Barnaby and his team are friends of ours – they make their organic craft lagers in the old stable block on the Riverford Dairy farm in South Devon, and their spent grain goes to the cows!
The team are passionate about producing outstanding craft beers as sustainably as possible. Everything about their operation has been carefully considered for its environmental impact – including the very building they work in. Their bespoke brewhouse was built using innovatively adapted, reclaimed equipment and materials (mostly from other breweries and dairies).
They are Soil Association certified, using the best organic malt and hops, and propagating their own live yeast. They don’t use any animal products to fine their beers, as they are conditioned over time and then cold filtered, resulting in drinks that everyone can enjoy. All in all, Barnaby’s Brewhouse were very deserving winners of Taste of the West’s Environmental Sustainability Award 2019. We’ve had a connection to Barnaby’s for years, starting from when they used to brew small batches of ‘foraged’ beer for our farm restaurant, The Riverford Field Kitchen. Their spent grain goes to the dairy cows (it helps to reduce methane emissions), and their used hops are composted and used as fertiliser on the experimental crops in our Field Kitchen Polytunnel.
Their water comes from a natural spring that rises on our own organic farmland. It’s chemical free and very soft, making it perfect for brewing delicately flavoured lagers.
We’ve enjoyed lots of Barnaby’s beers. Particularly close to our hearts is the green tomato saison: after a grey and gloomy summer a few years ago, we ended up with a glut of green tomatoes that just wouldn’t ripen. Struggling to find a use for them, we worried they would go to waste – but while visiting Barnaby and the team, we jokingly asked if they could use any green tomatoes in a brew?
Much to our surprise, they rose to the challenge, and came up with a recipe for a green tomato saison (a Belgian farmhouse style of beer, traditionally made with spices and botanicals). It’s certainly the first of its kind in the UK, and we no longer fret about a surplus of green tomatoes, knowing it means another small batch of saison can be brewed.
We’re not the only ones who love Barnaby’s Brewhouse; their brilliant (and brilliantly sustainable) organic drinks have won several local foodie prizes, including gold awards from Taste of the West and Food & Drink Devon.