Sunday, 21 February 2016

Magic at the Wychwood Brewery

I’m going to confess; I am not a beer drinker. I remember naughtily sipping my Dad’s beer on a family holiday when I was around ten years old. My older brother dared me to, whilst my Dad wasn’t looking – it was a bad move, because it really wasn’t very ‘nice’ and my Mum wasn’t too impressed!


Since that moment, I have never felt compelled to taste it again. So this may be a surprise, especially for me, to find myself absolutely fascinated and excited about a brewery tour. Well, this little trip came about a while ago when I went to the BBC Good Food Winter show in November, I spotted the Hobgoblin stand and made a bee-line! My husband loves beers and real ale, especially bottled beers, and I couldn’t resist treating him to a little gesture of good will.  

Three bottles of beer chosen, I brought my husband a booklet back which detailed the brewery tour in Witney, Oxfordshire. It immediately interested us both, I work in food marketing so am always intrigued by great food and drink stories. It was booked for Valentines weekend – the perfect little getaway.


When we arrived, after a horrible pursuit down the motorway on a damp cold February morning, we were instantly greeted by a warm and snug setting. Walking straight into the shop and being surrounded by goblins was quite a joy. Next, we were transported right into the bar – a real bar, to meet our fellow drinkers!


Yes, unfortunately for me – it was time to have a sip and a sit down! I did taste Hobgoblin (it would be rude not to), and it was pleasantly surprising! I may just have found a tipple I like.
So after a drink, a meet and a greet the tour began, we stepped straight into the barrel store, and were told the great story of the origins of the Wychwood Brewery and the story behind it all.


Of course, I believe every great product has an even greater story and Hobgoblin is no exception, the first batch was created for a friend’s wedding – something to give the guests, and to celebrate a day of incredible love. I think, in 1988 Chris Moss not only created a token of love, but he bottled a taste so rare and loved by all far and wide. Magical.

Although the Wychwood brewery is actually very small, it still produces some 50,000 barrels a year! Although there is not bottling done at the brewery anymore, it can still be tasted authentically at the bar.
We then made our way through to the brewing area, and I was simply mesmerised by the machinery and barrels. Tasting malt was certainly a new one for me, and left a burnt toast taste in my mouth.

Malt - a key ingredient.
I think what is most special about this brewery is the fact it still is very much alive and pays homage to its roots (the ancient Wychwood Forest being a stone’s throw away). The brand has expanded rapidly over the years and is wild in its ideas, art and marketing. But, the fact there is still early artwork framed at every corner you turn (even in the toilet) goes to show just how tradition stays close to home.


After seeing where the craft happens, we were invited to a tasting of each variety back at the bar! Bliss and very humbling to sit on a bar stool within Wychwood!
I definitely enjoyed the tour and glimpse of the pure magic and witchcraft of Hobgoblin and it’s many wicked beers.

Great brewery, great beer, even greater taste! 
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4 comments

  1. I love Hobgoglin, I first tried it at Latitude last year and it will always remind me of the being there.
    I don't drink much these days, but I did enjoy a bottle of this last night. It is so tasty. I might jst have to try a few others from the brewery too!
    I think a brewery tour on Valentine's Day is a lovely idea - I get so sick of the typical flowers / chocolates / lingerie messages sent out by the media, but this is an original idea - love it!

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  2. Hazel it was blissful, and no giant tacky love hearts in sight. I love the brewery and the story, and my husband loves the beer. Naturally.
    I love how, in this case Hobgoblin reminds you of being at Latitude! :)
    x x x

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  3. I bought Mr FHCS a tour of his favourite brewery Shepherd Neame in Faversham, and it was actually really fun (plus we did a mini tour of the Kent coast too, which was lovely). If your other half likes real ale, look out for the ales by mail bottled beers advent calendar, it made a great early Christmas present for my husband last year!

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  4. I'm in the beer haters boat sadly. Think Alan would love this though!

    Lizzie Dripping

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