How do you make an award-winning Norfolk beer?
PUBLISHED: 17:10 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:35 24 September 2019
A north Norfolk brewery has shared some of its secrets, after winning six awards with the best of their beers.
After a blind taste test, the Society of Independent Brewers awarded medals to the Norfolk Brewhouse in Hindringham, near Fakenham, in a regional heat.
Co-owner David Holliday said: "To win one award would have been great, but six is fantastic. Qualifying for the national finals is the icing on the cake."
One winner was Jackalope Ginger Lager, brought back after six years to win a gold medal and be among nine in the national final. Mr Holliday said: "We first brewed Jackalope in 2013, when Crabbie's ginger beer was getting popular.
"The King's Head in Holt asked us to see if we could do the same with a lager. We brewed it as a one off, and although it was lovely, we couldn't tie up our tanks to make it regularly. Most of our beers take about 10 days to mature, but the ginger lager takes a lot longer.
"At week two, you can test it and think 'Did I add any ginger to this?'. It gets stronger with time, and gets where we want it after about five weeks.
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"Each batch takes 35kg (77lb) of root ginger, and all of it is peeled by hand. There's probably an easier way to do it, but it's how we do it."
After some growth, the brewery returned to its recipe after six years, and experimented by making it their first canned beer.
Mr Holliday said: "There's a lot of experimentation, but follow the science, and keep things interesting. If we taste an orange note in something, we will add some orange to it."
For Norfolk Day, the company collaborated with an American brewer to make Pond Hopper Ale, which won a bronze medal. A collaboration with Morston Hall chef Galton Blackiston also won a bronze.
"We're always looking for new people to work with. Like with Pond Hopper, I just dropped them an email saying 'You don't know me, but how about it?'. They were on a totally different page to how we do things in the UK, so it was exciting to learn.
"We're currently working on a collaboration with a Dutch farmhouse brewer, who make beers from things on their farm. "Pubs are struggling, so we try to keep things different and give people a reason to get off their sofas, and head out."
The national final will be held in Liverpool next March.