Created in 1968 to commemorate the renowned English writer, Thomas Hardy’s Ale is a limited edition barley wine. Numbered and vintage-dated to be stored for years (even over 25 years, according to those who have made it in the past); this legendary beer is finally back in production. A piece of English history we would like to share with you.

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What they say

I remember drinking Thomas Hardy’s Ale for the first time in about 1970, and it was a real revelation. I had never tasted a beer with so much flavour, body and intensity! It really opened my eyes and my palate to the diversity of styles a brewer can achieve when he pushes the limits… Thomas Hardy’s Ale was the stylistic reference point for other Barley Wines which came onto the market in subsequent years.

Steve Grossman, co-founder and brand ambassador of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

I was immediately struck by its profound complexity. It was a kind of hoppy wine. There were fresh notes of leather and tobacco, and hints of spiced hops and candied fruit; the richness of malt dominated the palate, followed by a long finish full of liquorice, leather, sherry and the bitterness of hops.


Roger Protz, author of The World Guide to Beer and more than twenty books on the subject

I participated in a vertical tasting of eight different vintages of Thomas Hardy’s Ale, including the very first, from 1968. I recall bringing that amber-coloured liquid to my nose and taking in the nuances of old books… Aromas that evoked leather and dried fruit, spices and antique wood. Other flavours came through after the first few sips. It was a truly incredible beer, almost twenty-five years old and still at its best…

Stephen Beaumont, beer writer and judge in various international competitions

I was very impressed. This beer could not be found in Austria, although later I managed to buy a few bottles. I still have some in my cellar. I would really love to be able to buy some new bottles and, God willing, have time to let them mature for another twenty years…


Conrad Seidl, beer writer, publishes his Conrad Seidl’s Bierguide annually


“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.”


Thomas Hardy, The Trumpet Major



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