• Thomas Hardy’s Ale encounters Hine Cognac barrels

    Thirteen wooden barrels used for ageing Cognac of the finest quality made by the French company Hine have “hosted” a small quantity of Thomas Hardy’s Ale for over six months. A return to its origins to celebrate the rebirth of the quintessential English Barley Wine.

    A preview announcement had already been released but nobody knew the name or details or the date of the official release. It will happen on 20th November when the new Thomas Hardy’s The Historical Ale will be introduced to the public attending the HORECA Expo in Ghent, Belgium at HALL 6 – BOOTH 6126.
    A very limited edition of this specialty brewed to celebrate the return of Thomas Hardy’s Ale that was produced for the first time in 1968 as a ‘one-shot’ and aged in wooden barrels for the occasion.
    This time the Sherry barrels used in 1968 were replaced by Cognac barrels: thirteen 350-litre oak barrels arrived from Hine, the award-winning French distillery.
    Almost nine months in the barrels has made it possible for The Historical Ale – the name chosen to convey the return to the beer’s origins – to develop its aroma and flavour while incorporating the essence of the Cognac and wood, which blend to perfection with the silky body, malted sweetness and notes of chocolate and brandied fruit of the Barley Wine.
    A few thousand 25 cl bottles and a 12.7 ABV are the final technical features of a beer that is even rarer and more distinctive and could easily be left in the cellar to age in its bottles for many years to come.

     

  • Horeca Expo

    We are pleased to inform that we will attend the upcoming Horeca Expo exhibition from the 20th to the 24th of November 2016 in the beautiful Belgian city of Ghent

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    HALL 6 – BOOTH 6126

    We will present our Thomas Hardy’s Ale and a brand new Oak Aged special release…
    Looking forward to meeting you there!

  • The best Barley Wine in the UK

    The prestigious World Beer Awards welcomed back Thomas Hardy’s Ale: the title of “Country Winner” in the Barley Wine style is proof that the 7-year interruption has not diminished this beer’s singularity – it’s “English” by vocation.

    Thomas Hardy’s Ale is finally back in production and it has already added another seal to its rich, tormented and illustrious history. After the recent gold medal at the International Beer Challenge, the title of “United Kingdom Country Winner” awarded by the competition’s international jury to the Barley Wine as the best in the country is the confirmation that Thomas Hardy’s Ale is ready to pick up from where it left off.

    After all, the label changed ownership in 2003 (and with that, a change of location for its team of workers and production) when the American importer George Saxon and O’Hanlon’s Brewery decided to resurrect the beer dedicated to the English poet and novelist produced by the Eldridge Pope Brewery from 1968 to 1999. Unfortunately, Saxon also was forced to throw in the towel in 2008 due to the high production costs of a beer that requires supervision, production time and the quality of prime materials that are far superior to those needed for the classic Lager beers.

    But today there is a growing awareness on the part of public which is always on the lookout for quality, authentic stories and a flavour that goes beyond conventions. In this regard, Thomas Hardy’s Ale has admirers and collectors throughout the world thanks to its smooth yet complex body. The beer’s many subtle flavours make it difficult to describe in just a few words: notes of candied and brandied fruit, dried figs, fresh tobacco, chocolate, bitter orange marmalade, dried fruit and chestnut honey.

    Another reason why it’s so well loved is because it ages very well. 25 years in the cellar perfects its structure and refines its aroma.

  • Voices from the web

    Ever since the rumour got out that Thomas Hardy’s Ale was coming back, we have started to notice a kind of positive vibration, a mixture of happiness and apprehension coming from every part of the world. When, in autumn 2012, the previous version of Thomas Hardy’s Ale website was launched (www.thomashardysale.com) messages began to arrive from fans. These messages are the most tangible indication of what Thomas Hardy’s Ale means to the world beer community. And they have amazed and thrilled those who have read them.
    This is why we wanted to share again the voices of the most important people. That is, the people who have loved this beer and who love it still, people who treasure the old vintages in their cellars, people who were keeping the last precious bottle without knowing when to open it, simply because they thought it was really the last…
    Below you will find a selection of messages from these passionate and enthusiastic people.

     

    Stuart says:
    December 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm
    When & where will we be able to purchase the beautiful elixir please?

     

    Stefaan says:
    January 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm
    Congratulations. I am looking forward to it. Please keep a few bottles for a poor Belgian home brewer ;-).
    But will it be with that same yeast strain giving it the “pineapple” taste?

     

    Håkan says:
    January 26, 2013 at 2:43 am
    Greetings from Sweden!
    Thank you for trying to bring Thomas Hardy’s back from the dead. This was my favourite beer and I still have 5 bottles of the old brew but they won’t last forever.
    I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing it on the shelves again.
    Good luck!

     

    Adam says:
    February 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm
    I just wanted to say thank you so very much for the resurrection of this wonderful Ale. This was literally the first beer that I had ever tried and enjoyed.

     

    Robert says:
    March 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm
    I just opened one of the 25-30 bottles that I have hoarded for the past 5 years, then decided to see if there was any new news. I am so happy to see that I won’t have to spread these bottles out over the rest of my life, I may go pop another!!!! Can’t wait to try the new batch.

     

    Josh says:
    March 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm
    It’s exciting to see that this beer may come back into production. I’m glad that it’s being done for the right reason: love of quality beer.
    I hope this makes it to Canada when the first batches roll off the line. Looking forward to it, and wishing you the best of luck!

     

    Kevin says:
    November 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm
    How is the progress coming? I saw the “Raw Materials” post in October. It got me excited. Is there any talk of a brew date or a release date yet?
    Respectfully,
    + Kevin

     

    Alan says:
    December 7, 2013 at 10:11 pm
    Having just found your website I look forward to tasting what I consider the nectar of the gods again. I hope it will be produced and sold in bottles, not in tins. I hope it will be produced in nips, 180ml bottles.

     

    Jim says:
    December 23, 2013 at 8:16 am
    The best beer in the world, ever!
    Believe me this ale is awesome…
    Even the astonishing and excellent Brewdog’s and DeMolen’s ones are not so great than the Thomas Hardy’s Ale! I’ve only one 1999 bottle left and live only for the day I will drink a Thomas Hardy again 🙂

     

    Andrew says:
    March 9, 2014 at 10:57 pm
    I have been nursing a set of bottles of the 1994 and 1995 vintages. Today I opened one of the 1994s and find it an extraordinary experience. I would not describe it as sherry- or even port-like. It’s like one of those dark chocolates filled with liquid toffee, infusing my entire head with its flavor. I am so fortunate to have held on to these. Why, I must have been gifted with great foresight! I can only hope I’ve retained as much perspicacity as this ale has retained virtue.

     

    Glen says:
    August 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm
    What great news, Thomas Hardy’s Ale is my most favourite of all time. Do not rush, it will last years, when you finally open it, slowly pour into a jug in one slow pour avoiding the sediment, then leave it to stand for an hour or two before pouring into glass, it will improve the flavour.
    Last year 2013 I had my oldest bottle 1988, it had a slight ‘cellar must’ initially but drunk the afore mentioned way was fine.

  • The legend is back… and has taken gold already!

    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.

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