A Glass of Herts: Mix Brewery, Hemel Hempstead
PUBLISHED: 11:09 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:09 17 February 2016
Laura Vickers discovers Hertfordshire's smallest commercial brewery
Hertfordshire’s smallest commercial brewery is Mix Brewery, a one- man band run by Mick Harrison, who has been brewing his own beer for 30 years. He took the leap to commercial brewing in 2014 after encouragement from friends, and works his schedule around a full-time job in computer software, creating his beers in a converted garage at home in Hemel Hempstead.
He prefers to brew in small batches because it gives the opportunity to create a range of beer styles and flavours. ‘While our customer base is very small, it gives people the chance to try beers that they have not tried before as they are not normally available from bigger breweries. We can even brew to order,’ he says.
Harrison also grows his own hops – the classic English varieties Fuggles and Bramling Cross – to give his beers an added home-grown feel.
‘Our most popular beer is Sarcazum, based on a classic Belgian wit beer, made with authentic Belgian malts and yeast plus English hops, coriander seeds, dried orange peel and one special ingredient that really makes the beer stand out. Maybe it’s so popular because it tempts lager drinkers to enjoy something a bit different.’
The plan for 2016 is to keep producing small-batch, hand-crafted ales rather than trying to grow too quickly, Harrison explains. ‘There are now more than 1,300 breweries in the UK and many will not be here in a few more years.’
After a sell-out performance last year, Mix Brewery will be back at St Albans Beer Festival in September. The beers are available in 500ml bottles from Dalling and Co, Kings Langley, and Beer Shop, St Albans.