Love Your Local
Oliver Conningham talks us through local brews
We made it. Here we are in 2021, with spring just a daffodil or tulip away, their delicate stems desperate to push the wintry snowdrops to one side. Aft er the festivities of Christmas and New Year, February can seem a quiet and unobtrusive month… The first day of February sees the pagan festival of Imbolc that marks the beginning of spring, yet it is Valentine's Day which tends to overshadow everything else.
Rather than presenting an array of pink-coloured drinks or those with labels covered in hearts, this month we wanted to feature a range of local, independent drinks made with love from small, artisan producers located across the country. The ongoing impact of Coronavirus has meant that much of our spending, especially over the Christmas period, was carried out online helping to increase the ever-growing wealth of companies such as Amazon.
As restrictions still prevail across the UK, heavily affecting the hospitality industry, why not show some support for your local breweries, vineyards, cider makers and other drink producers. There's a saying which rings true so much at the moment: 'Use it or lose it'. Our support of these small businesses at this time could mean the difference in their survival.
Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA (7.2%) - The White Hag
£2.79 for 330ml
Located in Sligo on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, The White Hag are a modern and independent craft brewery. Bran and Sceolan were the two wolfhounds of Fionn mac Cumhaill, a mythical hunter-warrior in Irish mythology. An American-style IPA brewed with 100 per cent Irish malt, Bran & Sceolan Irish IPA is full of pine and citrusy grapefruit flavours.
The majority of beers from The White Hag are vegan with the exception of those that use honey or lactose.
Only Half Awake (3.6%) - Wilderness Brewery
£3.20 for 440ml
Wilderness Brewery produces seasonal and barrel-aged beers from their brewery in Powys, mid Wales. Specialising in farmhouse-style beers that are either served fresh or aged, their beers are simple, unfiltered and vegan-friendly. Only Half Awake is a modern, lightly funky farmhouse beer with a refreshingly crisp and tart taste.
Wilderness Brewery beers are simple, unfiltered and vegan friendly.
Brave New World (7%) - Tempest Brewing Co
£2.75 for 330ml
In 2019, Tempest Brewing Co became the first brewery in the UK to join '1% for the Planet' and donate one per cent of their sales through a mix of monetary, in-kind and approved promotional support to environmental nonprofits. Brave New World is a West Coast IPA with everything turned up to the max - huge bitterness, pithy grapefruit and resinous pine.
Tempest Brewing Co beers - with the odd exception - are vegan friendly.
Table Beer (3.1%) - The Kernel Brewery
£2.49 for 330ml
Most beer lovers will be familiar with this enigmatic, Bermondsey-based brewery. Their minimal and unassuming, brown labelled beers are a stark contrast to those of their peers. Table Beer is brewed from maximum flavour and drinkability with an ever-changing line-up of hops. Light, refreshing and low on alcohol, a masterclass in sophistication.
The Kernel Brewery beers are mostly vegan with the occasional clearly marked exception that may use honey or lactose.
Rondo Red 2018 (11.5%) - Polgoon
£14.95 for 75cl
Founded in 2004, the award-winning Polgoon seeks to produce high quality still and sparkling English wines. Their artisan vineyard and winery is based in Penzance, located on the hills overlooking Mounts Bay, Cornwall. Rondo Red 2018 is made from a single variety of grape grown at Polgoon and displays notes of blackcurrant, redcurrant and plum followed by a smooth vanilla finish.
All Polgoon products - juices, ciders and wines - are vegan approved.
Organic Rhubarb and Ginger - Lovely Drinks
£35 for 24 x 250ml
Based in a rural location just outside of Bristol, Lovely Drinks are an award-winning producer of artisan sodas and juices. Organic Rhubarb and Ginger is a light and warming new addition to their range of drinks. Made with pressed organic rhubarb and a small amount of organic unrefined sugar. Perfect on its own or as a partner to a premium craft rum.
Lovely Drinks are vegan-friendly and approved by The Vegetarian Society.