Surrounded by 368 sq miles of national park and tucked behind The Prince of Wale pub Dartmoor brewing came to life. In 1994 they started out as a micro brewery and then moved to there new purpose built brewery on station road, Princetown. Since opening their doors they have been steadily growing towards their goal of becoming a national 'local hero' brewery. Richard Smith from the brewery takes us around and chats about they are and where they are heading with it.
Richard is no stranger to the brewing industry. Having spent 25 years in the corporate brewing world he decided to make a change looking for an up a coming independent brewery to join. He is joined by their new head brewer Ian Cobham (previously a somn) who is bring some new clarity to their current range of beer and is working on so great new ones to help grow Dartmoor brewery on the national scene. Smith says he thinks that Dartmoor brewery is a brewery that can go far a wide and once people have tried what they are offer he is expecting to go from strength to strength. 'The hardest thing is getting out into the market with so many breweries popping up' he explains, but even with the competition Richard seems to hold an unwavering vision of Dartmoor brewery sitting in more peoples hands in more places every year.
'We make great beer, It's not rocket science'
It's no secret that Dartmoor brewery is proud of where it comes from. They employee local people and buy local products. You can see from the names of their beers like Jail Ale and Dartmoor IPA that being located in such an interesting place as Dartmoor is definitely part of their DNA. Smith says that putting something back into the community is important to everyone at the brewery and that the local passion and pride helps drive them to be inspired to make great beers. Walking in the brewery you can feel the sweat and effort that goes into making the brewery run, they are expanding but there are a lot of parts that still involve quite some manual labor and this extra effort they give is where the extra passion gets put into the beer .
Usually at this point I start to tell you about the beer a brewery puts up but sitting here with a pint of Jail ale (which is actually going down a treat) describing the beer seems not enough. I mean the their beer is great I wouldn't be drinking it or writing about the brewery if I didn't think so. However every time I take a sip and I taste the maltiness I think of Tim Cox the local farm and his home grown barley , I enjoy the balance of with the hops I think of Ian and his young and up and coming brewer team pouring over their brew sheets and refining their recipes. I taken in the full mouth flavor and think of rugged and beautiful moorland that the brewery gets it's water from. The beer here if so much more than just a pint, even they say that that their beer is made from 6 ingredients, barley, water, hops, yeast, location and people. If you ask me that makes the beers they put out something special
Time to discover Dartmoor
So what coming up next for Dartmoor Brewery. Well, if you are looking for some excitement in your beer life they and starting up a 'Dartmoor Discovery Range' this February. Every 8 weeks they will be brewing a small batch of newly developed beer courtesy of head brewer Ian Cobham and his team. Ian is experimenting on the micro brew kit and they are finding new brews to bring to their existing customer and also to people who may not have tried them before. Their first out the gate will be launched in time for the Six Nations and call "Try One", followed by and red rye ale and a wheat beer. The rest of their line up will be announced during the year so follow them on Instagram and Facebook if you don't want to miss out.
A big thanks to Richard and Dartmoor brewing for showing me around. Having grown up in Devon, Dartmoor is a place I have spent lots of time and is pretty close to my heart. For me these guys are staying true to the area and would definitely describe them as local hero's with beer that can stand up on any national stage. Keep it up guys I'm a customer for life.