Despite the fact that blue was the color originally associated with St Patrick, everything turns green on St Patrick’s Day, especially the beer.

But what many people don’t realize is that for many craft breweries around the world,  ‘green’ beer is actually the norm.

The beer might not look green but it’s definitely a much more eco-friendly brew than the mostly light-bodied pilsners and ales that have been dyed green in celebration of St Patrick’s Day

Determined minimize their carbon footprint through the concept of reduce, re-use, and recycle, these 5 lesser known craft breweries produce the real deal green beer.

The Alaskan Brewing Co

While most green breweries rely on solar, wind, or water power, this Juneau-based brewery, best known for its Alaskan Amber, burns off its spent grain, turning it into the steam that powers the brewery’s operations.

Brooklyn Brewery

Located in a former matzo ball factory, the Brooklyn Brewery draws all of its energy from renewable resources, becoming the first company in New York City to do so through 100 percent wind-generated electricity.

Cascade Brewery

Located in Tasmania, Cascade Brewery is not only Australia’s oldest operating brewery but also one of its green-ist, with their Cascade Pure All Malt Lager being100 percent carbon neutral.

Green Man Brewery

New Zealand’s Green Man Brewery not only uses organic ingredients in line with the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516 but also reuses their bottles. That’s right – used beer bottles are collected, washed and sanitized, and then re-filled with a fresh brew.

Steam Whistle Brewing

Using a ‘closed loop’ system of recycling, this Toronto based brewery sources local natural ingredients, powers up with wind and low-impact hydro generators, and uses bottles made from nearly 100 percent recycled materials, and ships its ‘spent grain’ to farmers for animal feed.

All of these breweries offer tours and tastings, so if you happen to be in the neighborhood, why not stop by for a green brew or two.

(image by gluemoon via flickr)