Middle Road by Ampersand Brew Co
Modern Bitter, 4.5%
Sitting somewhere between a bitter & a modern pale, Middle Road has a classic malt base, layered with tropical fruit from Citra and Mosaic hops.
The live tasting of this beer was on 1st August 2019 #BeerBods
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Started by the family team of Adrian, Andy & Amy Hipwell, Ampersand Brew Co is based on their family farm, overlooking the villages of Earsham and Bungay in the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk and Suffolk border.
“The brewery evolved from my infatuation with home brewing that escalated a bit! I had a lot of encouragement from people drinking my beer and a desire to work for myself. There were no other craft breweries in the local area producing modern styles of beer so we bit the bullet and set up Ampersand”.
There was an element of necessity in the family’s decision to get into brewing too. Whilst the setting is idyllic, it has been a hard slog to get the brewery off the ground. Andy explains;
“It is very important to us to have breathed new life into the farm, which unfortunately is far too small for anyone to make a living from. For over a year, Amy and I worked evenings and weekends at the brewery as we ploughed as much money as we could back into equipment. I went full time in April last year, quickly followed by Amy in September."
You need to look no further than the Ampersand labels to understand the brewery’s philosophy. There is a gentle understatement to them that is more than welcome in an industry increasingly competing for our attention. But make no mistake, behind that simplicity is an unrelenting focus on quality and consistency, which is reflected in this week’s beer, Middle Rd. Andy introduces it for us;
“It’s my take on a modern Best Bitter. We have made it lighter in colour but kept some good light malty flavours though additions of Munich and Crystal malts. It was also important to use some modern hops such as Citra and Mosaic to give a real hit of citrus and stone fruit flavours and it has been liberally dry hopped. Like all our beers it is unfined as we believe this gives the best platform for the hops to shine. The name comes from the small road where the brewery is based.”
Now they’ve done the hardest part of crossing the start line, we asked Andy what the future holds for their small team. Will they be roping in helpers any time soon?!
“We have some very exciting plans for the future as we continue to grow. We will be welcoming our first employee in the next couple of months who is coming with heaps of brewing knowledge and will help us move forward with our plans to increase quantities and ultimately expand the brewhouse size. We also have been working with fellow Norfolk brewery All Day over the summer to start a naturally fermented beer project with yeast harvest from ours and their farm and aged in local wine barrels so we should start to see some of the first blends of that in the Autumn.”
Their on-site taproom is open to visit between May and September. Check their website for opening times.