Resource conservation has become hugely important in recent years, and these movements can be found all over the nation. However, Oregon is one of the most conservation-minded states in the country as well as being a hotbed for craft brewing. It’s really no surprise that craft brewing and conservation have joined hands here with the release of Conservation Ale.
Conservation Ale is a limited release only and is billed as, “a good beer for a good cause.” To create the brew, Ninkasi Brewing joined forces with the Eugene Water and Electric Board as well as with the McKenzie River Trust. The Board is celebrating 100 years of service and sales of the brew will go toward protecting the condition and safety of the rivers in western Oregon. All profits generated by sales of the beer will go directly to the Trust which protects the only source of drinking water in the area – the McKenzie River as well as other rivers in the area.
Ninkasi Brewery originally partnered with the Eugene Water and Electric Board but decided that the proceeds should go to the Trust rather than being for-profit. The McKenzie River supplies not only the drinking water for the area but also the water used in Ninkasi’s brewing process, so it was certainly more than a nod toward environmentalism. It’s a move designed to help protect one of the brewery’s (and the area’s) most important resources. Even the circular logo on the bottle depicts the interrelationship between the brewery, the Trust and the Board.
The Trust was formed in 1989 in response to increasing threats to the area’s water quality, wildlife habitats and the western Oregon’s scenic natural areas. Since that time, the Trust has done an enormous amount to ensure that water quality remains extremely high, while simultaneously keeping the river system and wildlife safe from pollution, overdevelopment and many other concerns. Originally, the Trust only operated in the McKenzie Basin but has expanded its operation into many other areas, notably the Long Tom, Siuslaw and Umpqua systems.
Conservation Ale is a “golden ale” – a Belgian style brew with 5% ABV. Currently, the beer is available at local bars and restaurants as well as through a handful of retail outlets. However, Ninkasi expects the beer to sell out pretty quickly so you should buy yours soon if you want to enjoy this limited production and contribute to a great cause.