The 50th anniversary brew of Thomas Hardy’s Ale has been released — this year the beer will be available via Laithwaite’s.
In 1968 — the 40th anniversary of the death of the famous British writer and poet Thomas Hardy — some prominent members of Dorchester society founded a cultural association, the Thomas Hardy Society, to promote his works.
Among these there was the Pope family, owner of the Eldridge Pope brewery, who decided to celebrate the event by giving life to the historical Strong Ale described by the artist in his novel The Trumpet Major.
Hardy wrote: “It was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset; free from streakiness of taste; but, finally, rather heady. The masses worshipped it, the minor gentry loved it more than wine…”
Numbered and vintage-dated — given the predisposition of this barley wine to age in the cellar for decades — the 1968 Thomas Hardy’s Ale was meant to be a one-off, but production continued in subsquent years.
Fifty years later, a reborn Thomas Hardy’s Ale, produced by the brewmaster Derek Prentice at Meantime’s London brewery, is finally available on the English market thanks to the collaboration with Laithwaite’s.
With a black label with golden details, the Thomas Hardy’s Ale vintage 2018 keeps its characteristics unaltered: limited edition, numbered labels and predisposition to ageing in the cellar for many, many years. Only the alcohol content varies slightly, reaches 13% ABV.
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