With an organic initiative taking over the Valley’s soil and food market, we wondered, “What can we pair with our GMO-free grub?” There’s only one choice, according to Gabriel Heymann, the founder of New York’s first organic beer company, Smart Beer — and it’s based in the Hudson Valley’s own New Paltz.
Though still in its infancy, Smart Beer is quickly generating interest with health-conscious beer-lovers with its GMO-free, farm-to-bottle forthrightness. There are currently two brews in the budding company’s simplistic canon — both devoid of chemicals, made with certified-organic hops and grains. For now, take your pick between the crisp, refreshing Organic Golden Ale, infused with orange peel and licorice root undertones, and the hoppy yet balanced Organic IPA. New seasonal flavors are set to debut in coming months.
â€‹Heymann is a Brooklynite who splits his time in the city with Smart Beer’s Hudson Valley headquarters. Previously a touring musician in Los Angeles, he was paid in bar tabs and beer, eventually taking up a healthier alternate lifestyle. After learning about the use of GMOs and fish bladder in conventional beers — which aren’t legally required to be labeled on the bottle — he became disenchanted with the industry and set out to learn everything he could about brewing to realize his vision from the ground up. So Heymann decided to move back to New York and create an organic beer that allows one to maintain a healthy lifestyle and still enjoy a night out with friends. “A healthy lifestyle means balance,” he says. “And a healthy lifestyle should never exclude a little celebration.”
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Heymann recognizes both the growing popularity of organics in the health market and the potential this has for new organic beer companies to throw their hats into the ring. But despite the potential for new competition, Heymann says his ultimate goal is to raise awareness about organics, so if any other brands decide to rise to the challenge, he’s psyched. “By buying organic beer, you’re voting for more organic farmers with your dollars, which is better for the environment,” he said. “People want to buy products they believe in.”
And with the growing trend, Smart Beer’s gold-and-white bottles are popping up across the country. They recently debuted in New Jersey and California, but you can find them here, at any of these local retailers.