• A unique opportunity to buy a Vintage 1968 bottle…

    Athelhampton and Dukes Auctioneers are organising a charity auction on 25 March 2023. It will include some bottles of 1968 Thomas Hardy’s Ale!

    But that’s not all: some rare bottles will also be auctioned off, such as the 2014 Thomas Hardy’s Ale “Preview Edition” and the 2018 Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical” aged in Armagnac barrel, both produced in a few hundred bottles and never officially put on the market.

    The proceeds will help the Dorset County Museum and the Fortuneswell Cancer Ward at Dorset County Hospital.

    To discover more: https://www.facebook.com/events/1354957678694106

  • Introducing the Internationally Award-Winning Vintage 2022

    The very complex production process and the crucial bottle-conditioning are finally over: after the judges of the world’s most prestigious competitions, it is time for us too to taste the 2022 vintage of Thomas Hardy’s Ale, the progenitor among Barley Wines around the world, and its “sister” The Historical aged for months in wood.

    What better “green light” for release than three gold medals at some of the world’s most prestigious competitions? It was the flattering feedback gathered at The WineHunter Awards in Merano (Italy) and the Craft Beer Awards in London that convinced us that yes, Vintage 2022 is finally ready to meet the public.

    After all, as you know, Thomas Hardy’s Ale has always been brewed with traditional techniques and long fermentation and maturation times. Even once bottled, this unique 13% alcohol beer is only at the beginning of its evolutionary journey, which will last up to 25 years.

    Despite its young age, Thomas Hardy’s Ale vintage 2022 has already amazed the WineHunter’s sommeliers, who awarded it the gold medal without hesitation; a trophy that matches the silver medal won a few days later in London.

    Always packed in 33 cl bottles with the classic numbered and vintage dated label, this beer is able to offer new emotions after each year of maturation in the cellar.

    The successful Thomas Hardy’s Ale “The Historical” project also continues. Every year, a small quantity of the English Barley Wine is aged in different types of wood: from ex-Cognac, Bourbon, Scotch or Armagnac casks to the brand new French oak chosen for the 2022 vintage.

    Precisely because of this, this very special beer is softer and gently, despite the fact that the alcohol content reaches 13.1%, capable of repeating the gold medal from Merano at the British Craft Beer Awards.

    Here too, the 25 cl bottle size and the vintage and numbered label are confirmed, for collecting and preserving over the years.

    Produced only once a year in a few thousand bottles for various international markets, Thomas Hardy’s Ale and Thomas Hardy’s Ale The Historical are distributed by Interbrau.

  • 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.

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