It’s a green beer for a good cause.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated September 18, 2018
Credit: Craig Kerr

For most breweries, serving up a green-tinged beer with a resemblance to pond scum would be the kind of mistake they might want to hide. But for Toledo, Ohio’s Maumee Bay Brewing Company, green beer has become a new tradition—not to honor St. Patrick’s Day, as green beers typically do, but to raise awareness of algae blooms and other potential potable water issues. They’re certainly not the first brewery to produce a beer to acknowledge the importance of water. Still, the oddly named and colored brew has garnered plenty of national attention.

Last November, Maumee Bay Brewing took the unusual step of releasing an algae-inspired beer called Alegae Bloom (putting the “ale” in algae)—a kettle-soured double IPA imbued with a green hue thanks to the addition of matcha powder and fresh kiwi. The strange beer was intended as a reminder of a 2014 incident where the entire city of Toledo had its water deemed undrinkable for days thanks to toxins produced by an algae bloom in Lake Erie.

“One of our local beer friends and aficionados, Nicholas Mandros, works for the Ohio Environmental Council and we’ve wanted to do a project together to raise awareness of the importance of water in brewing,” Shannon Mohr, Maumee Bay Brewing’s sales and marketing manager, told at the time.

Credit: Craig Kerr

The first run of Alegae Bloom was apparently successful enough, because last month, the brewery brought the murky beer back again, this time selling it in cans around the state. The Associated Press even picked up on this latest release and used the “ghastly-looking” beer (as they called it) as a lead-in to discussing the impact America’s water supply has on the craft brewing industry.

Meanwhile, Maumee Bay Brewing manager Craig Kerr says algae is still a regular problem around Lake Erie. “We’re going to keep doing this until the algae bloom isn’t there anymore,” he told the AP before adding, “The goal is to never make this beer again.” Apparently, a portion of the profits from Alegae Bloom goes to the Ohio Environment Council to hopefully help them one day reach that dream.