So after the hubby’s first forage into Beer reviews we thought we might indulge a little more and came up with a new series of posts to be called Bebida/Drink. So a few weeks ago when I saw there was a chance to attend a Brewery tour which was organised as the first event of Slow Food Peak District and Staffordshire, we could not resist.
The tour was at Freedom Brewery, home to award winning hand-crafted English lager and luckily for us was just a few miles drive away in a beautiful countryside setting in Bagot’s Park Farm estate near Abbots Bromley. We have sampled Freedom beers at local food festivals and at our local gastro pub The Yorkshire Man and were eager to see how and where they were produced. The evening kicked off with a quick explanation of the Slow Food movement and what the new group was eager to achieve and then it was over to Edward and Susan Mayman, owners of Freedom Brewery for a tour.
Edward began by explaining the company history and how a micro-brewery for lager ended up in the heart of rural Staffordshire. The company was originally founded in London in 1995, but as brew pubs became obsolete the brand was bought and within a few years moved to it’s current location, just a few miles from the famous brewing town of Burton-on-Trent. The location we learnt is part of Freedom’s success, as they are able to tap into the same water source as all those famous large brewing companies just a few miles away, which is perfect for brewing and requires no chemical treatment or additives for the brew process.
Edward went on to explain how all their products are created with just 4 ingredients: water, barley, hops and yeast in the traditional way. Freedom are very keen on making sure they get the best key ingredients and along with that all important water source they also take care to acquire their barley and hops. They have also sourced organic materials to create their organic lagers.
Most micro-breweries focus on ales and so it was interesting to hear how lager is made. The most memorable fact of the tour was that “lagering” is a german word meaning to store from when beer was stored in caves back in medieval times, and Freedom continue to do this important stage maturing the lager for 4-6 weeks before it is either bottled or transferred to kegs. This is in comparison to those large lager brands brewed down the road at Burton-On-Trent which are created in just a few days. It does raise the question can those ubiquitous brands really call themselves lager?
- Freedom Four – at 4% abv it has citrus notes and a long dry hoppy finish and one that I quite liked (pretty impressive for a non-lager drinker!)
- Freedom Pilsner – a crisp refreshing lager to rival the continental offerings.
- Freedom Organic – everything you want in a lager and Owen’s drink of choice, it has a subtle bitterness and is very drinkable. (thank goodness they have it on draught at our local!)
- Freedom Organic Dark – brewed with blend of four malts it has multi-layered sweetness and a gentle bitterness.
- Freedom Stout – due to a demand from their customers, Freedom created this stout to add to the range, with a rich and complex palate and just the right amount of bitterness and warmth.
With the sampling of beers we also got to try other local producers including some fabulous sausages specially made for the event by Denstone Hall Farm Shop using Packington Pork and some Freedom lager, sourdough baguettes from The Loaf in Crich and a range of Cottage Delight sauces and chutneys. A very tasty BBQ indeed.
It was an enjoyable evening, learning about a very local producer and we can’t wait for the next Slow Food event. For more details on this visit and any future events please have a look at the Slow Food Peak District and Staffordshire page.
Hasta la proxima / Until next time