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 coming up with names for various brews. And a recent acquisition shows his love of the industry - a large stone frieze of a brewing scene will take pride of place somewhere on site once it has received some tender, loving, care.
Remarkably Nethergate have had a good year. “Our membership scheme is thriving and in the summer we had a Covid-safe environment with outdoor seating and social distancing. Local planners were very flexible and helped us during a difficult time,” says John.
“We had made a lot of beer when lockdown was enforced in early spring with no - or very few - pubs to supply. So initially, and online, we sold at £1 a pint with queues of cars coming to our Rodbridge site for a period of two weeks or so. That wasn’t sustainable so we put up the price later.”
Helping John is a team of 16, led by general manager Rob Crawford, head brewer Ian Carson and shop manager Victoria Eichhorn.
It isn’t just the fresh beer, sold in various guises, that’s the attraction at Nethergates. They pride themselves in being an outlet for
locally produced gins, (there’s a good one just up the road at Glemsford) wines and snacks such as Fairfield Crisps from Wormingford. You can get clothing here too and all sorts of gift ideas, with most of it available online.
Tours are popular, where you can learn about the history of brewing, the ingredients used and the brewing process. You’ll see beer originating from the best ingredients to the point of pour... and the chance to sample some.
Before Covid-19 tours could include five to 40 people and make a birthday or Christmas gift. Group tours for more than 20 can be arranged if restrictions are lifted.
The cost is £17.50 per person and are available from 2pm everyday.
And if you are not a real beer lover don’t worry. They have developed a rather good clean, crisp lager to satisfy the demands of local drinkers who - and I quote - “want to enjoy the delights of our brewery but haven’t yet developed the taste for our fine ales.”
As a lager drinker I’ll take that little put down in the spirit it was meant.
No half measures
It’s the taste, of course, but the name and packaging are important too when it comes to selling beer as these Nethergate brands show
Old Growler
5.0% ABV
The legendary
Old Growler –
what a
pedigree, what
a porter! Like a
grumpy old
family pet much loved for its independent character and suffer- no-fools, yet its curmudgeonly appearance belying its gentle character and easy going nature. The only beer to have twice won Overall Champion at the CAMRA Winter Beer Festival; its many awards also include Supreme Champion at the Chicago International Beer Festival and voted Best of 2011 by the Beer Tasting Institute of America, so it’s even top dog across the pond.
A complex, satisfying Porter, smooth and distinctive. Roast malt and fruit feature on the palate and the finish is powerfully hoppy. Tantalising taste buds since 1988. Now where did we put that Crufts entry form, it must be time for another award by now?
Stour Valley
Gold
4.2% ABV
Stour Valley Gold
was formulated to
fill a gap created
by the ever-
growing demand
for light, hoppy beers.
A light and refreshing golden ale brewed using fragrant citrus hops. A lovely floral aroma with a touch of spice early on and a mellow bitterness at the end.
Suffolk County
4.0% ABV
Originally Nether-
gate Best Bitter,
this recipe was
first created in
1986. It has won
many awards in
its time, most recently the SIBA Gold Medal for Best Bitter 2014. A chest- nut coloured best bitter, biscuit malt dominates the warm, well-rounded roasted background with a wonderful bitter finish.
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