Oz discovers ‘hops in heaven’ in Dorset bar

A tiny Dorset brewery is toasting success after been named as one of the best of British beer-makers by the UK’s top drinks expert – and to celebrate they are turning to making gin.

Oz Clarke – ‘some of the most impressive beer I have come across’

Gyle 59, artisan brewers in the remote village of Thorncombe, near Chard, won the rave review from Oz Clarke when the TV star wine oracle discovered them by accident.

Oz was recently in Lyme Regis, home of the brewery’s bar Cellar 59, when he was looking for a pint to escape the wind and rain on a stormy day and says he found hops heaven instead.

Oz was so impressed by the range of 13 hand-crafted ales that he has vowed to return to drink the lot!

He said: “I can’t believe my luck on the windiest Saturday this year. I had just had my eyelids turned inside out from the wind on the Cobb and was desperate for a reviving pint when I stumbled on this subterranean heaven full of some of the most impressive brewed real beer I’ve come across all year.

“They seem to have 13 different brews on the board and I intend to try the lot.”

Oz added: “Communities need breweries like Gyle 59, they are a leading light in the local movement that does so much to make this country worth living in.”

The beers, which are made with water from a natural spring deep in the wilds of Dorset, are unusual in that they are served up cloudy.

“We do not add Isinglass finings to our beers. This means that often the beer will appear hazy or cloudy,” said the brewery’s spokeswoman Amanda Edwards.

“This is intentional as we wish to keep all the flavour and goodness in the beer. We believe this is more important than being able to see through the beer.

“As we do not use Isinglass, which is made from the swim bladders of fish, our beers are suitable for anyone to enjoy whether omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan.

“All our beers are created with one thing in mind – flavour. We are lucky enough to have a unique supply of spring water which we
are using to good effect allowing the many different qualities of our ingredients to shine through.”

But Oz has a much bigger drinking session ahead of him in order to try all of Gyle 59’s ales, because besides the 13 varieties he saw on tap at the Lyme bar, the brewery also produces 19 different bottled beers, including exotic brews made with nettles, elderberry and coffee and a cheeky not to Her Majesty called Legless Liz, brewed for The Queens Arms at Corton Denham to celebrate the pub’s 170th birthday, which was also the Queen’s 90th birthday.

And to thoroughly sample all of the brewery’s output, Oz will also have to have a shot of the hard stuff as now the brewers are becoming distillers too – yesterday it launched Gyle 59 gin, a craft spirit made on-site by the travelling Devon distillery Still On The Move.

The new gin will sell at £38.50 and a bottle is believed to be heading to Mr Clarke.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.