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Hillside Brewery, Over the Hill

Has craft beer called last orders on Mild?” wrote Tony Naylor in The Guardian last week. Not if Hillside Brewery have got anything to do with it...

“Over the Hill, our dark mild, is my favourite beer in our range. It’s a neglected and almost forgotten style of beer, which we are trying to resurrect and promote.  Our drinkers love the strong coffee and chocolate flavours and it has a good amount of body to back it up. It’s rapidly becoming one of our most popular brews” explains industry veteran, head brewer and beer sommelier Derek Orford.

Derek was brought on board by 26-year-old Paul Williamson whose dad, Peter, had been sent the particulars of a brewery for sale in late 2012. They couldn’t resist and soon got to work on transforming the spectacular site based on a 40 acre farm in Longhope, Gloucestershire, overlooking the Cotswold escarpment. They renovated some old barns to provide more space and then filled it with kit, equipping them with everything they would need to create beers fit for the 21st century.

Hillside Brewery are about to celebrate their first birthday having been launched in May last year. The microbrewery has a 6 barrel capacity so with four people brewing twice a week, they can produce 2000 litres. “We don’t really have defined roles” Paul tells us. “We’re growing so quickly that everyone just has to muck in and do a bit of everything”.

A solid stable of core beers is complemented by a critically acclaimed ‘Craft Specials’ range which include a stunning 9% Belgian Quad using some experimental hops and a 7% American IPA. They might be able to make beers celebrating the best of British brewing heritage, but they know where the future lies too.  All of the beers are worth checking out here.

We’re particularly chuffed to feature Over the Hill during CAMRA’s annual ‘Mild in May’ month. Weighing in at just 3.5% ABV the colour takes you by surprise when pouring (and on that point, go steady as it’s bottle conditioned), looking much like a porter. It has some light porter flavour characteristics too, with a lovely smooth mouthfeel and a bit of smoke in the background. The only hops used are good old fashioned (and local) Bramling Cross which provide textbook blackberry, pear, and plum fruit notes.

Old fashioned? Maybe. Yummy? Definitely. Certainly a beer style worth keeping alive. Our thanks go to the good folks at Hillside for doing exactly that.
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