In 2011, over a pint in a Padstow pub, Rhys Powell and Eddie Lofthouse started hatching a plan to open their own brewery. It was the only thing the two of them could dream and talk about, apart from the only other love in their life; surfing.
Rhys had studied Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, and was at the time a brewer at Sharp’s Brewery in Rock, North Cornwall. Eddie had been running the family business, The Atlantic Hotel in New Polzeath, just across the bay. So they knew how to make good beer and they knew how to sell it. Good start.
The next thing they needed was a name. They didn’t need to think too hard. After a quick glance out of the window at the fishing boats bobbing gently away, they settled on the name of the Harbour Brewing Company.
Then they headed inland to Bodmin, which is about as far from the sea as you can get in Cornwall, but from here they do have access to pure, unadulterated Cornish spring water which flows in to a state of the art brewing facility funded by Harbour’s main investor, Richard Rowse, of Rowse Honey fame.
2013 saw a step change in Harbour Brewing’s production after they won Sainsbury's Great British Beer Hunt competition. 80,000 bottles had to be packaged by hand in less than a month.
“Thankfully, the contract helped pay for a new bottling machine”, laughs Eddie.
Rhys left in 2015 to go surfing in India, but Eddie is still at the helm, leading a 15-strong team including James Rylance who left Redchurch Brewery to head up Harbour’s R&D work, and Stuart Howe who overseas production and came with a stellar reputation from Sharp’s Brewery where he mastered Doom Bar in its heyday.
James and Eddie’s passion for Cornwall and its abundance of ingredients was fundamental in Harbour buying a neighbouring farm and launching the Hinterland Project. Open-top French oak fermenters, a terracotta Amphora, foudres, a variety of barrels sourced from across the world and a custom-built coolship will all be used to brew some of the most adventurous beers in the UK, using ingredients sourced from the farm. Those beers will complement Harbour’s already impressive roster of core range and seasonal beers.
Puffin Tears IPA is a full and well balanced IPA with aromas of stone fruit and citrus with a nice well-rounded mouthfeel that is full. It finishes with a well balanced and mouthwatering hop bitterness.
“Everything about Harbour is made in Cornwall” explains Eddie. “With the quality of our ingredients, we have nowhere to hide. From our farm's fresh spring water to our unique blends of hops; if the beer sucks, it's our fault. We take pride in our craft and responsibility for our product. We are ambassadors of our home”.