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Purity Brewing, Saddle Black

Purity Brewing might be based on a mucky farm, but this is a polished outfit heading in the right direction.

Since 2005 Purity Brewing have been one of a surprisingly small number of breweries flying the flag for craft beer in the Midlands.

Considering Birmingham is the UK’s “second city” with a population of 3.7m, it’s severely lacking in brewing outfits to serve it. The area has seen the demise of massive brewing names such as Bass, Mitchells & Butlers and Ansells over the last couple of decades. Purity are slowly, but surely, filling that void.

Based on Upper Spernall Farm about fifteen minutes south of Birmingham, the brewery was founded by two ex-Bass Brewery graduates, Paul Halsey and Jim Minkin, in some old sheep sheds.

They were helped by DEFRA with a £200,000 loan as part of their commitment to supporting rural enterprise. Purity were the first applicant DEFRA had from a rural craft brewery. They’ve fulfilled their end of the deal, bringing brewing and jobs to this quiet little corner of the rolling Warwickshire countryside.

Last September saw the launch of a new £1.5 million brewery, tripling production capacity and allowing the owners to start experimenting with new brews.

First off the line was this week’s beer, Saddle Black, along with the stunning Longhorn IPA which joined the neat but perfectly formed Purity Brewing beer stable of UBU, Gold and Mad Goose earlier this year.

The idea behind Saddle Black was Paul’s (now the Managing Director)… “As a keen cyclist, I wanted to create a beer dedicated to the British cycling community and as a celebration of the craft that goes into making both beer and bicycles.  Brooks England and Pashley Cycles are long established West Midland companies at the forefront of their trade and we saw a synergy between their passion and craftsmanship and our values”.

The resulting beer is a cracking little black IPA. It’s got a bit of everything. US hops are first on the scene throwing out pine, grapefruit and orange peel aromas like they’re going out of fashion. Dark chocolate, berries, and liquorice flavours all get in on the act as soon as you take a sip before a bitter, oily, espresso like finish. Weighing in at a boozy 7% abv, a nice warm glow lingers long on the palate… and the memory.

If you get the chance you should try and visit Purity Brewing’s first foray in to the world of bars. Pure Bar and Kitchen is a short walk from New Street off Birmingham’s Victoria Square, where you can find this week’s beer on tap, along with some brilliant Brummy grub.

Purity Brewing might be based on a mucky farm, but this is a polished outfit heading in the right direction.


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