Brewing & Blending to mark 25 years of Tamar Valley AONB

A tired brewer at the end of the brewing day! copyright Lucy Jones Photography

A tired brewer at the end of the brewing day! copyright Lucy Jones Photography

The finishing touches are being added this month to a new ale and gin liqueur, in celebration of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s (AONB’s) silver anniversary.

This August will mark 25 years since the Tamar Valley was designated as an AONB, a national level of protection, to help conserve and enhance natural beauty; the creation of two new drinks is just one way chosen to honour the occasion.

Stirring the mash. copyright Paul Glanville

Stirring the mash. copyright Paul Glanville

Elizabeth Rickeard, from Bere Brewery, in Bere Alston, says; “Creating a new beer is always such fun, like a great big cookery-come-chemistry experiment, with all the different malt, hop and yeast flavours to choose from to marry together to try to create something perfectly balanced with layer upon layer of lovely flavours.

“We think we are so lucky to be able to grow hops and brew in one of the most beautiful places in all of England, so to have been asked to produce a new beer to celebrate the Tamar Valley’s 25th anniversary was a real honour.”

 

Hop flowers nearly ready for picking. copyright Katie McCullough

Hop flowers nearly ready for picking. copyright Katie McCullough

The new light and hoppy blonde ale, named ‘Ale ONB’ (Ale of Outstanding Natural Beauty) by Ben Dancer, Planning Officer for Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and Tamar Valley AONB, has been produced using 100% Tamar Valley hops from the site in Bere Alston – namely Zenith, Styrian Golding and Cascade.

Elizabeth explains how using Tamar Valley hops allows the bittering, flavour and aroma characteristics distinct to our specific environment and microclimate to shine through. “It’s hard to put your finger on it, but we really notice how brewing with 100% our own hops, instead of our current usual 70%, just takes our beers to a new depth, richness and clarity of flavour. No background harsh notes, just a freshness and cleanliness, a well-rounded depth of multi-layered subtleties, and a fruitiness that’s deep without being overpoweringly dominant”.

Elizabeth & her husband Jeremy hope that one day they will be able to use 100% hops for all of their brews.

The Hop Garden at Bere Brewery, copyright Paul Glanville

The Hop Garden at Bere Brewery, copyright Paul Glanville

The ale is described as having fresh citrus notes. It is a bright, sparkling and refreshing beer for the warmth of the long, light, summer days and evenings of the Tamar Valley. Its bright clarity represents the Tamar Valley’s clean air and environment, for long views down to the sparkling river.

‘Ale ONB’ will be on sale at Bere Brewery from Wednesday 24th June, (while stocks last). Open every Wednesday 4:30pm to 7pm and any other time by arrangement. Also, every Saturday 3pm to 5pm until further notice during coronavirus restrictions (check www.berebrewery.co.uk for details). The other stockist is Roots & Vines in Tavistock.

Meanwhile, in St Giles on the Heath, near Launceston, Cliff and Elizabeth L’Estrange West from Monarch Liqueurs – home of the Tamar Tipple – have been busy pairing fruits from Tamar Valley hedgerows to produce a delicious gin liqueur.

Creators of the award-winning Tamar Tipple range of gin, rum, vodka and whisky liqueurs, the duo set about capturing the essence of the Valley.

Blackberries in a Tamar Valley hedgerow

Blackberries in a Tamar Valley hedgerow

Elizabeth explains, “We couldn’t think of a more appropriate flavour than the humble blackberry. This small, hedgerow gem that everyone recognises appears each autumn, come rain or shine. After much trial and error and many tasting sessions, Cliff (our alchemist), decided another dimension was needed; the addition of elderflower. The result is a rich, slightly sharp blackberry with a hint of elderflower in the background that lingers on the palate.”

Elderflower

Elderflower

There is, however, one thing that is lacking. And that is a name.

Monarch Liqueurs are kindly offering a prize of a bottle of the new gin liqueur to the person that comes up with the winning name chosen for the new drink.

Please email your ideas, by Monday 22nd June, to cdancer@tamarvalley.org.uk with ‘Gin Liqueur Name’ in the subject box.

The winner will be notified by Friday 26th June and their name will appear in the next issue of the Tamar Valley AONB’s ebulletin and newsletter.

The new gin liqueur will be available to buy at the end of June from Homeleigh Garden Centre (Launceston and Bude), Roots & Vines, Tavistock and online at www.monarchliqueurs.co.uk.

Charlotte Dancer, Information & Communications Officer for the Tamar Valley AONB, says, “A Taste the Tamar event had been planned for mid-June, to celebrate the great variety of Tamar Valley produce – offering tastings, speakers and workshops, and opportunities to buy. This event, where the beer and gin liqueur would have been launched, had to be postponed, but we look forward to the time when we can gather together safely again and celebrate our local produce in all its glory.”

The Tamar Valley Centre, Drakewalls, will also be stockists for the beer and gin liqueurs once it reopens, when circumstances allow.

For further information about the Tamar Valley AONB please visit www.tamarvalley.org.uk, follow @TVAONB on Facebook and Twitter, or tamar_valley_aonb on Instagram.

 

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