Updated: Mar 31, 2020
As we progress into a new age of sustainability, one of the areas that I feel is being overlooked is the alcohol industry, perhaps for obvious reasons.
From a personal viewpoint I’ve made a conscious effort over the last year to cut down my meat consumption, buy local seasonal produce where possible and car share with my Drunken Jockeys colleagues. When I go down the pub after a long week, however, my environmental barometer goes out the window. I’m not thinking about tonnes of carbon, spent grain or water waste - I just want to unwind, relax and enjoy a few pints.
The hidden truth is the brewing process for beer is extremely energy intensive, requires a large supply of fresh water and has a huge by-product of spent grain which is often wasted. We stumbled across an innovative brewery in our own backyard trying to rectify all of this whilst making a top notch pint.
A few months ago we paid a visit to Good Things Brewing, I didn’t know what to expect when we all bundled into Zack’s Land Rover but soon we were in the rolling Kentish countryside. After a few wrong turns we pulled into an old farm with a large rabble of ducks and chickens running riot (Zack’s worst nightmare due to his phobia of birds.) We later found out someone had left the door to the store open, and they were thieving the grain.
We were quickly greeted by Chris, the founder of the operation, who took us on a fantastic brewery tour and showed us how he was leading the way in sustainability for other breweries.
Good Things Brewing is competing to be the most sustainable brewery in the world - something you wouldn’t believe given the humble setting of a Kent farm. Their output is still relatively small compared to the huge industry giants out there, but what they’ve managed to achieve is unbelievable.
They are the worlds first closed loop brewery and generate all their own energy and water. On the field to the back of the farm there are rows and rows of solar panels, planted like strange lines of a new-age crop. They bore their own water from a well below the farm, meaning they don't generate the huge transport emissions from shipping it in.
Another by-product of the brewing process is the spent grain created at the first stage of brewing. Most of this will go straight to waste or feed cattle, however moving wet grain up and down the country has a huge carbon emission impact. Good Things Brewing has invented their own grain dehydrator which is powered from their solar farm. Once dried, Chris showed us his mill (affectionally named Heidi Green) where they produce flour which is used in local bakeries and pizzerias. You can read more about it here.
Credit to Chris and his team for this amazing operation, but ultimately it's all for nothing if their beer isn't up to par with their high ethical standards... fortunately for us (and for you!) their beer is absolutely delicious.
Before we get started on the actual beer, we were all in agreement that their cans were gorgeous. Each beer had its own theme, and the printed matte label feels great in the hand and is a refreshing change from the smooth aluminium style of pretty much all other brands.
Out of the range we sampled their Pilsner, Pale and IPA, all with a characteristically clean and balanced taste. Out of the three my favourite was the Pale, closely followed by the Pilsner. The Pale is fantastic for me, light with a floral aroma and only being 4% it’s a great session beer. I was lucky enough to try a sample batch of Imperial Stout which was around 14%... I’m glad I wasn’t driving.
With Good Things Brewing leading the way with sustainability in the beer industry, I look forward to seeing other breweries following suit. Once we all recover from the nightmare of KOVID-19 please try this beer in a local pub if available.
Obviously it's a difficult time right now for the brewery and they need our support more than ever. Even though we're not going out you can still enjoy a beer in the comfort of your own home. It's so important to buy small and local at the moment, big internationals will survive anyway but some of these smaller companies might not be so lucky! It's hard-up for most of us but if you can spare 10/20 quid it's a very worthwhile cause.
You can order some cans from their website link here. Use code: GTB-PALS at checkout when buying 12 beers or more for 25% OFF and Free Delivery! Trust us you won't be disappointed!
Photos by Burchill Photography