Thornbridge Brewery in Derbyshire, England boasts an impressive portfolio of pubs and inns across Sheffield and even one in the Netherlands! English craft beer is created with dedication and tradition in mind, while innovation is easily noticed in the flavor and finish of each brew. We love featuring breweries from other areas of the world, as these are the places where craft beer really gained a traditional feel. England is actually responsible for the Russian Imperial Stout, believe it or not.
Russian Imperial Stout came about due to a gift sent to Catherine the Great that went terribly wrong. The beer sent over to Russia (Prussia at the time) had gone sour on the long voyage and the lady Czar was furious. England proceeded to create an extra hoppy brew that was sure to make the trip safely and the resulting brew was so loved by Catherine that she declared it to be Imperial. Thus the Russian Imperial Stout was created, aged on a voyage and full of hoppy goodness, but originating in England itself.
Thornbridge Brewery shows just as much excellence in their craft as the craft beer masters of those days of olde. They offer a variety of brews that is hard to match and the finish on each one seems to be better than the last.
Thornbridge has certainly managed to master the English craft beer market. With several locations throughout Sheffield already, they set their sights on areas beyond the UK itself. Finally opening their first outside location in the Netherlands, they couldn’t be happier. They already offered their brew to quite a range of locations, but taking this amazing step seems to have skyrocketed their confidence in ways we cannot describe.
If the number of locations they’ve amassed isn’t enough to impress you then how about their quiz nights? What about acoustic nights? Trivia nights? Maybe the fact that they offer great food in most of their pubs? No? Oh, you must want to know about the English craft beer! Sorry, we got caught up in the moment. On to the beer!
Yes, we said it. English craft beer is not the same as what your family might make at home. These folks have centuries of historical testing behind them and there are still breweries in the country using old-fashioned stone fermentation tanks too. Thornbridge uses modern technology to produce beer that is equal to those ancient brews and, to be honest, better than them in many ways. For example, try their Bracia label. This brew is imbued with amazing flavor and is a dark stout you’ll wish they brewed more than just four times a year!
There are a variety of craft beers these folks produce, many of which follow a traditional mean. However, they also produce a range of brews that are not purely English. As we discussed, their Russian Imperial Stout, is in fact, an English craft beer. However, they also make American Pale Ale, India Pale Ale (IPA), and several Porters. Their Cocoa Wonderland is absolutely divine if you enjoy a good Porter and it is well worth a taste or two. We love a great Porter, so we made sure to sip this one nice and slow to appreciate the many layers of flavor and texture all the way to the finish.
Interested in seeing how well the English can pull off a West Coast IPA? Then try their Bear State, their rendition of a hoppy West Coast IPA and featuring a 7.0% ABV. The citrusy finish on this brew is pretty darn good and we’d say they met the West Coast really well in this beer. However, their Tart, listed as a Bakewell sour, is not sour at all actually. In fact, they’re referring to the tart nuances provided by the grapefruit and lemon infusions on top of the citrusy hops flavor. We were quite pleased with that one, as we’d sipped in expecting a sour beer and found one that really pleases the palate all round.
We were happy with the brews we had the chance to try and we hope you will be too. Thornbridge Brewery is definitely worth taking a second and maybe even third look into over the future months, as we’re interested to see what other creations they pull out of their proverbial hats over time.