Hawkshead Brewery are one of my favourite breweries in not just the lakes but the whole wide world.
Hawkshead Brewery was founded in 2002 in a barn at Esthwaite Water, using a second hand 7 barrel plant and over the last few years they have gone from strength to strength, firstly moving across Lake Windemere to Stavely and a new brewery nestled by the river Kent, then expanding from their 30 barrel capacity plant to a new 180 barrel capacity plant and most recently the opening of the new beer hall which is a sight to behold (you can read more about it here).
Hawkshead brew a great range of award winning beers, from the deliciously light and hoppy Windemere Pale, which kept me going on the lakes leg of the Coast to Coast walk all the way up to their even hoppier NZ Pale ale. It’s not just the pale’s they excel at, their darker beers like Brodies Prime and Hawkshead Red are full of character and always go down. They’ve even started experimenting with ageing Brodies Prime in whisky casks.
One of their biggest successes over recent times also seems to be Lakeland Lager which is fantastic in bottle and on keg in the beer hall.
The thing that strikes me apart from the great range is their consistency, I’ve honestly never had a bad pint or bottle and they are definitely my go to beer when in the beautiful Lake District, whether its a mid walk pine of Windemere Pale, post walk pint of Hawkshead Red or a skinful of NZ Pale I’ve never been disappointed.
Although Hawkshead have won plenty of awards for some reason I’ve heard a few people say they think Hawkshead are too main stream and not a craft brewery, I can’t disagree more strongly, the guys I’ve met are all passionate about their job and love their beer, this not only shows through in the quality and consistency of the beer and food they produce but also in their regular beer festivals (the next one being 23rd/25th March 2012) It would be easy for them to hold a beer festival just selling their own ales, but instead they acquire some of the finest ales in the land and serve them from every nook and cranny in and around the beer hall.
So if you see any of their beers on the pumps in your local or when in the Lakes, don’t dismiss them give them a go… you won’t be disappointed.