What's Brewing in Hampshire?
Our thirst for craft beer and cider is being fulfilled by a growing number of passionate and talented Hampshire brewers. With more than 50 microbreweries now tucked away on industrial estates, farms and in city centres, the local beer and cider scene has become a vibrant part of the county’s food and drink community.
Charlotte Johnson from Meon Valley Cider recognises the buzz around local drinks in the region: “I find the level of innovation in the Hampshire food and drink community inspiring. This is met with enthusiasm from customers who are eager to hunt out new flavours and are much more experimental in their drinking.”
The local landscape provides ingredients to ensure a distinctive Hampshire flavour. At Meon Valley Cider locally grown apples from the Blackmoor Estate and Hill Farm Orchard are combined with cider apples to create a unique and almost wine-like flavour. At Upham Brewery, the flavour is achieved in part through the use of a bore hole which draws natural water from the chalky South Downs.
Head brewer at Upham Brewery, Rob Dupre, sees the positive side to the increase in breweries: “With more competition from increasing numbers of breweries, the pressure is on produce great quality beer which is brilliant for the consumers. One of the best ways consumers can help small breweries is to support their local pubs and specifically buy and ask for locally brewed drinks.”
Many breweries are eager to share their passion with their customers through tour and tasting events taking place throughout the year. These events also help microbreweries engage with their customer base and ensure they are brewing what customers what to drink.”
Martin Roberts has been brewing at Bowman Ales in the Meon Valley for ten years: “One of the wonderful things about craft breweries is how quickly we can respond to changing customer tastes. Smaller breweries offer versatility that larger set ups struggle to match. We’ve noticed IPA Ales and darker beers are particularly popular at the moment. In response, we recently launched a new hoppy IPA in bottles along with a wheat beer.”
Think local next time you are looking to stock up on drinks and use this website to hunt out Hampshire beer and cider makers. Many breweries have onsite shops in addition to being available at local off licences, farm shops and at the bar. If you are holding a party, a keg or polypin could be the answer.
There will be a chance to go behind the scenes of local breweries during July's Hampshire Food Festival, all details can be found on the events pages.
get supping at these events and breweries:
Bowman Ales is a micro brewery producing award-winning ale from the rolling green heart of Hampshire.Find out more
Island Brewery produces a growing range of beers brewed on the Isle of Wight.Find out more