'Green beer' from Britain's eco breweries
Added: Thursday, September 10th 2015
A growing number of British brewers are taking action to support the environment, the 2016 edition of the Good Beer Guide reports. The annual guide, published today (10 September) by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, lists breweries throughout the country that are making a contribution to reducing carbon footprints by recycling ingredients and using solar energy.
Editor Roger Protz says: “This is encouraging news. Brewers take the finest raw materials from the land in the form of grain, hops and water and now a growing number are ‘putting something back’ by recycling.
“In a number of cases, used grain and hops are sent to farms as animal feed while power for brewing is supplied by solar panels and biomass boilers, while water is cleaned and re-used.
Purity Brewing was named Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year in August. The brewhouse is seen above with brewer Florent Vialan. The brewery is based at Upper Spernel Farm at Great Alne in Warwickshire and as well as used grain and hops being supplied to the farm as animal feed, an innovative eco-filtering system using reed beds has also been introduced
In the first bed, the water is a dirty brown, but as it moves through the beds it is naturally filtered and algae starts to form, in subsequent beds plants start to grow and then in the final bed the water is crystal clear and ducks and moor hens are seen swimming -- clean water from the bed is then returned to the brewery and recycled.
Roger Protz comments: “Paul Halsey, the founder of Purity, says he brews with a conscience. I salute him and all the other ‘eco brewers’ who are helping the environment by reducing the need for fossil fuels.
“But it’s not just new craft breweries that are aiding the environment. Adnams, the large family-owned brewery in Southwold, Suffolk – whose beers are sold nationally – has been a pacesetter.”
Adnams’ new brewhouse in Southwold is low carbon and uses 58% less gas than the equipment it replaced. All the steam created during the brewing process is recycled and spent grain and hops go to local farms for cattle and pigs.
The walls are built of compressed hemp rather than concrete which helps to maintain an even temperature inside, aided by heating powered by solar panels on the roof of the building, which is itself made of sedum, a succulent plant that acts as insulation. Rain water is even collected to be used in the washing of equipment and delivery vehicles.
“This is a trend we’re seeing across the country as more breweries consider the impact of their business on the environment. Another example in Devon is Otter Brewery, where willow beds, ponds and lagoons help to recycle water and again the roof is made of sedum, which insulates the cellar and captures rainwater for cask and vehicle washing. As well as that more than half the ground floor was built underground, helping to keep the cellar cool and doing away with the need for electric chilling systems,” Roger Protz adds.
Eco friendly brewers across the UK
Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk
Low carbon equipment, spent grain and hops go to local farms, compressed hemp construction, solar panels, roof is sedum (a succulent plant that acts as insulation), rain water collected to be used in the washing of equipment and delivery vehicles.
Ashleyhay, near Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Natural spring water, solar energy, hops grown on site.
Born in the Borders, Jedburgh, Borders, Scotland.
Barley grown on own farm, locally foraged ingredients.
Buntingford, Royston, Herts.
On-site well and reed bed on a conservation farm. Supports large variety of bird life including rare and endangered species.
Cwm Rhondda Ales, Rhondda Valley, Wales.
On a farm run by Jones family. Spring water, locally grown barley and hops. Waste goes to farm. Brewing heated by a biomass boiler that uses logs, pellets and chips, no fossil fuels.
Digfield, Barnwell, Northamptonshire.
Reed bed effluent system
Enville Ales, Enville, Stourbridge, West Midlands.
On a farm with reed and willow effluent plants. Uses bees to supply honey for Enville Ale using a 19th-century recipe from the founder’s great-great aunt.
Flash, Moss Top Farm, Flash, Staffs.
In the Peak District. Spring water, seaweed finings to clear beer (most brewers use fish finings), brick boiler, no electrics.
Goody, Herne, Kent.
Local hops, wood-burning boiler using wood from a copse, minimising non-renewable fuel.
Gun, Hawthbush Farm, Heathfield, East Sussex.
On a 140-acre organic farm. Generates most power from a 15kW solar array with heating from wood-powered boiler. Grain goes to feed livestock. Water from on-site spring.
Hobson’s, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire.
Wind turbine and sustainable technology.
Hop Fuzz, West Hythe, Kent.
Solar power recovers and re-uses heat. Grain and hops go to local animal park.
Lord Conrad’s, Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire.
Low energy system. Recycled materials and local ingredients.
Mill Green, Edwardstone, Suffolk.
Water heated by solar panels and wood-fired boiler. Wind turbine for power.
Otter, Honiton, Devon.
(As above). Willow beds, ponds and lagoons recycle water, sedum roof insulates the cellar and captures rainwater for cask and vehicle washing. More than half the ground floor built underground, helping to keep the cellar cool and doing away with the need for electric chilling systems.
(As above). Sustainable Manufacturer of the Year shows how far things have come for the industry. Used grain and hops being supplied to the farm as animal feed, innovative eco-filtering system using reed.
Stamps, Everton, Liverpool.
Power from 52 solar panels and biomass boiler. Grain goes to city farm. Rainwater captured for cleaning.
Stratford Upon Avon Brewery
On a farm alongside River Avon. Farm has solar power, wind turbines and bore hole. Beer delivered by electric van. “Blessings of your heart, you brew fine ale” – Shakespeare.
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Brewery on eco farm. Grain feeds animals. Plans to become carbon neutral by end of 2015.