Fulfilling a lifelong ambition, Claire & Jim Alexander, owners of The Ebrington Arms (near Chipping Campden) have started brewing their own beer.
Yubby Bitter, named after Ebrington’s old village name, ‘Yubberton’ is receiving rave reviews from locals, tourists and ale enthusiasts alike.
The beer is only available (alongside five other independent ales) at The Ebrington Arms and the couple’s other pub, The Killingworth Castle, Wootton by Woodstock in Oxfordshire, which they took over in December 2012.
Having developed a discerning palate at The Ebrington Arms over the past seven years, and being awarded CAMRA North Cotswold Pub of the Year three times in a row and twice runner up, the team were keen to try their hand at developing their own real ale and enlisted the services of a local expert.
Jim had a clear idea of how the beer should taste – somewhere between his favourite pint, London Pride and Flowers that used to be popular in the area but hadn’t been brewed for a long time. With local ‘Food Scientist’ Dr Julian South, the pair decided on all British malts and hops for a perfect recipe and the result is a copper ale with floral nose and bitter finish (3.8% abv).
Julian learnt brewing at Ind Coope Brewery (Burton on Trent) in the 1990s. He lectures about brewing technology at Campden BRI where he currently works as Head of Department for Chemistry & Biochemistry. Like Jim & Claire, Julian is a keen CAMRA member (Campaign for Real Ale) and an avid home brewer.
“We’re going back to how it used to be when pubs brewed their own beer,” said Jim. “Lots are doing it already but I knew exactly what taste I was after so we’ve come up with a very traditional English bitter. Bit of a dream come true to be honest.”
The ambition has come in part due to the trend of some microbreweries selling out to big supermarkets who are keen to jump on the ‘local’ bandwagon. This, coupled with a desire to use British ingredients in the beer recipe, as the pub kitchen does with its food menu as much as possible, saw them bag a space in the brew schedule at the North Cotswold Brewery in Shipston to get it going. Future plans could see the pair create their own brewery that they have space for at their new pub, The Killingworth Castle.