Making beer is, in its very nature, ever evolving. As seasons and tastes change, so does the beer coming out of the new R&D brewery - it’s one of the many reason we love doing what we do.
We’ve grown used to the fast-paced nature of brewing - but even by these standards, 2018 has been mad and incredible in equal measures for us here at Harbour.
We’re so proud of what the team has achieved in the last 12 months - and this bit between Christmas and New Year has got us all feeling a bit sentimental. So here are some highlights from our best ever year:
2018 saw the launch of our new website, which includes a shiny new webshop - a significant step, as this means we can sell beer straight to consumers for the first time.
Our core range picked up several accolades this year:
- Our Ellensberg Session IPA was named overall champion at the South West Independent Beer Awards (where we also won three other categories).
- Little Rock IPA was awarded gold at the International Beer Challenge, while Helles and Antipodean IPA picked up silver.
- Little Rock was also named as the best American-style IPA at the World Beer Awards, and our Helles picked up a silver.
Festivals, takeovers, and extravaganzas
The UK is home to some incredible beer festivals and events - and we sped up the A30 to get to as many of them as we could.
Our lager bar at the London Craft Beer Festival in August was a real highlight. It was a risk focussing on something as divisive as lager (especially when dealing with a crowd of die-hard craft beer fans), but we were overwhelmed with the response and getting recognition for our Helles pouring at Bristol Craft Beer Festival in the Golden Pints is pretty special.
IndyMan and Craft Beer Rising (which we'll be at in 2019) were both as great as ever, and we were delighted to make an appearance at the superb Beavertown Extravaganza and not forgetting the amazing BEVOG team hosting us and our beer at the The Who Cares for Beer festival in Austria - That was a fun couple fo days!
In November we made the short trip to Plymouth for the first ever Vessel Beer Festival. Run by the team behind the brilliant Vessel beer shop, we knew it would be a special weekend - and it didn't disappoint.
2018 brewery collaborations took us as far as Dublin, London, and Arizona (via Huddersfield and Bristol).
We welcomed the talented team from Arizona Wilderness Brewing in the summer for our longest-distance collaboration of the year which is still in the Oak Vat building on the flavour we have already imparted from the apples off the farm.
You may have also spotted our three-way collaboration with Hawksmoor and the Guinness Open Gate Brewery. Along with the Open Gate team, we created four beers to be paired with some of the most popular dishes on the Hawksmoor menu. Lemon verbena saison, barley wine aged in white wine barrels, dark sour cherry-infused beer fermented in foudres - these are now all available at Hawksmoor Borough as an alternative to the wine flight.
We also teamed up with good friends Arbor, Magic Rock, Fuller’s, and more recently Beavertown where we used the coolship for the first time. where we were very happy to play host, as we have some shiny new equipment to show off – We are also planning something big for summer 2019 so keep your eyes peeled for a big collab.
New brewer, new brewery
Years of planning and discussions finally came into fruition this year, as we opened the doors to our R&D brewery.
The new brewing project is being headed up by James Rylance and the kit includes one of the country’s only mobile coolships, Fourdres, amphora, barrels and is all about mixed/wild/spontaneous fermentation and brewing from as much as we can using ingredients from the farm.
James and the team have worked tirelessly to create a creative and versatile brewing space. It sits in the middle of a farm, surrounded by fresh produce growing wild in the fields - so we will end up with beers that have a deep connection with the area.
Several of the beers produced in the new brewery have made it to the public already, and the response has been great. Others will be ageing quietly here for some time.
As we move into 2019, we will continue using the R&D facility to push our boundaries, as well as maintaining the high quality that people rightly expect from our core range. We’ve just finished the tasting room at our new brewery, and have big plans for events next year - so watch this space.
Thanks to the team for making 2018 incredible, and here’s to a busy 2019.