September 2006: Thomas Hardy’s Ale, produced by the O’Hanlon brewery, was awarded the gold medal for the world’s finest beer at the International Beer Challenge in London, perhaps the high point in a story cut short too soon. Two years later, O’Hanlon discontinued production, because it took too much time and too much money to brew this Barley Wine first made in 1968 in memory of the English writer.
September 2016: ten years later, a new chapter in this history of Thomas Hardy’s Ale opens up from where the story left off. At the latest edition of the International Beer Challenge in London, the 2015 vintage of this distinctive ale came away with a second gold medal that appears to have brought its history full circle, confirming – if indeed confirmation were necessary – that the quality remains sublime, unchanged despite the new ownership.
This award is the fruit of four years of hard work that have allowed the Vecchiato brothers – who purchased the brand and the recipe in 2012 – to put together an outstanding team.
The official presentation of Thomas Hardy’s will take place on Monday 12 September, during Milano Beer Week, at Baladin in Milan (Italy), with a special guest: the English journalist and beer writer Roger Protz, one of the most authoritative names in the sector worldwide.
All we can do now is eagerly look forward to 12 September, to find out more and to get our hands on a bottle or two of 2015 vintage Thomas Hardy’s Ale to store away in the cellar so that the lengthy bottle maturing process can bring out its aromas to the full.