• Thomas Hardy’s Ale wins another gold medal

    The World Beer Challenge awards the fourth gold medal to the re-born Thomas Hardy’s Ale, back in production since 2015 after 7 years. In Estoril, Portugal, it is actually a double win thanks to the silver medal awarded to The Historical Ale matured in Hine Cognac barrels.

     

    There is undoubtedly a big risk involved whenever a piece of history that could even be considered legendary is revived. The Vecchiato brothers were well aware of this when, in the summer of 2012, they finalised the acquisition of the brand and the recipe of the legendary Thomas Hardy’s Ale, produced from 1968 to 1999 by the Eldridge Pope Brewery and later from 2003 to 2008 by O’Hanlon’s.
    Three years to carefully study its history, locate a brewery that could reproduce it, fine-tune the recipe and finally Thomas Hardy’s Ale was ready to be produced and, in 2016, it was officially launched on the market.
    The difficult comparison with the vintages of the past is amplified by the fact that this Barley Wine par excellence improves over the years, making a “direct comparison” with more mature vintages misleading.

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    Nevertheless, the palates of the international judges immediately recognized the same mark as the original, awarding the “new” Thomas Hardy’s Ale three gold medals over the course of 2016, to which a fourth has now been added: that of the World Beer Challenge 2017, which awarded this prestigious award thanks to a score of 95.3/100.
    The same characteristics narrated by the English writer Thomas Hardy in his novel are what strike you the most and are also mentioned on the label of the Thomas Hardy’s Ale:

     

    “It was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire;
    full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset;
    free from streakiness of taste, but, finally, rather heady.”

     

    A result that is echoed in the fact that The Historical Vintage Ale 2016 won its first medal ever, a silver in the category Wood and Barrel Aged, for its limited edition, matured for over six months in barrels that had previously contained French Hine Cognac.

     

  • The Historical Ale has reached the top list on Ratebeer.com

    The Historical Ale, a version of the classic Barley Wine Thomas Hardys Ale, aged in Cognac barrels, has reached its first, very important goal: it has entered the prestigious Ratebeer.com TOP 50 list after glowing reviews from the international community.

     

    Last year the “renewed” Thomas Hardy’s Ale was recognised and awarded at the international World Beer Awards and International Beer Challenge competitions. 2017 promises to be another rewarding year for the Vecchiato brothers, who decided to revive the history of this classic English Barley Wine.

    This time, the most sought-after endorsement of all – that of the general public – was awarded to The Historical Ale, an extremely limited edition of the Thomas Hardy’s Ale, aged for over six months in barrels of French Hine Cognac.

    To be precise, this endorsement was given by many beer enthusiasts who come together on Ratebeer.com, a site that enables visitors to review and rate tasted beers. Reviews and ratings for The Historical Ale are nothing short of excellent, with a total score of 99/100. This means this English “treat” has made the “TOP 50 Barley Wine” list, alongside some of the best crafts in the world.

    Comments by site members speak of fruity and barley notes; aromas of toffee, dried and seasoned fruit and wood, while the Cognac takes centerstage.

    This beer is still very young and will no doubt improve by ageing a few more years in the canteen, but it has already met the approval of enthusiasts all over Europe, especially Scandinavians who are particularly active on Ratebeer.com in late spring.

    The “classic” Thomas Hardy’s Ale, whose aroma and structure is even better suited to mature with age, has also grown steadily reaching an exceptional average of 89/100.

    Thomas Hardy’s Ale’s new adventure got off to a promising start and can already be confident that its community has never forgotten it.

  • 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.

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