Special for The Willits News
Mendocino County, home to the first organic brewpub, and the nation’s first prohibition on genetically modified organisms, is now producing the nation’s first organic beer in a can.
Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant officially released Pilsner Ukiah in cans on January 21 at the restaurant. Pilsner Ukiah is an organic lager and will be packaged in six-packs of 12-ounce cans.
Why put beer in a can? “Aluminum is the most recycled material,” said Brewmaster Bret Cooperrider. “It makes sense to put our beer in the world’s most popular, portable, environmentally friendly package,” he said. “Also unlike bottles, cans eliminate light damage and oxidation to our beer.”
Distributors are already calling, hoping to carry the hand-canned Pilsner Ukiah. “The way it looks now, we don’t anticipate any problem finding distribution channels,” Bret said. “If anything, we might have problems keeping up with demand.”
Owned and operated by the Cooperrider family since 1999, the Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant is the nation’s first all-organic brewpub and restaurant. The restaurant also served as the political headquarters for the campaign that made Mendocino County the first county in the nation to prohibit the growing of genetically modified organisms.
At the brewpub, all ingredients used in the restaurant and brewery must be grown and produced on certified organic farms without the use of artificial or toxic chemicals. A long list of pesticides, food additives and artificial preservatives is prohibited.
Pilsner Ukiah is an unfiltered, deep gold lager with bold malt and hop flavor packing a 5.4 percent alcohol content by volume. Pilsner is a beer style that gets its name from Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, where the style was concocted by brewers more than 500 years ago.
Pilsners are a lager, meaning the beer is made by bottom-fermenting yeast (an ale is a beer made from top-fermenting yeast).
“Since it’s unfiltered, Pilsner Ukiah beer has the added advantage of having live yeast in the can, which adds time to its shelf life naturally,” Bret said.
Ukiah Brewing Co. & Restaurant is located at 102 South State Street in Ukiah, just off Highway 101. Meals and brews are served seven days a week.