West Berkshire Branch of CAMRA

Visit to Two Cocks Brewery.

(This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Ullage - Thanks to editor Tim Thomas for the words.)

Two Cocks Brewery based at Christmas Farm, Church Lane, Enborne, is the third brewery to be registered in West Berkshire. In December, CAMRA members enjoyed the privilege of a visit to the brewery and tasted 1643 Cavalier and 1643 Roundhead tapped from casks.

Michael and Phil showed us around the new brewery, housed in an enclosed area of a large barn. They told us how they had moved from central London to the farm in 2009 and discovered that wild hops grew in the hedgerows. In reaction to the high water bills, they arranged for a 180 foot deep borehole to supply water for the farm. The possible synergies of farming with brewing and a wish to diversify led them to commission the 2.5 barrel (90 gallon) brewery. John Trew of Oban Ales worked with them to set up the brewery and act as brewing consultant.

Michael and Phil (3rd and 4th from left) show the visitors around their brewery.

To gain brewing skills, Michael attended courses at Brewlab in Sunderland. Sacks of different varieties of milled malt, supplied by Fawcett’s of Castleford, are now piled at the brewery entrance. The names for the beers stem from the farm being the site of the Roundheads’ encampment, the night before the first battle of Newbury, in 1643. The hops used to make the golden 1643 Cavalier (3.8% ABV) include Styrian Bobek, Cascade and First Gold with extra flavour from their own hops. We all enjoyed this refreshing beer with citrus flavours and were able to contrast it with 1643 Roundhead (4.2% ABV) an amber bitter with a hoppy IPA style. Look out also for their dark stout, 1643 Puritan (4.7%) and bottle conditioned beers, which will have distinctive labels.

The stylish pump clip for Two Cocks' Roundhead Bitter.

Local pubs have started to trial and stock their beers including the Crown & Garter, Inkpen; the Five Bells, Wickham; the Bowler's Arms, Wash Common; the Blue Ball, Kintbury and the Bladebone Inn, Chapel Row.

The brewery's website can be found at www.christmas-farm.com