Brewing in Nottinghamshire
- Keith Osborne
15th October 2016
For centuries, Nottingham had a reputation for brewing good ale. In the seventeenth century, the diarist Samuel Pepys referred to Nottingham ale being sold in London. The city – and Nottinghamshire in general – relied upon a water supply very similar in character to that of Burton-on-Trent, giving rise to beers with a very soft and pleasant taste. The number of breweries was influenced by the nearby barley-growing areas.
This book delves into the history of the old commercial breweries in Nottinghamshire; Nottingham itself was probably unique in that the soft red sandstone caves underneath the city were ideal for the storage and fermentation of beer, being deep and cool, allowing the beer to be kept at a constant temperature. Breweries exploited this advantage and one – the Nottingham Brewery Ltd – advertised its products as ‘Rock Ales’.
A high proportion of the pubs and beer houses in the city and the county had small home-brew houses attached and beer that was sold only at their pub. A selection of home-brew pubs are listed – but it is probably the larger firms that will prompt the most nostalgia. Most people will fondly remember the massive Shipstones and Home Ales breweries in Nottingham, and also Hardy Hansons, James Hole and Warwicks & Richardsons in Newark; nevertheless, many other old-established breweries in the county are recalled in this comprehensive and meticulously researched book.