Tasting notes: A hoppy, honeyed nose, with a hint of citrus and a smooth finish.