Buzzards Bay Brewing, a family-owned brewery based in the heart of a southeastern Massachusetts farming community, is up to something. They’re using a portion of their 140 acre farm to grow hops (not to mention barley and pumpkins) for their ales and lagers. Cynics might call it a marketing move in the age of green business popularity. Optimists may think it’s an attempt to restore the region to its state of former glory (dating back to the 1800s) as growers of the finest hops in the world. But the truth is, the family behind the operation is simply committed to using local ingredients in an environmentally sustainable way, all while neutralizing their carbon footprint.
In 1998 the Russell family set up their first farm brewhouse. They began brewing ale, as it’s typically less expensive than brewing lager, which must be refrigerated for especially lengthy periods of time, consuming energy and valuable brewery space. But in 2000 they began producing lager beer alongside English style ales. The Russells brew, bottle, and package all of their microbrews at their farm brewery. Their aim is to use beer as the financial engine to help preserve and maintain over 500 acres of open space, working farmland and forest. Over 90% of their raw materials are American, with only the finishing hops grown overseas, as they attempt to source all of their raw materials close to home, helping strengthen the local economy and keep jobs in their own locale.
Breweries use a tremendous amount of energy, and by their very nature (i.e. fermentation) give off carbon dioxide. But amazingly, Buzzards Bay Brewing, using thousands of Carbon Sequestration Devices, removes all the carbon dioxide they produce through fermentation, going beyond that to also wipe out the CO2 used in shipping and processing. They’re actually storing more CO2 than they produce, making them truly carbon-negative. And, they’re on their way to being completely off the grid.
Not only are they experts in the realm of energy conservation and green business practices, and beer brewing, they're also acclaimed grape-growers and vintners. Buzzards Bay Brewing's sister vineyard and winery, Westport Rivers Winery, is well-known throughout Massachusetts.
We haven't met a brew of theirs yet that we didn't rate highly. If you can get your hands on anything from this excellent northeastern farm-brewery—buy it! They've got a great repertoire of quality beers.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (508) 636-2288 or check out their web site at www.buzzardsbrew.com.