In the beginning…
Hawkshead Brewery was founded, by Alex Brodie, in July 2002, in a 17th century barn at Town End Farm,at the head of Esthwaite Water, just outside Hawkshead, on a second hand 7 barrel brew plant which came from the Border Brewery at Berwick-upon-Tweed (now Hadrian Border Brewery in Newcastle). The first four Hawkshead beers - Bitter, Red, Lakeland Gold and Brodie's Prime were developed at Town End.
The brewery grew so fast that in 2006 we had to move across the lake (Windermere, that is) to Staveley, at the foot of the Kentmere Valley.
The move to Staveley…
Hawkshead Brewery is now in Mill Yard, Staveley, beside the River Kent, where we installed a new brewery, tailor-made by Moeschle (UK) Ltd. In 2010 we further expanded into the glass fronted building next door increasing brewing capacity and developing The Beer Hall. This involved installing two 11,500 litre stainless steel dual purpose vessels (for fermenting & conditioning) which rise up through the first floor and building a new bar, cellar, temperature controlled specialist beer shop and opening a kitchen.
Find out more about The Beer Hall here.
The brewery's "brew length," the quantity that can be produced per brew, is 20 barrels, a brewer's barrel being 36 gallons. Seven fermenting vessels give us the capacity to produce 180 barrels of beer per week. At Hawkshead our capacity was 30 barrels.
Despite no longer being in Hawkshead it is still one of the best places to get our beer. Cask beer is in 2 of the 4 pubs in the village and in Near Sawrey at the other end of Esthwaite Water. Our bottled beers are on sale at Hawkshead Relish in Hawkshead.
A bit about the brewery’s founder, Alex Brodie…
Hawkshead Brewery has only been going a number of years,but Alex Brodie who owns it, reckons he has been in the beer business, man and boy, for 40 years - as a dedicated propper-up of bars. His selfless research has been conducted not just in Britain but around the world, during his career as a foreign correspondent.
He grew up in East Yorkshire in the 1960's drinking John Smith's cask bitter.... until the day keg-crazy marketeers stripped out the hand pulls. He drank Morrells at university, and served fizzy beer in London bars in the early 70's, whilst seeking out Courage Directors.
He joyfully imbibed King and Barnes, Shepherd Neame and Harveys, in Kent, where, in 1973, he joined CAMRA. In the Midlands, theDavenports wagon delivered "beer at home."In Cardiff, even late night bars served Brains S.A. The flat inWandsworth didn't have a sitting room - that was round the corner in theYoungs brewery tap, and in South West London, Manuel's Wych Elm kept a great pint of Fullers' Chiswick.
In Iran, it was Heineken from a tea pot. In Pakistan, he had to register as a Christian to get beer from the Murree Brewery. In Mexico City, Dos Equis hit the spot. TheUSA, meant Sam Adams Boston Lager. And when home in the UK in The Lake District, fell walks would be contrived to end with pints (impossible to drink just one) of session Bitter from Cumbria's first micro,Yates.