Exciting Open Day at Hook Norton Brewery

The Hook Norton Brewery in Oxfordshire and the heart of the Cotswolds held another Open Day last Saturday. The family run brewery has been in operation since 1849 and the family connection is still strong with the current Managing Director James Clarke being the 5th generation from his founding Great Great Grandfather.
The day offered the opportunity for people to visit the main brewery and the more recently added Microbrewery, which started in October 2014. There were also on offer children’s activities, craft stalls, musical entertainment and a display of historic military vehicles from the Military Vehicle Trust of Oxfordshire and North Cotswolds. 

The shire horses Nelson and Major were also a major attraction with head draysman Roger, with some assistance, getting the horses ready to pull the beer wagon to the local pubs. The horses were along the way given some liquid refreshment of a pint of the breweries own Hooky ale!.
In the brewery a group of volunteers and staff were explaining the process of beer making, including showing the specific barley and hops used to brew the different beers. The hops are mostly from the Hereford and Worcester, with varieties such as Challenger, Cascade and Fuggles, along with one hop from the USA Willamette, which is used for the Gold variety.
The barley comes mainly from local Cotswolds farms as well as East Anglia.
The Open Day was also the launch of the new Barm Cellar bar which is available for private functions, and had a range of beer on offer to sample or buy. The slate of the bar top came from one of the troughs that used to store the yeast in (called a Barm) and so hence the naming. On a hot day the cool cellar had the beer available at just the right temperature.
Two of the beers on display Red Rye and Twelve Days have just won Gold awards at the recent World Beer Awards.
During the guide around the brewery visitors were talked through the Ten stages of beer making from when the liquor (water) being pumped from a well below the brewery up to the cold liquor tank which is right at the very top of the tower, through crushing the malt, Mashing, added to the Copper, Fermentation, cooling and cask racking.
The steam engine is still in place, but due to the high cost of oil the belt is now driven by electric motor, and was demonstrated to the visitors.
The visitors came in high numbers and enjoyed the experience, taste the beers and take some home at a discounted price.
If you missed this open day regular guided brewery trips are on offer two a day.

Exciting Open Day at Hook Norton Brewery
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 23 August 2015
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