Blog: Ale Tale
This month's Blog has been kindly supplied by our friends Whiting & Hammond. The Ale Tale was first published in their fantastic magazine, Gastro, in December last year and in it they speak with one of their suppliers, and masters of their craft, Turners Brewery in East Sussex...
Since making a very special ale for W&H last year, Turners Brewery in East Sussex has become a firm favourite for our Stanmer House patrons who are passionate about their beer and where it comes from. Say hello to the microbrewery that’s quickly becoming a top choice across the county
As any ale aficionado will tell you, among the best things about craft beer is its diversity. From deep, rich winter porters to lighter, fruitier pale ales, you never know what you’re going to taste next and no two brews are ever the same.
When it comes to microbreweries – small, independently owned businesses that produce a much smaller amount of beer than their larger counterparts – less is often more, with the specialist passion of each individual brewer evident in every pint pulled.
Enter Turners Brewery in Ringmer, who produced our very own ‘Park Life’ ale in 2014. Brewed especially for Stanmer House in Brighton, it has received the official W&H seal of approval, delighting our drinkers and leading to the start of what promises to be a very fruitful relationship indeed.
“Park Life was commissioned by Assistant Manager Bruce Simmons and the team at Stanmer, a stunning venue and a wonderful place to showcase what we as a brewery can do to support a business,” explains Kes Travers, Managing Director of Turners. “Everything from ABV and colour to aroma and the unique pump clip were chosen by the Stanmer team. Following the massive success and amazing feedback since its launch last year, we’re now discussing a second ale as the first has proven so popular.”
It has certainly got customers talking, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after ales served at our Grade I-listed venue. But before the creation of this bestselling beer, Turners had already enjoyed a short but sweet history that has seen them become one of the most exciting new hop houses in East Sussex.
Established in November 2010, the brewery is based at High Field Farm in Ringmer, taking its name from the well-respected Turner family, who have overseen proceedings there for generations and who help integrate the brewery into the local community. Initially lacking its own premises and equipment, Turners had to resort to the spare capacity of other breweries (a practice known in the industry as ‘Cuckoo’ or contracting brewing). But it wasn’t long before Kes and his team relocated to their own state-of-the-art brewery at High Field.
“Turners was started to help support, develop and diversify a local fourth generation beef farm,” he says. “Alongside the brewery, there’s also a butcher shop and smokehouse, which are soon to be followed by a farm shop and deli.”
Indeed, despite operating a plant that can produce 17,280 pints of Real Ale a week, it isn’t all about the beer at this idyllic family farm, as Turners also supplies the local community with fresh, home-grown produce.
“We’re very proud of the county we live in and like to support local sports teams, events and people whenever we can,” Kes continues. “We look out of the brewery over the beautiful rolling Sussex countryside, shadowed by the South Downs, with the cows that are fed on our spent grains in the field.”
That being said, beer is still very much at the heart of everything the brewery does. Whether it’s their Golden Ale or Indian Pale Ale, each pint produced has a consistent and similar ‘hook’, identifying the trademark craftsmanship that Turners has become renowned for.
“Our bestselling beer is our Ruby Mild; people love its chocolaty, smooth aftertaste and it’s simply a joy to drink,” says Kes. “Initially, this beer was developed seasonally, but strong demand means we brew it all year round. Some of our customers have it on tap permanently and we were surprised at how popular it was with the younger demographic, especially those of the female persuasion – maybe something to do with the chocolate hook!”
Chocaholism aside, the increasing approval of the Turners brand has secured them a place at the heart of their locality, as they continue to support Ringmer Football Club and Ringmer Cricket Club with their prized beers, tasting evenings and ‘Pie and Pint’ nights becoming unique traditions in and around the village. And while keeping things local can sometimes be a struggle, this hasn’t stopped Kes and his staff coming up with some new innovations of their own.
“We try to support local business as much as possible, but it’s not always easy, as there are no Sussex maltsters and the hop merchants are also out of Sussex,” says Kes. “We will soon be growing our own Sussex hop, which will again support the local economy by providing more employment. We carry on growing our successful business by generating our own unique market and are currently working on some exciting and ‘out-of-the-box’-style ideas to ensure we become one of the leading Sussex microbreweries.”
No worries there, then, as Turners has certainly proved itself to be among the most dynamic breweries in the region. And if Park Life is anything to go by, we’ll most definitely be coming back for more.
Turners Brewery is based at High Field Farm, The Broyle, Ringmer, East Sussex BN8 5AR. For more information visit www.turnersbrewery.com or call 01273 921 418.