With a history of Michelin starred restaurants, and its ever-popular food festival Ludlow is renowned across the country as a town that really knows its food and drink.
Ludlow Brewing Company is no exception and has built a strong reputation locally and nationally for brewing outstanding beers ever since they first set themselves up back in 2006. The business expanded rapidly and moved into its now iconic Victorian Railway Shed location in 2010, which now has the capability to produce over 1.5 million pints every year. It also opened a taproom which in 2021 celebrates its 10th anniversary and continues to be the go-to destination for local beer lovers, with its Mash-Tun stage playing host to bands, comedians and whole host of entertainment over the years.
The ethos at the brewery has always been rooted in the heart of the community and its continual work to support local sports clubs, charities and use local suppliers wherever possible has turned them into one of the region’s leading businesses widely recognised throughout the industry for their award-winning beer and sustainable approach to brewing. They even have an ‘anti-beer-miles’ policy which helps to ensure that deliveries are within a 50-mile radius. As Ludlow Brewing founder Gary Walters says…
“We’re proud to be a local friendly brewery that makes good, honest beer for all those who enjoy a proper pint. We are aware of how businesses can impact the environment and we do our best to minimise the impact of our activities.”
Brook House Hops have been working with Ludlow Brewing Co for a few years now and are proud to supply our Golding and Fuggles whole cone hops to them for their flagship Ludlow Gold pale ale. Gary continues…
“We’re lucky to have such great producers as our neighbours, and Brook House Hops have always been keen to support us and offer their own expertise when it comes to hop selection. The fact that we can pick up fantastically fresh hops directly from their farm on our way into the brewery is of course a luxury that many breweries don’t have! We’ve been able to share knowledge and learn from each other to perfect our brewing process and get the most from all the home-grown English hops that we use.”
Consistency in hop quality and flavour profile
Although proximity to suppliers is important, we realise the natural ingredients themselves must always be of a quality that will ensure the final beer delivers the distinct flavour profile that brewers and their customers expect. Part of achieving this is of course how the hops are carefully nurtured throughout the growing season, but equally important is the harvesting process and the aftercare as Cody Palin, Head Brewer at Ludlow explains….
“Brook House Hops understand that brewing is a complex process and as brewers we need reassurance that hops, particularly those used as part of our core range of beers, are going to be consistent in terms of the quality and flavour profile they impart during the brewing process. Their investment into both indirect kilning to dry hops and dedicated cold storage is completely unique for a UK hop grower and means that all the freshness and aromatics from the hops they grow are locked in, and we can really tell the difference.
The indirect kiln maintains purity of hop flavours and aromas by completely separating hops from combustion gases during the drying process. The hops then go into controlled chilled storage and are kept at a constant 0-2 ֯ C, which although commonplace in the US, is still something of a luxury here in the UK. This process really seems to make the distinct flavour of the English hops we use shine through in the beer and sets the standard for how to get the best out of our home-grown hop varieties.”
Collaboration for SIBA Beer X
The close relationship between brewer and hop grower recently resulted in the development of a collaboration beer for the SIBA Beer X event, with Sales and Marketing Director Seb Nielsen joining the Ludlow Brewing team for the day. Cody adds;
Although our origins are in real ale it is important for us to keep up with trends in the brewing world, and so there is always a need to innovate and experiment with beer styles and recipes to satisfy the changing tastes of customers and to attract the next generation of craft beer fans. By having such a close relationship with our local hop growers we know we can get early insights into popular hop varieties and quickly get samples to test out small batch brews. We’ve always loved using English hops and they’re in the vast majority of our beers. Using them in different combinations, quantities and at different stages of the brew means there is an almost endless range of beers that we can produce, with even the newest hop forward styles that are heavy on aroma and fruity flavours potentially an option with the right choice of hop. With the wide variety of super fresh hops just down the road at Brook House you could argue that we’re spoiled for choice in Ludlow, so we’re looking forward to being first in line come harvest time!