Hook Norton – A stroll down Brewery Lane and a glass or two of Hooky
You know you’re on to a good thing when you find yourself walking up Brewery Lane.
At the end of this enticing roadway, you will find yourself outside a somewhat ramshackle looking Victorian building.
A mock Tudor add-on can’t disguise the severe nature of the frontage. This is as austere looking as it gets.
But within this dour looking building lies the means to produce some of the finest ales in Britain.
This is the Hook Norton Brewery, the creator of such delights as Hooky, Old Hooky, Flagship and Double Stout.
Located in the heart of England’s leafy Cotswolds, the brewery is the centre of a business that dates back to 1849. That was when John Harris moved to the area and purchased 52 acres of farmland, including a malthouse.
The current building was constructed after the death of Harris in 1887. His nephew, Alban Clarke, began with a bottling room, store and wash shed in 1890.
Four years later he built a stable block, followed by new offices and finally the construction of the new six storey brewery on the site of the existing building.
Visitors are treated to a tour of the facilities, where expert guides take you through the beer making process.
Highlights include a chance to smell the hops used in the process and, best of all, a chance to sample the products.
Tumblers filled with various shades of Hooky are thrust into eager waiting hands with the message, ‘hold it up to make sure it’s not too cloudy, have a good sniff and then enjoy the taste’.
Hook Norton Brewery produces a range of fine ales to tantalise the tastebuds – and I suspect I’m not the first person to walk away from the tasting session with a slightly fuzzy head.
But if you haven’t had enough, the delightful Pear Tree Inn has a full selection of the company’s ales on offer – it’s just a short walk away down Brewery Lane.