BR I N G I N G L O C A L F O O D T O L IF E
“Stamford Spruce-ter” and other fine creations Stoney Ford’s latest brew brings Stamford and Alaska together via one refreshing ale, discovers Matt Wright
TONEY Ford Brew Co. in Ryhall is brewing some great beers. Alongside Baker’s Dozen Brewing Co. of Ketton (aka Dean Baker who runs The Jolly Brewer), the firm is helping to revive Stamford’s strong historic link to commercial brewing. It’s a shame that neither brewery has yet been able to find suitable brewing premises in Stamford itself, but maybe this will change in the future (although with town property at such a premium, this will be easier said than done). It would also be good to see more pubs in Stamford and the surrounding villages always stocking Stoney Ford and Baker’s Dozen beers. In the case of Stoney Ford, The George, The Jolly Brewer, The Lord Burghley, the Kings Head, Mama Liz’s, The London Inn, The Tobie Norris, The Green Man, The Cellar Bar and The
Bull & Swan already do, but it would be great if even more places supported local brewers. I recently revisited Stoney Ford’s small brewery on Crown Street in Ryhall to see Tim Nicol and head brewer Simon Watson brew their latest exciting creation: “Stamford Spruce-ter”. The surprise addition to this 4.5% ABV pale-coloured brew is young sitka spruce tips, which – like all of Stoney Ford’s brewing ingredients – are sourced in the UK. Simon came across a beer brewed with sitka spruce while living in Alaska a few years back and wanted to make his own version. After much searching, he eventually tracked down a source of sitka spruce tips in Scotland, and later in Yorkshire, which currently appears to be the most local source. If anyone knows differently, I’m sure Simon would be keen to hear from you!
RUTLAND & MARKET HARBOROUGH LIVING SEPTEMBER 2017
The spruce tips are downy and soft and they give off a wonderfully fresh lemony aroma. There’s none of the strong piney smell to them that you sometimes associate with older pine needles. The idea is to create a beer with intriguing aromas and flavours, and Simon added the young spruce tips to the brew late in the brewing process – in just the same way that brewers usually add aroma hops. Handpicking these tips is labour intensive, so making this beer is not cheap, but both Tim and Simon were keen to brew it. I’m pleased they did!
Published on Aug 18, 2017