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Hesket Newmarket

Hesket Newmarket Brewery Limited
Old Crown Barn
Back Green
Hesket Newmarket
Phone    01697 478066
Fax    01697 478066
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Hesket Newmarket Brewery is in a barn at the back of the Old Crown Inn (Cumbria Pub of the Year 2001) and all brews (except Doris' 90th Birthday Ale) are named after local fells. The brewery, opened in 1988 by Jim Fearnley and launched by a telex sent by the famous mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington from high up a mountain in Kathmandu,  is now owned by a village cooperative set up in 1999.

Regular beers are Great Cockup Porter, Blencathra Bitter, Skiddaw Special Bitter, Haystacks, Helvellyn Gold, High Pike, Doris’s 90th Birthday Ale, Sca Fell, Catbells Pale Ale and Old Carrock Strong Ale
Big celebrations for Hesket Newmarket as they reached 20 years of continuous brewing this year! Congratulations to all! A new beer Hesket XX 20th Anniversary Ale was brewed to commemorate the event and was launched by Roger Protz, editor of our Good Beer Guide.

Manager, Colin Cheyne, left May 2008 and was replaced by Andy Webster, ex Conservative Club Penrith, who also held posts in pubs and hotels in Dorset and Somerset. He has since left and Greg Smith is the current manager.

Mike Parker, head brewer, retired from Hesket Newmarket Brewery in July 2007. His replacement is Paul Johnson, who is, as always, ably assisted by Arthur Walby.

Article from What Ales, Ros Berry, June 2008
The history of the Hesket Newmarket brewery will be familiar to many readers. It was started in April 1988 by Jim and Liz Fearnley owners of the Old Crown, in a barn at the back of the pub. In 1995 the Fearnleys sold the pub to Kim and Lyn Mathews, and in 1999 decided to retire from brewing as well. Villagers and beer lovers from further afield came up with the idea of setting up a co-operative to buy the brewery and keep it going. It was not long before 58 shareholders put forward £1,500 each. The success of the co-operative approach has been put forward as a model for similar enterprises across the country, not least in the Countryside Agency's Pub is the Hub document. Mark Graham ran the brewery until 2002

Mike Parker took over as brewer then, until 2007. He had previously worked in the Bass brewing empire; he was Quality Control manager for both the Hope and Anchor site and the Cannon brewery in Sheffield, before becoming head brewer at Stones until 1991. A former colleague was Peter Laws, now head brewer at Jennings. Amongst other things he was responsible for moving the production of the famous bottled conditioned beer Worthington White Shield to Sheffield. Mike recalls the early days in Sheffield when the brewing industry served the needs of steelworkers who spent 10 hours or so a day working at the furnaces. Some pubs would open at 6am to slake the thirst of men coming off the night shift. Other pubs got through 30 hogsheads a week, such was the demand. Mike and his wife bought the Joiners Arms at Lazonby in 1991 and made it into the Good Beer Guide. They sold it in 1998 intending to retire, but later the chance of brewing at Hesket Newmarket was too good to miss.

Mike used his expertise to bring a number of improvements to the brewing process: more accurate temperature control during fermentation was been achieved with better insulation, and installation of a paraflow improved efficiency. Customers obviously appreciated the difference as beer sales then doubled. Further major improvements: the brewhouse moved upstairs, and the fermentation vessels to the ground floor. Mike upgraded from four barrel capacity to ten barrels, and created a cask storage area.

Mike retired in 2007 and was replaced as head brewer by Paul Johnson, who had worked with him at the brewery since 2003.

Hops come from Charles Faram near Malvern and malt from Simpsons of Berwick on Tweed.

The beer range includes a wide variety of styles and tastes, including the Great Cockup Porter, a
The BEER RANGE Great Cockup Porter 3.0% A crisp chocolate malty dark beer - surprisingly tasty beer at 3.0% (great for drivers!)
Blencathra Bitter 3.2% A ruby traditional bitter
Skiddaw Special Bitter 3.7%A refreshing session beer
Haystacks 3.7% A refreshing ale for fell wanderers - pale coloured and zesty, with a hint of grapefruit
Helvellyn Gold 4.0% Straw coloured with a hoppy aroma and exceptionally smooth finish
High Pike 4.2% deep amber with a nutty malt character and complex malt bitterness
Doris' 90th Birthday ale 4.3% A full flavoured fruity premium beer
Sca Fell Blonde 4.3% pale and refeshing but substantial bitter - a good one to get lager drinkers to try!
Catbells Pale Ale 5.0% Refreshing easy to drink smooth pale ale
Old Carrock Strong ale 6.0% Dark red strong ale with a classic Christmas pudding flavour!

Apart from the Old Crown the brewery supplies around fifteen pubs on a regular basis, including, in West Cumbria, the Fish at Buttermere and the Square Orange café bar in Keswick. Another 20 or so pubs take Hesket beers on an occasional basis.

Kim Mathews eventually decided to put the Old Crown on the market and the pub also became a village co-operative. Shares, not surprisingly, were fully subscribed within three weeks! The pub and brewery are strongly championed by Prince Charles, who has visited several times; he opened the brewery extensions in 2004 and admired the bottling facilities in 2007. He has made several further visits in connection with 'the Pub is the Hub' campaign supporting rural community pubs.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 November 2010 18:36