Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Woodforde's Brewery

I fell in love with Woodforde's beers from a relatively young age.  I began working in Norwich in 1989 when the brewery moved to their present site in the beautiful Broadland village of Woodbastwick.  The brewery was therefore very new when a work colleague of mine organised a brewery trip.  A minibus took the 15 of us to this delightful village for a 7.00.pm start.  These were the days when brewery trips were free!!  Brewery founder, Ray Ashworth, began by filling our glasses and then gave us a short trip around what was then a very small brewery.  Back in the sampling room he brought out plates of food to soak up many more beer samples.  We stayed there until 10.00.pm and I have no idea how many pints we consumed.  I fell in love with Wherry, Baldrick (no longer available), Norfolk Nog and Headcracker.  The latter is an amazingly complex barley wine (7.0% ABV).  I have not managed to find it for a few years but my memories of it will never fade.

Alongside the brewery is the Fur and Feather Inn, the brewery tap.  The beautiful thatched building was converted from a row of three cottages and provides excellent food alongside the full range of Woodforde's beers.  I have not visited Norfolk for nearly four years but every time I go to the area I ensure that I visit the pub and the adjoining brewery visitor centre.  Norfolk is a beautiful county and Norwich is a fantastic city for real ale.  CAMRA's AGM is visiting Norwich next year and hopefully I will be there too. 

This preamble leads me to the trip I made tonight.  Last week, Shakespeare CAMRA recommended visiting the Horseshoe Inn, Shipston-on_stour, where Woodforde's Wherry was available at £2.60 a pint.  I've rarely found Woodforde's available outside of East Anglia so how could I turn this down?  I was just hoping that it would still be available as it was nearly a week since I was given the news.  I was not disappointed.  Wye Valley HPA and Sharp's Doom Bar Bitter were also available but for me there was only one option.  Wherry comes in at only 3.8% ABV but it has a great flavour.  Like the Headcracker, I find it quite complex with a great mix of flavours.  The pub itself is near the centre of a very picturesque market town.  The old building houses a central bar area.  To the left there is an area set aside for dining and to the right was a further bar area with a large fireplace and a back room with a large TV screen.  Very welcoming and very comfortable and well worth the short drive from Stratford-on-Avon.  Well worth a visit.

When I returned to Stratford-on-Avon I was still thirsty so I visited my local Wetherspoons and I was delighted to see my favourite Sadlers Ales beer Red IPA (5.7% ABV) available.  A perfect pint to follow on from the Woodforde's Wherry.

Happy drinking.
 


       

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