I did not realise where I was staying in the Cotswolds was so close to Hook Norton Brewery, which I’ve been keen on seeing for myself for some time. I was only in the area for a few days, but I did get the chance for a flying visit with the whole family for a drink in the sun.
Hook Norton is one of the oldest surviving family breweries and its Victorian tower brewery is famous as one of the last remaining in use.
Dating from 1872, the three-story brewery dominates the stunning small village of Hook Norton. As we entered the village it could not be missed. As I emerged from the car from a windy journey through some country lanes, a pungent stench from the brewery filled my nostrils.
The shop was extensive. I somehow ended up getting a stuffed dray horse for my daughter after she would not put it down and I, of course, had to buy a box of bottled ales. My dog also enjoyed himself, being fussed (and fed) by the friendly lady working on the till.
There was time to get in a few drinks, so after this, I secured an outdoor table to head to the bar. I’ve not been out too much recently but I was glad to see that there was a special beer in support of Ukraine. I now realise this is something which a lot of breweries have got on board with, but this was the first time I’d seen it in the wild.
This was a delicious beer, and a real treat to get real ale as complex and dark as this on cask.
I picked up a box of Hook Norton beers to take home, and I spent several months making my way through them all. All were very high-quality beers, but I was especially glad to drink their strong ‘172’ lager. This beer was a whopping 7.2&, which I did not realise at first. It has a sensational strong malt flavour. I give it 4.5 cheers out of five. Other beers of note was the Double Stout and Hooky Mild.
If I get to visit again, I’ll certainly try and book the tour to really understand this historic brewery.