Events

Crouch Vale brewery trip – Saturday 9th November 2019

Written by Ian Boyd

Our next Branch trip will be to Crouch Vale Brewery in Essex, on November 9th.

At Crouch Vale, they are immensely passionate about what they do and are justifiably massively proud of their hand-crafted, multiple award-winning beers. The company is (and has always has been) independent and privately, family owned.

Crouch Vale Brewery was established in 1981 by two beer enthusiasts, Colin Bocking and Rob Walster who, with a bank overdraft, signed a 25-year lease on a new industrial building in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. Various second-hand items of plant and equipment were acquired adapted and assembled, with almost all of the work being carried out by the founders themselves. The first brew, Crouch Vale Best Bitter (all-malt mash, hopped with English Fuggles and Goldings and fermented with a yeast cadged from Youngs of Wandsworth), appeared on 3rd October 1981.

The following years saw expansion of the beer range and distribution area as well as the acquisition in 1986, of the first Crouch Vale pub – The Cap and Feathers, in Tillingham. A second pub, The Queens Head in Chelmsford, was acquired in 1998 and remains ours today. It was some years before the awards began to trickle in, but the trickle became a flood with the winning of the ultimate cask ale accolade – CAMRA’s “Supreme Champion Beer of Britain”, gained by Brewers Gold in both 2005 and 2006. Brewers Gold is an extremely drinkable 4% a.b.v., and now accounts for over 60% of our production. It is acclaimed worldwide as a leading example of the ‘Golden Ale’ style, with wonderful aromas and flavour, from carefully selected ingredients.

With the expiry of the original lease and demand exceeding capacity, brewing moved to new larger premises on the other side of the town in 2006. Unlike the original plant which was cobbled up from whatever was available cheaply, the new brewery was purpose-built and capable of much more consistent and better product quality. However, the original production ethos was (and still is) maintained – ingredients are purchased on quality rather than price and the brewery is still manned by real people, who hand-craft the beers.

Colin remains at the helm, while Rob is no longer involved in the brewery but sells plenty of its produce at The Prince of Wales at Stow Maries. Current regular beers Blackwater Mild (3.7%), Essex Boys Bitter (3.8%), Brewers Gold (4.0%), Yakima Gold (4.2%) and Amarillo (5.0%) are complimented by occasional Sputnik (4.0%), Discovery (3.8%) and Mosaic (4.1%).

Schedule:

10.45 – St Albans Station pick up
11.00 – Hatfield Station pick up
11.20 – Hertford East Station pick up
11.30 – Ware College pick up
12.30 – Arrive at brewery
15.00 – Leave brewery
15.30 – Arrive Woodbine
17.00 – Leave Woodbine

On leaving the brewery we will stop at one pub on the way back at the Woodbine at Waltham Abbey – East Anglia Regional cider POTY2019, regular GBG entry and Herts/Essex Branch POTY 2019.

Return drop-offs at Ware, Hertford East and Hatfield, arriving St Albans around 18.15.

Numbers on this trip will be limited, so you are encouraged to book early. The cost will be £20, payable on the day.

To book your place, please contact ian.boyd@me.com.

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