Wylam Brewery, South Houghton Farm, Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland NE15 0EZ
Now established for over ten years, the Wylam brewery of Heddon on the Wall in Northumberland, supplies over 200 pubs in the north east. On a recent trip to Northumberland, I bought three bottled ales from this brewery.
First up was Admiral Lord Collingwood Festival Ale, brewed in 2010 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Collingwood’s death at sea. He was a contemporary of Nelson and fought beside him in many major battles, including Trafalgar. He is buried next to Nelson in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, but his home was Collingwood House in Morpeth, Northumberland. This Festival Ale is a very pale orange in colour. The taste is sweet, with a nice, interesting honeyish midtaste, which fades gently into a fine, hoppy finish. This pale ale has a very nicely balanced, complex taste, and is a fitting tribute to one of Northumberland’s greatest sons.
The next beer tried was Bohemia, described on the label as a ‘Czech Recipe Pilsener Beer’. Well, we all know of ‘Czech style pilseners’ that you wouldn’t want to wash your paintbrushes with, so it was with a certain trepidation that I approached this beer. I was in for a real surprise. The initial taste is instantly sweet, followed immediately by a quick rush of hoppy bitterness. The hop bitterness dies quickly to be replaced by another short, sweet, honey hit. At the end of the taste there is a final hoppy rush. Wow! What a great package of tastes – sweet, hop, sweet, hop.Now this is what a pilsener should taste like – fantastic!
My final Wylam brew was Rocket, a 5.0% best bitter. It’s got a rich browny-orange colour, but my bottle failed to form a head. This beer is smooth and rich with an initial taste which has hints of treacle and a honeyish sweetness. Underlying this, and growing through the finish to the aftertaste is a satisfying slightly dry hoppy bitterness.
During my trip to Northumberland, I only found these three samples of Wylam’s craft, but if I see any more at any time, I will have no hesitation in buying them. I’ve not had any of these beers on handpump, but I’ll certainly be looking out for them in the future. Wylam is another name I can add to my list of must-buys. Highly recommended.
Words and images are my copyright, please respect that. All you have to do is ask. Thank you.