Hook Norton • England
The Shelton Brothers would like to welcome Hook Norton back to the former colonies after a several-year hiatus.
From the brewery’s website:
“The brewery at Hook Norton is rooted in an age when most towns and even large villages boasted their own brewery.
Approach the village of Hook Norton from any direction and the first thing you see is the Church tower. The second is the flag waving proudly over the brewery. The Hook Norton Brewery was started over 150 years ago by farmer and maltster John Harris. Today it is run by his great great grandson James Clarke. John Harris’ brewery has now achieved a reputation he could have never imagined and the beer it produces today is enjoyed not only in the UK but in many other countries.
Hook Norton Brewery sits on the North side of the Cotswold Hills, an area of rural lushness so pivotal to the ebb and flow of English history, the locals decided long ago that a good, fresh pint should always be within easy reach. A natural spring provided the ideal site for a brewery, and one thing led to another.
1849 was a milestone year. The young Queen Victoria ruled — the 35th monarch since William the Conqueror — the country had endured Magna Carta, the Wars of the Roses, The Reformation, Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians, the Restoration of the Monarchy and was well into the Industrial Revolution when John Harris set up his brewery at Hook Norton. After Centuries of tempestuous history the locals were ready for a few beers. After a short while the sales of this fledgling brewery began to improve. And before long, the brewery John Harris started in a local farmhouse became the seed for the Hook Norton Brewery Company Ltd, and things evolved rapidly.
Hook Norton Brewery remains one of only few independent family-run breweries; and you won’t find a finer example of a Victorian tower brewery anywhere. It’s also the only brewery still driven by steam. On the ground floor of the brewery is a fine 25 horsepower steam engine, supplying through a series of belts, cogs and shafts most of the motive power the brewery needs to produce it’s beer .
The brewery at Hook Norton is still “a real local brewery” and this is a rarity these days; awesome commercial pressures brought about change at the brewery, but the brewers at Hook Norton became adept at keeping a restless World at arm’s length.
Brewery research shows most of us are more familiar with the drinking process than the skilled preparation that leads up to it. But every pint produced by Hook Norton brewery that you raise to your lips has a story to tell. Beer is very much a natural product; and the brewery puts a lot of effort into the whole brewing process to provide you with a refreshing pint. The traditional methods employed at the brewery make traditional beers, and that’s what counts at Hook Norton.”