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  • Cumbrian Five Hop cask badge on handpull

    Cumbrian Five Hop won silver in the Golden Ales category at CBOB - Camra's Champion Beer of Britain competition held during GBBF at Olympia.

    So that's another big gong for Five Hop. It was already the reigning Champion Golden Ale of the North West and overall Champion Beer of the NW - that's how it got to the national final.

    It's a big flavoured, American style IPA, with 3 English and 2 American hop varieties and we are really pleased that the CAMRA judges appreciated such a thoroughly modern beer, which goes down well in the craft beer market. (It came second behind Oakham's Citra - a worthy winner & another highly hopped beer. )

    Also our Hawkshead Bitter was a CAMRA beer of the year, having made it to the final.

    We'll be brewing a bit more Cumbrian Five Hop than usual in the next few weeks. In addition the bottled version of Cumbrian Five Hop is currently on offer online and at The Beer Hall.

  • 15 August 2014

    NZPA Flies Home

    The exterior of The Malthouse in New Zealand
    Beervana promotional poster
    Cumbrian Five Hop on the bar in The Malthouse
    NZPA font with keg badge

    We’ve sent NZPA – our 6% New Zealand hopped pale ale back to New Zealand, for the locals to taste, test and hopefully approve, at a prestigious beer festival, down under.

    It’s a big risk for Head Brewer, Matt Clarke, who is a New Zealander. “I am actually very nervous about this,” he said. ” If NZPA arrives on the other side of the world in anything less than a perfect state, I’ll not live it down.”

    To try to spare Kiwi Matt getting a hard time from his home town, Wanganui, on North Island, the NZ importers, Beertique, agreed to send the draught beers by plane. The bottled beers are following, at a more leisurely pace, by sea.

    The flying kegs of NZPA and another prize-winning beer, Cumbrian Five Hop, were checked onto an Air New Zealand flight (what else!) They are headed for the 21st birthday celebration of the renowned Wellington bar, The Malthouse, part of the annual NZ beer festival, Beervana. Matt anxiously awaits a quality report from kiwi drinkers.

    New Zealand hops – varieties like Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin -- are among the most aromatic, flavoursome and expensive in the world. They are highly sought after and in short supply.

    They came to beer lovers’ notice relatively recently, when a few craft breweries, largely in the UK and USA, started experimenting with them.

    Sending the finished product back to New Zealand isn’t so much “coals to Newcastle” as brewers’ hands across the world. Spurred on by the internet and social media, craft brewing is spreading fast globally, even in previously lager stricken New Zealand. Until recently the New Zealand brewing industry did not appreciate what it had got – disease free, hugely flavoured hops.

    “I am keen on Matt developing this brewing relationship with his home country,” said director and owner, Alex Brodie. “As NZ hops catch on, and supplies get short, it helps ensure we get the hops we need.”

  • Pint of beer on the bar

    Thanks to everyone who came. We thought it was a pretty chilled out event and despite the forecast for torrential thundery downpours we had mostly sunshine.

    During the festival, 198 casks and 49 kegs, of 79 different beers from 18 breweries were sold. That’s the equivalent of nearly 7 pints a minute.

    We look forward to welcoming you back to our next festival in the Spring of 2015.

  • Bottles of Booths Black IPA

    We have brewed another exclusive own-brand beer for Booths.

    Black IPA is in Booths stores now as part of the beer and cider festival which runs from June 18th – July 15th

    Booths commissioned a black IPA because we're specialists in modern hoppy beers.

    This is the third beer we have brewed exclusively for Booths following Festival Ale and 1847 Winter Ale.

    Black IPA is a very modern beer style. It is dark in colour yet surprisingly light and refreshing on the palate. It is brewed using roasted malts and four modern American hops. With flavours of tropical fruit and resinous pine, this truly is a beer to challenge your mind and taste buds.

    Booths Black IPA 5.6% abv is available in 500ml bottles from Booths stores while stocks last.

  • Photo of PMA article titled Hopping Mad

    Oh dear, The Editor’s glass really is half empty. What a pessimistic diatribe is his “stand against powerfully hopped beer,” when he really should be celebrating the fact that we now have more beers, more beer styles, more innovation, more passion, more women and more youth in the British brewing industry than ever before, and more breweries than in most of our lifetimes.

    As the owner of a brewery which brews, and cannot keep up with the demand for, a raft of highly hopped beers – six at last count, and with a Kiwi head brewer experimenting manfully with New Zealand hops (the biggest flavoured of all,) I take a keen professional interest in what others are brewing. I must say I have never experienced the “mouth puckering, eye watering sensation” of which Rob, The Editor, complains. Perhaps that’s because, like most ardent beer lovers, I have a pretty good idea where the good beer is. I select what I drink. It’s a habit born of a lifetime of beer hunting, growing up in the dark days when crazed keg marketeers were trying to kill British cask beer. Then, you really had to hunt for a decent pint. Today you don’t. It’s all around you. What on earth has the editor been drinking? Maybe he has been unlucky, or maybe his self admittedly underperforming taste buds just don’t get big hop flavours. That’s fine. Lots of people don’t like hop forward beers. There’s plenty else to drink. The new wave craft brewers are as keen on malt as they are on hops.

    I do agree with him that big flavours can hide bad ones. But there have always been under-skilled brewers, always will be. In the days of mild and bitter and that’s your lot, there was bad bland beer – it was one of the causes of the dash to keg in the sixties. Now you can get bad hoppy beer. So what? Now, you can also get wonderful, flavoursome beers, which increase the sum of human happiness for beer lovers, like me, who have been let down by most of the traditional brewing industry most of their drinking lives. The ambition and enthusiasm of the new wave craft brewers, should be applauded, not denigrated.

    The real story here is the renaissance of British brewing. If you doubt a re-birth, consider some figures: 1915 – 3,000 brewing companies. 1971 – 100 breweries left. Today - only 40 of that 100 remain. But there are 1,200 breweries in the land. Thus 1,160 breweries are new, born in the last 40 years.

    25 years ago, the Hop Merchants, Charles Faram, sold just 3 varieties of hop. Today they sell 107 varieties. Why? To meet the demand for new flavours. Why? Because the beer drinking public like craft beer, because a perfect storm of localism has met a revolt against blandness and multi-national fizz.

    The big brewers know it. That’s why they are falling over themselves to install their own micro brewing plants. That’s why their pale ales are being superseded by pale imitations. That’s why the unseemly rush to rebrand themselves as “craft” breweries.

    Recently, in a newly free-of-tie craft beer bar, I enjoyed a hugely hopped American IPA, a sour wheat beer, a British take on a geuze, a “Black IPA,” a deep, dark Imperial Stout as well as a gently hopped low gravity session beer: Choice, flavour, quality. Don’t knock it, support it.

    Wake up, Rob, and smell the hops.

    Alex Brodie, founder and owner of Hawkshead Brewery.

    You can read the original article by Rob Willock (PMA Editor) here.

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Hawkshead Brewery is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Hawkshead Brewery Ltd, Mill Yard, Staveley, Cumbria LA8 9LR. Registered number: 3209508