Strong start to birthday celebrations
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To mark the start of its 175th anniversary year, Hook Norton is brewing a series of special beers.
First up is 175 Strong Ale (7.5 per cent) a robust, dark red beer that’s fruity, full-bodied with a hint of spice. It combines a trio of English hops, delicate and smooth Goldings, spicy Challenger and floral Fuggles.
Hook Norton MD James Clarke said: “We started the idea of brewing some anniversary beers a few years ago, when on a whim as we were 167 years old, we decided to brew one beer at 6.7 per cent.
“We have continued this tradition every year since bringing us to our 175th year. We may stop here! The 175 Strong Ale is based on our Old Hooky recipe, but brewed to a much higher strength and is a beer to share, to enjoy and to respect.”
As a nod to the founding fathers, the bottle label features a photo of the workforce engaged in the construction of the main brewery circa 1890. Flat caps and waistcoats seem to have been the hi-vis attire of the day.
The expansion resulted in a six-story tower brewery designed by architect William Bradford. The style had become the norm by the late 1880s, and he was a prolific exponent who built or altered more than 70 breweries and maltings. His distinctive decorative style featured many ornaments, often in the form of ironwork, and a picturesque roof line.
Each part of the building is linked to brewing stages with gravity aiding the process. This, and much of the originally installed brewing equipment and machinery, is still in use today and can be seen in all its Victorian glory on Hook Norton’s brewery tours that operate seven days a week.
175 Strong Ale is a limited-edition release and is available in 500ml bottles exclusively from the brewery shop and online at www.hooky.co.uk