When genetically altered foods began to enter the market, Els Cooperrider, a firm believer in sustainable agriculture, thought, “We have gone too far.” She and her husband, Allen, both biologists, decided that the restaurant they were planning to open in Ukiah, Calif., would be entirely organic. So the Ukiah Brewing Company & Restaurant became the nation’s first brewpub (and only the second restaurant) to be certified organic. (The first organic eatery is Nora’s in Washington, D.C.)
“This is no holier-than-thou establishment,” says seasoned chef Tom Altreuter. “We indulge one’s desire to eat.” The menu reflects the eclectic American taste for everything from pasta and burgers to wild salmon and Thai curries. The corned beef, made without nitrites, is cured in-house. “We never have to sacrifice quality,” Altreuter says, “because organic tastes better.”
Some 12 ales and lagers, including stout, porter; and Indian pale ale, are brewed with organic barley by the Cooperriders’ son, Bret. Wine drinkers find organic and locally grown selections from vintners like Fetzer and Yorkville. On weekends, live music from performers such as Burning Spear, Lorin Rowan, or David Nelson fills the brick interior (which boasts a bar from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel and a floor of sustainably harvested tan oak). “Locals,” Altreuter says, “are proud that the first organic brewpub is in Ukiah, not San Francisco.” Information: (707) 468-5898, www.ukiahbrewingco.com.