For craft beer lovers, the thrill of discovering a new label is like Christmas Day. But much like realising that Santa is a lie, uncovering how that beer was produced puts a bit of a chill on the revelry.
At an approximate input-output ratio of five pints of water to one pint of beer, the brewing process is pretty resource-intensive. However some craft breweries across the UK are beginning to use more natural, sustainable methods so they can reduce their carbon footprint and conserve water.
The Good Pub Guide’s 2013 Best Brewery of the Year, Otter Brewery in Devon, is known for more than just its award-winning ales. Recognised in 2011 by the Society of Independent Brewers as the UK’s most sustainable brewer, Otter is a leader in green production methods.
Brewing Green Beer
The key lies in harnessing the natural resources of the area. Starting with the River Otter, from which the brewery draws both its water and its name. Following the brewing process, waste water is recycled back into a series of ponds surrounded by willows. Here, roots filter out impurities.
Meanwhile, leftover malting barley from the mashing process is delivered to a nearby farm for cattle and pig feed. Spent hops become fertiliser for local gardens and nurseries. Otter keeps energy costs and carbon emissions low with a state-of-the-art cellar equipped with an insulating sedum roof. Made of living vegetation it captures rainwater for washing barrels and equipment. They’ve also built the UK’s first modern underground eco-cellar, meaning there’s no need for a costly electric chilling system.
For the eco-conscious craft beer lover, Otter Brewery offers a range of staple ales as well as seasonal specials. Available at national supermarkets and local retail outlets in the Devon area. If you’re not down that way, UK delivery can be arranged through Devon Hampers.