Tarka Pure Lager, made by Otter Brewery, in Devon, has won gold in the premium lager and Pilsner class at SIBA’s National Independent Beer Awards.

Made in the North Germanic Pilsner style, Tarka is a natural product brewed in the Blackdown Hills with just four ingredients: Devon spring water, hops, barley and yeast.

Launched in 2015, it was specifically designed by head brewer, Keith Bennett, to appeal to the discerning lager drinker as a quality and local alternative to international brands on bars across the South West.

SIBA chairman, Buster Grant, said: “Judges had a tough job separating the pack as the standard was extremely high once again. The winners from the SIBA competition are officially the best independent craft beers in the UK,
something brewers should be extremely proud of.”

The spring water that is already tapped from the head springs of the River Otter the brewery’s cask ales is perfect for a lager and conforms precisely with the Rheinheitsgebot (German purity law). The waste products, predominantly water, are treated without chemicals in the brewery’s on-site willow bed effluent system.

Quality alternative

Otter Brewery owner, Patrick McCaig, said: “What an achievement! I’ve a feeling this is just the beginning for Tarka as a brand. By combining the best European brewing traditions with our own 28 years of expertise, we’ve demonstrated that a local and quality alternative to the well-established larger European brands can succeed.

“We intend to stay at the forefront of responding to what drinkers want, and it’s all the more exciting because Tarka has real provenance and a story rooted in the landscape around it. It proves consumers want to drink
something locally made if they can.”

The award comes just as the brewery releases a 4% ABV version of the lager designed for pubs, clubs, music venues and other social venues. Tarka Four is the South West’s first locally made session lager and extends the
company’s commitment to supporting local landlords by offering them high-quality drinks brands that are rich in provenance.

Head brewer Keith said: “Tarka is a rural take on a very urban product and an exciting new chapter in our own development as a regional brewery. Now, depending on the occasion, drinkers have the option of a locally-made
lager in two different strengths. The same ethical and environmental values that we founded Otter on underpin both.”

Tarka will feature prominently at the upcoming Exeter Festival of Food and Drink (May 5-7), where the brewery will be sponsoring the Beats & Eats music festival.


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