Episode 27… Who’d a thunk? Not bad going mind you, considering this is a spare time project we started a little over 18 months ago.
So here we are at our visit to Howard Town Brewery, nestled in a characterful unit tucked away at the top end of Glossop in High Peak, Derbyshire. Riding solo this time round I’d paired this visit up with our previous one to Tweed Brewing in Hyde, so it wasn’t a huge distance to go. Couple of hills to tackle mind you, especially when you take the routes avoiding too much traffic. Afforded a great view of Greater Manchester, Cheshire and beyond on the way though.
Found with relative ease (and just before the heavens opened for some biblical-level rain) Howard Town was to be the venue for the next few hours. Not just visiting for a chat and a few questions on camera, owners Stuart and Emma had invited me to stay for their brewery night. This is a ticket only event where they open the brewery up to guests for the evening and lay on food as well as at least 4 of their beers, all included in the ticket price. They have a great membership scheme in place which entitles you to four of these events a year, as well as a free gift and 10% off beer purchases from them. Far too tempting for me - I’m a paid up member now!
In return for them kindly agreeing to see us for the blog, and inviting me to stay for the evening I offered to help setting up for the event. I’d hardly call putting up a few tables and filling some pots with Emma’s home made chutney a huge contribution to proceedings though! Set up done, and brewery cleaned in preparation we sorted the interview before people began to arrive.
I’d arranged to leave the bike with them and get the train back into Manchester as I wanted to make the most of the evening. I’d only had one of Howard Town’s brews before, and that had been before Stuart and Emma took the helm last year (more on that in the video), so I was keen to try all that was on offer. Damn, those beers are the very definition of session ales!
The core range is named after local landmarks and lore, ranging from geographical oddities such as the Longdendale Lights - supernatural apparitions frequently seen in the Longdendale Valley, to historical events with Super Fortress, named after the B29 bomber which crashed on the Bleaklow plateau near Snake Pass in 1948.
Working my way along the newly rebranded line up I started with Mill Town, a 3.5% delicately hopped dark beer before moving onto Hope (4.1%), a light refreshing pale with a lovely blackcurrant aroma. Then came Wren's Nest, at a quaffable 4.2% and finally Super Fortress, a great malty, fruity ruby ale.
I was also very privileged to be whisked away to a top secret tasting session of an (at that point*) unnamed summer ale. Pale, hoppy, crisp and oh so very citrussy. Oh man, I could have drank it all night. Sworn to secrecy after a short bit of feedback from myself and other select few however, it was back into the brewery and the main beers on offer - no bad thing of course!
As ever, enough of my wittering and over to Stuart to tell you all about Howard Town...