West Suffolk

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Brewery News

18 June 2021

Mauldons enlarging their capacity

Member Stuart visited Mauldons recently to get an update on their re-branding exercise and other exciting developments. Firstly they have had a reasonable year despite all of the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
They have completely redesigned their bottle labels and pump clips to give a clearer, fresher and more modern up to date look. They are concentrating their sales to a more local area rather than expanding further afield which incurs extra associated costs. This has proved highly successful and a noticeable increase in their beer sales locally has been noticed.
A fourth pub, The Gainsborough in Sudbury, has been purchased and is in the process of being branded to Mauldons standards and the hunt is on for further suitable properties in their catchment area.
They are in the process of developing a new tap room at the brewery which will be a hospitality spot and showcase for all of their products.
Their faith in the future is confirmed by the fact that they are about to install a new fermenting vessel which will give an increase in production of up to 45%. On top of all this there are exciting developments on new beers with new brews being trialed.

8 May 2021

Obituary: Dr Ian (Spencer) Hornsey

Sadly this much respected Suffolk brewer and beer writer died on 17 April 2021 and will be much missed. He was always a delight to talk to and was highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about beer. Following a successful academic career, culminating as a Senior Lecturer and the Head of Microbiology at Anglia Ruskin University, Ian decided to start a new career in brewing. In 1985 he co-founded the Nethergate Brewery with Dick Burge in Clare. Ian was to remain the head brewer until 1999 when oral cancer forced him to retire from brewing. Soon afterward he took to writing about the science behind the brewing industry. Early visits to the original brewery, squeezed in an old commercial garage in the High street were always splendid events as he shared copious quantities of beer and some ancient recipe books to ever enthusiastic drinkers. He enjoyed full flavours and the IPA was very bitter in those days, but if you didn’t drink fast enough he rasped: “so don’t you like my beer?” When Nethergate launched Old Growler (5%) it was based on a mid-18th century London recipe for a strong Mild, but was re-branded it as Porter. Ian also initially resisted adding coriander, which was in the original recipe. A short while later two additional versions of the beer were created, Umbel Ale (3.8%) and Umbel Magna (5%), with some of the hot wort being infused by about 4.5 kilo of coriander seeds before fermentation. Both were absolutely fantastic. Old Growler porter subsequently became CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain in 1997 and 2003. in 2004 the brewery moved to a larger farm site in Pentlow, with Ian finally leaving the company in 2010. The brewery has since moved again to custom-built premises in Long Melford. Our sympathies to his family at this difficult time.

17th January 2021

Micro brewery moves over the border into West Suffok & Borders branch area

Sarah Hide with partner Mark Jackson run Roughacre Brewery

Previously based at Castle Camps in Cambridgeshire since starting the brewery in 2018, but have now made the move to Clare Hall Barns in Clare which is in the West Suffolk and Borders branch area

More information is available on their website here https://roughacre.com/

16th December 2020

Pandemic gives rise to a new nano brewery

Out of a job during the fist 'cornavirus lockdown' Luke did what we suspect many of us would like to do given an opportunity, he cleaned out his garage and started a nano-brewery.
Apparently Luke is a biochemist so perhaps not surprising that he named his fledging brewery, 'Biochemist Brewery'
The brewery is located in Red Lodge and brews both beer and cider. More info available on their website https://www.biochemistbrewery.com/

Independent local brewer receives ‘Lockdown Champion’ Award.

Independent brewer Tony Hook, is one of a small handful of brewers and publicans to receive an ‘Above and Beyond’ Lockdown Champion Award, from West Suffolk and Borders Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Tony was presented with the award in recognition of his outstanding support for the local community during lockdown 2020.
Hook the Cook’s ‘draught beer to your doorstep’ has been bringing a ‘proper pint’ to real ale enthusiasts who were unable to get out to a pub during lockdown and those who may still be reluctant to venture into pubs worried that it could increase the risk of them being exposed to COVID-19 .
Martin Bate, Vice-Chairman of West Suffolk CAMRA said “Tony was recognised alongside other Lockdown Champions for exceptional support during these difficult times. Tony’s real ale home delivery service offered an extra dimension - and the beer has been lovely!”
Tony, a former landlord of Stansfield Compasses, who lives in Somerton and brews at Elvedon, delivers his beer to the door of customers living within a 20 mile radius of Stansfield. His Real Ale is brewed in small batches from traditional ingredients, matured by secondary fermentation in the cask and delivered weekly in re-usable four pint containers. A cashless prepayment system is used to keep contact to a minimum and a weekly e-newsletter lets his customers know what beers are available each week, and orders are taken by email.
To sign up for Hook the Cook’s newsletter and find out more visit facebook.com/HooktheCookUK or hookthecook.co.uk

Breweries featured on this page (in alphabetical order) are
if you have information, news or articles about local breweries, or indeed you are a local brewer, please forward them to:- ku.gro.armac.kloffustsew@retsambew

28th February 2020

Update from CAMRA member Stuart Stuart Crowthers
At the Chelmsford Beer Festival last week, judging took place for the Champion Beers of East Anglia. Mauldons Blackberry Porter won the Silver Award in the Specialist Section of the competition. This is especially good news for Mauldons, for as we know, they have only recently had new owners take over. Charlie Buckle the MD called it " Brilliant news" and said they would be proud to use the Camra winners logo on their pump clips beer mats etc..

22 Sep 2017. Update from CAMRA member Stuart Stuart Crowthers
NEW BREW We will be resurrecting an old recipe for a beer formally called Squires Bitter, this new/old brew will be a traditional bitter and available in the new year, it will be around 4% ABV.
BREWERY TAP The Brewery Tap has a new manager, it has also been refurbished outside and the cellar has been completely overhauled with all new equipment and some new products have been introduced. The Tap October beer festival will be on for three days starting on 27th. The Suffolk Punch Comedy Club are appearing at the Tap on the first Wednesday of each month, several new and established comedians from far and wide performing at each meeting.
The East of England Co-op will be stocking our Christmas beer Bar Humbug again this year.
Further to this, we have just won 2 Silver awards and 1 Gold award at last weeks SIBA prize ceremony for Black Adder and Blackberry Porter!
photo of Steve Birch Mauldons Head Brewer (Left) and Brewer James Vernon (Right) all smiles with their awards.



Nov 18 Nethergate Brewery MD John Holberry at the opening of the new Nethergate Brewery in Long Melford

Nov 2017 Not long to go now with the opening of the new brewery scheduled for Saturday 18th November 1pm to 8pm. Below are latest pictures showing the brewery taking shape

Sept 2017. New kit starts to arrive at Nethergate's new brewery


May 2017 ARTICLE
When is a “New” brewery an “Old” brewery?

The 1960s were known as “swinging” and “free love” was advocated but this era and the following two decades were dark days for that other kind of lover, the lover of real ales.

These were decades when large national, or would be national brewers, rushed to acquire smaller regional brewers in order to grow their business by, as remains the case even today, increasing the number of tied pubs that came along with these acquisitions.

These were also decades when foreign travel for the masses became more accessible and with it a taste for larger, sales of which rose steadily. The major brewers at this time were also producing their real ales via. the Keg system where the beer is pasteurised to stop fermentation and served using carbon dioxide pumped into the beer. These were the days of the heavily promoted Double Diamond and Red Barrel brands both of which had a dominant position is East Anglia.

It was into this desert for lovers of real ale that a new brewery started life when, in 1986, Nethergate opened its doors for the first time in Nethergate Street (hence the name) in the Suffolk village of Clare prettily located on the north bank of the River Stour which, as we shall see later, was to feature in the story of Nethergate to date.

Right from the outset Nethergate set themselves apart from the big boys by experimenting with herbs such as Coriander in their recipes. Umbel Coriander Ale was one of the first outcomes of this approach. Remember this was in the days of Brown Ales and Keg Beers so, in their own way, Nethergate was helping to start a quiet revolution in the way real ales are brewed.

Success quickly followed and over the years Nethergate has won many awards for their beers including Supreme Champion at the Chicago International Beer Festival and along the way also picking up prestigious awards from CAMRA and, in 2012, The Good Pub Guide also made Nethergate their Brewery of the Year.

This success meant that the location in Clare was soon proving to be too small and a move to larger premises in Pentlow, this time on the south side of the River Stour in Essex, was made.

Now thirty years since its formation Nethergate is once again on the move. This time the brewery is moving back to Suffolk again. The new brewery building has a prominent and distinctive position beside the B1064 just to the south of the village of Long Melford at Rodbridge Corner, a location which should raise the breweries profile both with tourists and locals alike.

Whilst I enjoyed a glass of their Augustinian Ale 4.5% ABV sitting at the Brewery Tap Bar in a corner of the newly opened shop facility I had a chat General Manager Rob Crawford. Rob explained that the latest move would mean that after years of renting, they now own their own premises which have allowed them to invest in spanking new brewing equipment which would, in turn, mean that the company would be able to develop new and exciting recipes to add to their already award winning range of beers. Rob said as things develop it is also intended that there will be an outdoor space behind the brewery where customers can sit and enjoy a beer overlooking the Suffolk countryside. When it is up and running people will also be able to take a tour of the new brewery from specially installed gantries.

Another benefit of the move meant that Nethergate would be able to reduce their environmental impact. One way they will be able to do this will be by installing a grain silo at the new brewery which would mean they could store grain in bulk which would do away with thousands of plastic sacks in which the grain had been delivered up to now. From plastic hater me that is nice to hear.

They also have plans to reduce their environmental impact by having a target of 90% of solid waste to be recycled. There are plans to have their hops and grains going to compost with plastics and cardboard to a recycling plant. They are also currently looking at ways to minimise their water consumption. Nethergate is eager to reduce the company’s impact on the environment.

Rob said the move has also given Nethergate the opportunity to give their brand a refresh with the addition of the strap line “Stour Valley Brewery” which, as we have seen, is very apt as the successive moves have seen the brewery make its way down the Stour Valley from Clare, via Pentlow to Long Melford.

So as we can see, Nethergate has been around for quite some time and has featured heavily in the development and progression of the craft ale market. So to summarise, Nethergate is an old brewery (in modern terms) but is a new brewery in terms of their forward thinking attitude and their new site and equipment.

Along the way Nethergate has established a reputation for distinctive and award winning beers and this latest move looks to ensure this old/new company will continue to make their mark on the brewing industry both locally and further afield. Watch this space for some of their up and coming developments!!

They now have a great shop and visitor centre open at their new site in Rodbridge Corner, Long Melford, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9HJ should you wish to try some of their products.

©Mike Shave 23rd May 2017