Wot, more beer?

Founded in Lovibonds Brewery in 2005 with a dedication to producing hand crafted ales and lagers using only premium ingredients. They’re producing their beers on a very small scale. “our beers and have been received with enthusiastic reception from beer lovers and they are increasing capacity to make our products available to a wider audience”. Jeff, the owner and brewer, “Our beers are made with the finest ingredients possible. That includes local Maris Otter malted barley and only fresh whole hop flowers. We are committed to quality and don’t filter or pasteurise our beer and never use ‘convenience ingredients’, like hop oils.”

What was interesting to us here at Beermerchants.com was how Jeff embraces and respect brewing traditions and styles from around the world. Bring an worldly palate of flavour to British Brewing and doing it oh so well!   Jeff’s beer do fly under the radar of so many beer lovers, such is life.  I can surely say that we’re pleased to be able to sell his beers;  You’ll know that we’ve been selling the excellent Lovibonds Gold Reserve Wheat Wine recently, slowly people are getting their heads around it, for what is such a delicate yet rich brew! We’ve decided to bring in some more, if the lighter end of Jeff’s efforts. His beers very well loved in the environs of Henley on thames, so we thought it’s about time that more people got to hear about, and importantly taste these excellent brews!

Jeff, Brewer, “Chief Zymurgist”, is a keen and active supporter of the Oxford Homebrew scene, as well as a Brewing Network fan, a bunch of great chaps, who’re doing great things out there in Pacheco.  All in all a great mix, I am sure a brewer, we’ll continue hearing great things from.

Get them all here @beemerchants.com

HENLEY GOLD: They craft Henley Gold by combining the freshest British malted wheat and barley, then ferment with a yeast culture from the oldest brewery in the world, giving this beer it’s truly unique character. Being an authentic wheat beer, we serve this beer with the yeast, giving this beer its natural appearance. Excellent in the sun, a super beer! The pint I had yesterday, was loveeeeeeely! Click here to read more

HENLEY AMBER: Henley has long been known for a great pint of bitter.  This 3.4% session ale is no exception.  We use Maris Otter as a base malt with a special blend of roasted malts to give this bitter a complex malt profile.  Generous additions of 3 English hop varieties give this ale exceptional hop character. The amber coloured ale has a good balance of juicy malt and hop character on the nose.  The flavour finishes with a balance of bitterness from roasted barley, leading to a long clean bitterness of English hops. Click here to read more

HENLEY DARK: Henley Dark is inspired by 18th century London Porter and is crafted with a blend of seven different malted barleys including one smoked with local beech wood from the surrounding hills of the Chilterns.  Deep amber with a ruby glow and creamy tan head.  Rich chocolate aroma with a hint of smoke.  Creamy texture combines caramel and chocolate flavours finishing dry with bitterness from the dark malts and hops.  Click here to read more

Great English Beer

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You’ve heard of barley wine, well Jeff the brewer is calling this a Wheat Wine, what we believe to be the first of its kind in the UK. They took their popular Henley Gold recipe to the extreme by bumping up the wheat. To try and cut the heaviness from that much wheat they added their weight in local honey and fermented with our Henley Gold yeast strain then patiently cold conditioned for 6 months prior to bottling.

Each 75cl bottle is individually numbered and hand dipped in wax.

Tasting note A honey gold sparkle, with a creamy white head. Aroma is rich and sweet of honey and fruit. Medium bodied sweetness with some alcohol warmth and a well-rounded finish.

Technical Detail Original Gravity: 1.088 (21.1 Plato) Final Gravity: 1.033 (8.3 Plato) International Bitterness Units: 34 Colour: 4.7 SRM/Lovibond (9.2 EBC)   –

LINKIE <-click here to got to get it.

tasty tasty beer

tasty tasty beer

Brewery #2 to watch in 2009 – Lovibonds Brewery, Henley-on-Thames

Catching up with a serious backlog of blog entries washing around in my head, SF Beer week review, Belgian Brew News, Barcelona Updates… I started a series of Breweries to Watch in 2009 – here’s another one of the breweries that I have been really impressed with.

Jeff a native of Wisconsin, an ex-long time homebrewer and Brewing Network fan, came on my radar through his activities on the website ProBrewer some time ago – when he was asking about barrel ageing beers in the UK!

Most of us in the beer and brewing circles know about the Lovibond colour scale, but not many are aware of the history associated with the name. When Jeff Rosenmeier was looking for a site to expand he stumbled across a site in the centre of Henley-on-Thames and uncovered part of John Lovibond and Son’s rich history. Despite advice from many he chose to revive the use of the Lovibond name, founding Lovibonds Brewery in 2005.

I recently shared a couple pints with Jeff… Lovibonds has gained quite a following and not always from the typical British beer enthusiast. Jeff has found a small niche in the British beer market, preferring to compete with the big brewers instead of other local craft brewers. Jeff explains, “I started out with a couple firkins and I was really disappointed with the variable nature in which my beer was presented in the pub. The main issue with dispensing from a cask is that the publican is ‘venting and tapping’ the cask, thus opening the beer up to the cellar’s less than sanitary atmosphere, causing it to rapidly decline. My desire has always been to serve our beer in its best possible condition, on a consistent basis, and this method wasn’t cutting it for me.” To guarantee consistent quality for his customers, as well as provide 100% return for the publican or bar manager, Lovibonds decided to deviate from a majority of small independent brewers in the UK by serving their beer from ‘keg’.

Jeff says, “I had been using kegs as a home brewer for 10 years with great success. You could come to my house and I would have at least 3 different beers on at any given time. This system kept my beer fresh for months, with the beer often getting better all the time as it further conditioned. We decided that we would serve all of our beer this way, alleviating the risk of our beer being served in a poor condition.” Jeff also found that this unique system allowed them to market their beer to customers that wouldn’t otherwise have a local craft brewed option on the bar. Jeff says, “We found that there are many local independent bar, hotel and restaurant owners that want to have a locally crafted beer on offer, but don’t have the knowledge or guaranteed throughput to make cask beer viable. What they end up with is a selection of the same mega beers you see everywhere else. In this scenario, we are able to offer a local beer, completely unfiltered, unpasteurized and unadulterated in any way, in a package that the customer already understands.”

This tends to rub certain British beer enthusiasts up the wrong way, but Jeff states, “We have a lot of people that would normally drink a bland mega lager that now realise that they have an local alternative.  We are taking custom away from the big boys, not our friends at other local breweries.”

Henley Gold was the first beer in the line up and is Jeff’s interpretation of a Bavarian wheat beer.  Jeff says, “There are a lot of small brewers in the UK doing wheat beers, but I found myself disappointed with many of them.  The brewers tend to just add a little wheat and carry on using their house yeast strain…what you end up with is a slightly more refreshing Golden Ale.  I wanted to do this properly and we start with over 50% malted wheat and use a famous Bavarian yeast strain, Bavarian noble hops and follow Rheinheitsgebot [Bavarian purity law] to the letter.”  The result is a highly drinkable wheat beer with loads of character.

In addition to Henley Gold, Lovibonds produce Henley Amber, a low gravity session ale that showcases Jeff’s love of hops.  Henley Dark, recently winning Silver medal in the Regional SIBA competition, is inspired by the London Porters of old and is a blend of seven different malted barleys, including one that Jeff hand smokes with local beech wood.

Lovibonds are also producing a Reserve series, which are limited edition and packaged in individually numbered champagne style bottles, hand dipped in wax.  The first was released in May 2008, Lovibonds Dark Reserve No. 1, which started as a strong version (7.4%) of Henley Dark that aged in whiskey barrels in the Lovibond cellar for 6 months.  Lovibonds Gold Reserve (7.3%) was just released and is tagged a ‘Wheat Wine’.  Jeff explains, “Most people have heard of a barley wine, we wanted to spin off of this and took our Henley Gold recipe to the extreme.  When you have a big beer like that, you tend to loose drinkability.  To counteract the heaviness of that much wheat we chucked in over 60kg of local honey and fermented with our Henley Gold yeast.  The result is a rare treat, full of flavour and character, yet dangerously drinkable.

Rumour has it that Jeff is now setting his sights on producing a proper IPA, none of this 3.4% IPA rubbish…. given that he’s not adverse to hops.. rolllll on!

It’s always worth passing by, getting in contact – I was also drinking something completely accidental that was well…. if I said what it was that’d give the game away!

More information about Lovibonds Brewery can be found at their web-site www.lovibonds.com