A Glass of Herts: Pope’s Yard Brewery
PUBLISHED: 11:12 05 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:45 05 August 2014
Laura Vickers visits an award-winning Watford brewery drawing on a deep history
When Watford-born Ben Childs and Geoffrey Latham decided to launch Pope’s Yard Brewery (popesyard.co.uk) in their home town in late 2012, they chose a name that harks back to a brewing tradition. Although now a church car park, Pope’s Yard was the site of Watford’s first successful brewery back in the 1600s – it was named after founder John Pope.
Given the name, it’s no surprise the pair take inspiration from historic brewing recipes, and have been known to revive long-dormant yeast strains for their ales.
Ben and Geoff, alongside designer and manager Barbara Leenen, have developed six beers, ranging from a crisp, bitter single-hop IPA to a rich and malty dark ale which is barrel-aged for three months in single-malt whisky casks. The latter has already won the brewery its first award – Beer of the Festival at the 2012 Watford CAMRA beer gathering.
Looking forward, Geoff and Ben are excited about their latest special ale – a hefty 10.5 per cent porter. Made with lapsang souchong tea, it has a smoky, sour-cherry character.
Right now, I’d go for the summery Luminarie blond ale. With hints of passion fruit and pineapple amid a classic bitterness, it’s perfect for sipping on a sunny afternoon, and is a very manageable 3.9 per cent. Pick up this, and the rest of the Pope’s Yard range, at Beer:shop on London Road in St. Albans (beershopstalbans.com to buy online)