Sierra Nevada beerMy wife and I are big advocates of living locally. While that sounds like an obvious statement, it means, like many who feel as we do about the impact we’re having on our planet, that we try to purchase items locally and consume products that are created locally. For us living here in Jackson Hole, that can often be more difficult than one would think. As the great article in last week’s News&Guide pointed out, nearly everything (and I mean everything) we consume here in this isolated valley needs to be shipped in—usually by truck.

We do our best to buy locally grown vegetables in summer and locally raised beef (for me and the kids—the wife’s vegetarian, which means most of the time we are, too) when we can. We even eschew the practice some here in Jackson have of driving to Idaho Falls to shop for clothes, building materials or even food (with three grocery stores here, I have a hard time with that one).

But one of my greatest weaknesses is beer. I love beer.

Mostly I drink micro-brewed beer, and sometimes I even brew my own. Being originally from the Northwest, I have a weakness for that region’s micro-brews. I prefer brews from Deschutes Brewery, and Bridgeport when I can find it. But I also like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale—arguably one of the best beers around.

Recently my wife told me I should really give up the “imported” micro-brews and support our local brewery. After all, Snake River Brewing is one of the best small breweries around, they make their beer right here in Jackson, and we’re supporting many people we know who work their. Makes sense to me.

But the news today that Sierra Nevada is about to install a 1.4 megawatt solar array at its Chico, California, brewery, estimated to supply 34% of the brewery’s power, makes me want to re-think the latest plan to buy locally. The news prompted me to check out their site, where I learned they’re committed to a whole host of environmentally friendly practices. Makes me want to re-think not buying beer from out of town, but my guess is they still rely on regular fossil fuels to transport their beer (after all, it’s probably not up to them, but rather their distributor).

So, if you don’t have a local brewery to rely upon (which is the way it used to be in the good old days and should still be today), I suggest you look to a smart eco-brewery like Sierra Nevada.