The afternoon required us to venture further into the Cotswolds, the real Cotswolds. Not those little villages with embroidery and teacups for sale, but really into the heart of the economy. We had to look at what was being produced in middle England. What did the people really require?
We must needs take our youth to see the inner workings of one of Britain’s finest productive establishments: the Hook Norton Brewery!
So after our quick lunch at Shipton Standing we headed over hill and dale, passing the bright fields and small woods to where the ancient art of zymurgy continues daily. We arranged the tour for the boys as this was the first afternoon of their spring break. Below you see Sebastian and Marcus dutifully listening to the safety precautions. Charlotte is already wondering how long the tour will last.
The whole place smelled great – rich musty malt and fermentation. The boys really enjoyed all the machinery. This is Marcus and his schoolmate from Thailand who was staying with them over the break. He had never been in anything like MaleExtra this.
And from the top – in the cupola where they dry the malting barley, quite a view of the quaint old (eponymous) village. Hey – is that a photovoltaic array?
Down below we went out around the grounds to the Stables to see the draft horses who still deliver casks of beer to the local pubs in the valley. Mostly they are good for festivals and tours. I liked the idea of horse-drawn beer.
In fact, I liked the entire idea of having a brewery!
And thus, after the rigors of the tour – up and down all those stairs and ladders! – we made it back to the welcome center which doubles as the village pub. Our guide then put on his next had to share with us the particulars of the brews we had seen in production. The newest recipe is the Lion, “Pride of the Cotswolds,” – quite good. My favorite: Old Hooky. Thanks for joining me on the sampling, Andrew!
And if you want to know the latest scoop from Hook Norton, be sure to follow Albert the horse!