If you ever needed to discover a brewery which has both an idyllic location and is steeped in history you would be hard pressed to come up with a better answer than Dartmoor Brewery.
The TasteOF DARTMOOR
Jail Ale - ALC 4.8%
A full-bodied, deep golden brown beer, Jail Ale has a well-rounded flavour and a rich, moreish aftertaste. Dartmoor has achieved many top awards with Jail Ale at numerous beer festivals.
Legend - ALC 4.4%
A classic cask-conditioned beer: smooth, full-flavoured and balanced, with a crispy malt fruit finish. Legend is golden brown in colour with an aroma of freshly baked bread and a hint of spice.
Dartmoor IPA - ALC 4%
A highly drinkable, light golden coloured beer with a unique blend of English hops that combine to create a spicy apple and citrus fruit flavour, finished off with a crisp, refreshing aftertaste and subtle hop aroma.
Dartmoor Best - ALC 3.7%
A hand crafted amber ale, made using Dartmoor water, Dartmoor grown malted barley, our core range of English hop varieties and an excellent new hop variety giving a very drinkable dry hop citrus fruit character.
Stating a claim to be the UK’ s highest brewery at 1465ft above sea level the brewery certainly is surrounded by beautiful & spectacular countryside views. It’s Princetown location means the famous prison is just on the door step and along with a choice of fine locally produced ingredients Dartmoor Brewery are aiming to extend their already dedicated following.
On my short trip there was a definite sense of four seasons in one day with both glorious sunshine paralleled by a sudden hailstorm, fittingly just as a stark and gloomy Dartmoor prison came into sight.
As I pulled into the car-park Managing Director Richard Smith came to greet me. The first thing on entering the building is the sight of a small bar with four Dartmoor pump clips that reflected the now afternoon sun. Jail Ale catches the eye straight away instantly giving a sense of history and cause the mind to investigate the tradition that little bit more.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A BETTER SETTING FOR A BREWERY THEN HAVING DARTMOOR ON YOUR DOORSTEP?
At Dartmoor Brewery we love brewing great beer using natural and local ingredients. To have all this and to work within the breathtaking beauty of Dartmoor National Park is close to perfection.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RANGE? WHAT’S KEY AND WHO IS IT AIMED AT?
Our flagship beer is Jail Ale (4.8%) - a traditional Premium Beer. Legend (4.4%) is a modern cask-conditioned beer, and Dartmoor IPA (4%) is a light golden, highly drinkable beer. Dartmoor Best (3.7%) is an easy-drinking session beer, which rounds off our range very nicely.
We use mainly English hops - Northdown and Challenger for bitterness, and Goldings for aroma.
WHAT THREE THINGS DEFINE DARTMOOR BREWERY FOR A POTENTIAL LICENSEE LOOKING TO TAKE ON YOUR PRODUCTS?
Throughout Dartmoor Brewery runs a passion for brewing great beer consistently, which is more difficult than you think. Our Head Brewer and his team ensure the first pint of any Dartmoor Brewery beer is as good as the last. Our ethos and provenance define us in the market.
THE HOPS SMELL GREAT, WHAT TYPE ARE THEY AND FROM WHERE?
We use mainly English hops - Northdown and Challenger for bitterness, and Goldings for aroma. We also use Northern Brewer, a German variety for bittering. In our Dartmoor IPA we use an Australian variety, Ella, for aroma and some UK Cascade in our Dartmoor Best.
YOU HAVE A REMARKABLY CLEAN FACILITY, IS THIS SOMETHING THAT COINCIDES WITH THE COMPANY’S ETHOS?
Definitely - it’s the first step to quality beer - a clean machine with which to make it. This is a big part of our quality assurance programme, professionalism and attention to detail.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT CHOICES ARE NOW BEING MADE BY CONSUMERS BY WAY OF THE BRANDS BACK STORY RATHER THAN SOLELY ABV CONTENT AND THE ONCE CRUCIAL 5% MARKER?
The craft ale explosion has awakened consumers’ awareness of beer styles and ingredients in beer, and they now demand a consistent favourite to come back to after exploring the vast choice out there. I feel that’s where Dartmoor Brewer’s beers fit in. Like a comfy pair of slippers!
AT TOLCHARDS WE ARE SEEING OUR CUSTOMERS MAKE QUALITY & CONSISTENCE TOP OF THEIR WISH LIST WHEN CHOOSING THEIR ALES. HOW IS DARTMOOR BREWERY MAKING A CASE FOR THIS?
We are corporate members of Cask Marque, and the only brewery in Devon to join this organisation. This also applies to our Distribution Charter which I know Tolchards also shares.
IAN, YOUR HEAD BREWER WAS KIND ENOUGH TO TALK ABOUT THE RECENT CERTIFICATE YOU HAVE RECEIVED FOR MEETING CERTAIN LEVELS. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT AWARD AND HOW YOU INTEND TO USE IT?
SALSA Plus Beer is all about the brewery conforming to the highest industry standards across the brewery and business. We will use this as our yardstick to ensure that we continue to run the brewery within the same high standards set by the SALSA organisation. Wholesale partners and large pub companies will be increasingly looking for their supplying brewers to have this accreditation, so we are well ahead of the game in that respect.
WHEN WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BEST OPTIMUM TIME FOR YOUR CASK TO BE AT IT’S PRIME?
All cask beers should be sold within 3 days of breaching to enjoy the brewery-fresh nature of the beer.
WHAT CAN LICENSEES DO TO HELP ENSURE THAT YOUR PRODUCT IS AT ITS BEST AT THE TIME OF POURING (I.E. ROTATING CASKS, CLEANING LINES ETC.)
As above, plus keeping to a minimum of 2 x 9 gallons per line per week.
YOU ARE CURRENTLY EXPANDING AND ADDING A EXTENSION TO THE CURRENT BUILDING. HOW IS THAT INVESTMENT GOING TO BENEFIT YOU? WHY DID YOU DECIDE ON MAKING THAT INVESTMENT?
We moved into our current brewery location in Princetown Station’s old sidings in 2016. Since then Dartmoor Brewery has grown and although we have brewing capacity, our shortage of storage space was slowing growth and efficiency. We have recently completed a significant development to double our cask storage capacity and future-proof the brewery for our continued growth over the next five years. We have also refreshed our website and marketing and sponsorship offers to make them more relevant to our location and provenance.
SITUATED A STONES THROW FROM THE PRISON, THE HOP SMELLS MUST GET TOO MUCH, ANY INMATES EVER TURNED UP FOR A PINT?
Not that we know of! Jail Ale was originally named Prisoners’ Poison, but Jail Ale rolls off the tongue a lot more easily! “Jail Ale - Best Kept Behind Bars”
Quick Fire -
Ian Cobham - Head Brewer
WHAT IS THE BEST THING AT THE BREWERY?
The people and, of course, the beer.
TOP FIVE THINGS YOU COULDN’T DO WITHOUT?
Beer, wine, chorizo, pizza and the sea.
BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Making great beer - it’s very satisfying.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE ?
To double production whilst maintaining our high standards.
TIP FOR A BEER DRINKER?
Try something outside your comfort zone - you might surprise yourself!
Find out more at www.dartmoorbrewery.co.uk