• Thomas Hardy’s Ale is back home


    Thomas Hardy’s Ale is back home in the UK: the Barley Wine par excellence is finally available on the English market, exactly in the year of the 50th anniversary… celebrated with a special vintage, the “Golden Edition”, available on www.laithwaites.co.uk.



    In 1968, the fortieth anniversary of the death of the famous British writer and poet Thomas Hardy, some prominent members of the Dorchester society founded a cultural association, the Thomas Hardy Society, to promote his works. Among these there was also the Pope family, owner of the Eldridge Pope brewery, who decided to celebrate the event giving life to the historical Strong Ale described by the artist in his novel The Trumpet Major:


    “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. The masses worshipped it, the minor gentry loved it more than wine…”


    Numbered and vintage-dated bottles, given the predisposition of this Barley Wine to age in the cellar for decades, the 1968 Thomas Hardy’s Ale was meant to be a “one shot”. But, as we all know, the story went differently…

    Fifty years later, the reborn Thomas Hardy’s Ale, produced by the brewmaster Derek Prentice at the Meantime’s London facility, is finally available on the English market thanks to the collaboration with Laithwaite’s Wine. And it happens precisely with the “Golden Edition”.

    Black label with golden details, the Thomas Hardy’s Ale vintage 2018 keeps its characteristics unaltered: limited edition, numbered labels and predisposition to aging in the cellar for many, many years. Only the alcohol content varies slightly and reaches an impressive 13% by volume.


  • “The Historical” vintage 2018 is coming!

    Six months of slow ageing, every year in different wooden barrels: “The Historical” project, a tribute to the methodologies of the past, continues with the upcoming vintage 2018. Here are some details about the new release!


    After the French Cognac Hine in 2016 and the American Tennessee Whiskey in 2017, “The Historical” project touches Scotland, from which the barrels for the 2018 vintage come from. This project was born with the aim of paying homage to the very first edition of Thomas Hardy’s Ale, the only one aged in wood (in that case it was Sherry). Now we are almost ready to officially unveil the vintage 2018.

    After the excellent results obtained from the two previous vintages, thanks to the aromas of Cognac and Tennessee Whiskey, Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical” vintage 2018 is completing its long ageing in barrels coming from a prestigious Scottish distillery, one of the most beloved Scotch whiskies: Chivas Regal!

    The first tastings, straight from the barrels, revealed an excellent balance between caramel and brandied fruits notes, with perceptible woody and smoky hints ending in a long, warming finale. Alcohol content also increases: it’ll exceed 13% of the volume.

    Packaged in 25 cl bottles, with vintage-dated and numbered labels, the brand new Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical” should be released on the market before the end of 2018, thus celebrating in the best way the 50th anniversary of the legendary Barley Wine.


  • 50th Anniversary for Thomas Hardy’s Ale

    The Italian exhibition “Beer Attraction 2018” was the right opportunity to reveal the vintage 2018 of the Thomas Hardy’s Ale: brewed for the first time in 1968, the English barley wine celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special edition.


    Black label and golden details: the vintage 2018, a special version dedicated to the golden anniversary of the Thomas Hardy’s Ale, slightly break with tradition. The world première of the brand new packaging has been presented last days at Beer Attraction in Rimini (Italy).

    As a matter of fact, the story of the quintessential barley wine began in 1968, when the English Eldridge Pope Brewery released the first bottles of Thomas Hardy’s Ale, inspired by the strong beer of Dorchester described by Hardy in 1880.

    Fifty years later, Thomas Hardy’s Ale celebrates its half-century with a special label, which preserves its characteristic icons: the writer’s effigy, the quote, the serial number on each bottle and – obviously – the vintage date, in order to stock some bottles in cellar for a decade.

    Alcohol degree is slightly higher: 13% of the volume, thank to a better fermentation.

    In conclusion, the reasons to collect some bottles of Thomas Hardy’s Ale vintage 2018 Golden Edition are numerous: it only remains to wait the beginning of the sale of this new vintage, which will be available next Spring.

  • Introducing the new “The Historical”, matured in Tennessee Whiskey barrels

    The 2017 vintage of Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical”, matured in Tennessee Whiskey barrels, is being introduced at the international HoReCa Expo trade fair hosted in Ghent, Belgium. An opportunity to taste this year’s vintage directly from the barrel.                                                


    Participants at the international HoReCa Expo in Ghent, Belgium, can stop at the Thomas Hardy’s Ale booth and taste the new vintage of “The Historical” from the barrel prior to the launch on the market of the traditional 25 cl bottles.

    The HoReCa Expo is one of the most prestigious international Food & Beverage events in the world. Last year it hosted the introduction of the 2016 vintage of “The Historical” which had been matured in Hine Cognac barrels. This particular beer was a sensational triumph and the few thousand bottles produced in a limited edition literally flew of the shelves.

    The 2017 vintage of Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical” was developed with the same production method as last year’s. It matured in barrels for six months. The difference being that this year, instead of maturing in Cognac barrels, “The Historical” was matured in Tennessee Whiskey barrels. In twenty-five 250 litre barrels, to be exact.

    Doing the math is pretty easy here: a few thousand bottles were produced this year as well. As always, they have been numbered and vintage-dated and released in a single edition. They will most definitely be a sell-out as well and will enhance the cellars of Barley Wine aficionados who will have to wait patiently as they let the bottles refine – as dictated by tradition.

    Any description runs the risk of being too trivial: the complexity of the bouquet resulting from the American Whiskey is impactful and makes one want to hold the beverage in a balloon glass for a few minutes and relish its woody, toasted and refined aroma before tasting it. The warm and full-bodied taste is endowed with a palate in constant evolution and a decidedly persistent aftertaste. The alcohol content is altogether distinguishable; there are no other alternatives since its ABV is almost at 13% and yet its drinkability is in no way hindered.

    The appointment for those working in the industry is from 19 to 23 November at the International HoReCa Expo in Ghent at Hall 6 – Booth # 6105.

    Bottles will be placed on the market at a later date so keep your eyes open and make some room in your cellar.

  • Thomas Hardy’s Ale confirms its title of UK’s best Barley Wine and is now ready to travel across the Atlantic

    New York State is the first to welcome Thomas Hardy’s Ale back to the US: the famous English Barley Wine, the finest in the UK according to the jury of the World Beer Awards, is being introduced in America with its Vintage 2017 for a special world preview.


    If there is any truth to the saying that winning is difficult but winning again is even more difficult, then the medal Thomas Hardy’s Ale won at the 2017 World Beer Awards is even more prestigious as it takes its place on the international brewer master scene.

    First of all, because winning the title of “Country Winner” (the UK’s best Barley Wine) two years in a row is no easy feat. A traditional style founded and confirmed right in England makes competition in this category of the highest level.

    This recognition is also a significant validation of the new work team led by the renowned English brew master Derek Prentice who has been capable of interpreting the recipe in the best way possible and re-establishing an authentic icon in the world of beers.

    An icon that American aficionados can finally enjoy after almost a decade: the American distribution network is still in its start-up stage but the very first bottles of Thomas Hardy’s Ale are already on sale in New York and Maryland, while experts in the industry in other American states will have an opportunity to meet Thomas Hardy’s Ale staff members during the upcoming NBWA Annual Convention in Las Vegas at the MHW Ltd. Booth Number 841.

    The product’s launching in the States also coincides with the world preview of the Vintage 2017, which won’t be released in Europe for another few weeks. We are all awaiting 2018 and Thomas Hardy’s Ale’s 50th anniversary which will doubtlessly deserve a very special edition…


    In the meantime, discover what Massive Beer Reviews thinks about the new Thomas Hardy’s Ale:

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