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Scott Lloyd - lost in Claygate!

By Scott Lloyd

Brightwater Brewery - Daisy Gold
Brightwater Brewery - Daisy Gold

The clarity and brightness, that is Daisy Gold - from the Brightwater Brewery - Claygate.


Shhhhhh ...... best not tell a soul, yet a chance discovery, not with a metal detector, but with a confused car GPS navigation system, drew me into the quiet parish of Claygate, Surrey, where seemingly there is no escape!


The village boundaries are quite distinct and the village is protected by agricultural or common land on three sides - keep patrolling those three sides and ...... well, to cut a long story short, a most attractive and welcoming public house and restaurant sits on The Green, or at least on one side of this small grassy oasis that is an essential drinking hole for those who may have possibly given up on ever finding their way home - a safe refuge from where letters, postcards or even e-mails can be sent to advise of a poor traveller's lament!


This traveller, was not so poor, at least on arriving - the bar at The Hare and Hounds was well stocked, the restaurant, L'auberge, even more so!  The staff, just a delight, and Veronique Loux calms the nerves with a soft southern French dialect, that would surely accompany the finest of reds from the Languedoc region. But it wasn't the reds I was after - more a thirst-quenching local ale.  Something to cure the initial predicament, but nothing too strong that may have responsibly prevented me from locating the A3 to Guildford and beyond.


Surrey's newest brewery, the Brightwater Brewery of Claygate came to the rescue.  A simple uncomplicated Daisy Gold 4% which stood 'bar-clipped' betwix two very bold Theakstons, a rose, or in this case, a daisy between two thorns.  Something felt very right about this chilled, medium-strength bitter, especially as the Brewery was in walking distance, where fermentation and relative beer states could almost be transmitted from pub to brewery, from nearby Telegraph Hill, a semaphore station built in 1822 to transmit messages from the Admiralty to Portsmouth!


Not at all put off by the pale colour - citrusy hoppy aromas were positively jumping from an ale that held good head retention and was an instant hit on the tongue, before pineapple and limes brought a hugely well-balanced fruit flavour, direct from Costa Rica and the southern tip of Florida respectively.

This was not a beer to sip, more to drink as if it were your last ever pint of real ale, for it is at this point. when all senses are programmed to enjoy, that the essential bitter-sweet after taste balances all that came before - a gentle refreshing bitterness oft found in Fuggle and Goldings hops.


This is a surprising beer, a safe beer, but not in any way lacking character.  Alex Coomes Managing Director and Head Brewer of Brightwater has said that he wishes to produce quality ales for discerning drinkers. Daisy Gold has just the clarity and brightness that I am sure he would hope to achieve.  So, inadvertently, I have revealed Claygate's most precious secret ... enjoy the hospitality of The Hare and Hounds and experience the delights of Daisy, but do keep it to yourselves ....


Details of other Brightwater Beers can be found at their website:  Including:  Wild Orchid - Top Notch - Little Nipper.


ps The Wild Orchid Porter has a whole vanilla pod in every cask!


Robin Hood Beer "Hits the Spot"

By Giles Lockwood

In an unexpected turn of events, 'hits-the-spot', was never more apt as Nigel Farage, the UKIP Leader, was well and truly beaten by an egg pelter in Nottingham (yesterday).  Being egged is an occupational hazard for politicians.


Help was at hand, as that saviour of the poor and thirsty, Robin Hood, provided well earned sustenance, following Nigel's hasty retreat to the well-known Bell Inn in central Nottingham.


This was breaking news to the staff and Landlord of The Bell Inn, who welcomed the UKIP leader with a pint of Robin Hood Bitter (abv 4%) from the Springhead Brewery.


What is good for Nigel must also be good for Beer Searcher, as this week, Beer Searcher focuses on the Springhead Brewery and Robin Hood Bitter - (abv4%).


Springhead launched in 1990 as a 2.5 Barrel brewery in Sutton-On-Trent.  With success riding on well crafted formula's, the brewery has since relocated to a converted mill near Tuxford, North Nottinghamshire.  This success has enabled Springhead to provide a visitor centre, brewery tours, and naturally increased production.  They can now be described as one of the largest micro-breweries in Nottingham.


Their current beer list totals twenty ales, ranging from their regular beers such as Roaring Meg (5.5%) to occasional beers such as Willy's Wheatbeer (5%), a German style white beer, complemented with a regional Nottingham yeast, brewed in a continental style.


Robin Hood Bitter, a regular amongst the ale-quenching pubs of Nottingham and beyond, is a dark traditional bitter - reddy/brown in the glass, with a rich sweet taste provided by Northdown hops, Nottingham Ale Yeast and the malts of Maris Otter Pale, Crystal and Dark Crystal, with the latter providing the reddish hue, and the rich roasty flavour.  The malty sweetness of Crystal adds the finishing touch to a tangy bitter overtone with the inevitable hint of caramel in the after taste.


The Springhead Brewery will tell you that Robin Hood was conceived and brewed to commemorate the last major Robin Hood Film.  The beer had its inaugural outing at the Robin Hood Beer Festival held in October 2009 in the grounds of Nottingham Castle.  Both crusaders of the poor, Nigel and Robin would, I am sure, approve of the unlikely location.  Comments from the Sheriff were unavailable!


Further details of the Springhead Brewery can be obtained from their website:



The Bell Inn Nottingham -' Where leadership could be described as the first egg in the omelette'!