An Icon of UK Craft. 2nd Day

“Heston Blumenthal would approve of the Thornbridge approach to brewing beer.”

Steve Caddy, The Editor of The Derbyshire Food & Drink Guide

Thornbridge Halcyon 

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 7.4%

Size: 500ml (Bottle)

Today’s beer comes from an icon of the UK craft beer scene, Thornbridge. This year Thornbridge celebrates 10 years, making it a ‘pioneer’ of the modern craft movement.

Thornbridge is celebrating 10 years in 2015
Thornbridge is celebrating 10 years in 2015

As mentioned in Boak and Baileys ‘Brew Britannia’ Thornbridge’s origin was rather conventional. Unlike some of the more recent craft brewers, Thornbridge worked within CAMRAs infrastructure of beer festivals and awards, which appears to be the right call having trousered over 350 awards over the past ten years. I also think successful breweries engage with their local community and Thornbridge, through their Great Peakender beer festival and involvement in the Eroica Britannia retro cycling festival are actively involved in and celebrate the Peak District.

Their first beer was Jaipur, which still looms large as a staple of their core range. I have sampled a number of their beers and have always been impressed with the quality, however I don’t necessarily agree with Steve Caddy in that other breweries are probably pushing the envelope further than Thornbridge. His views could be because of their approach to brewing including a lab in their brewery, which should help ensure higher standards of quality and consistency in the brewing process.

The statue 'Flora', who adorns the Thornbridge labels
The statue ‘Flora’, who adorns the Thornbridge labels

Thornbridge bottles its beers in big 500ml bottles with colourful labels featuring a picture of ‘Flora’, a statue in the Italian Gardens of Thornbridge Hall, against different coloured backdrops surrounded by a golden border. For Halycon, it’s bright blue. I’ve gone for the Halcyon, an Imperial IPA, mainly because I haven’t tried it before and because it’s an Imperial IPA!

Halycon pours light, aromatic and perfectly carbonated
Halycon pours light, aromatic and perfectly carbonated

Light in colour and well carbonated, this beer is a fruit explosion. As soon as you pour you get a whiff. Its got a nice balance of citrus and bitter. It’s 7.4% and you know it. I get the feeling that when this is done, I’ll want more. Which is always gratifying.

Useful Links and Resources

Boak, J. & Bailey, R. (2014). Brew Britannia, The Strange Re-Birth of British Beer. Aurum Press Ltd


Author: Michael Lally

London-based Australian blogger, podcaster and wannabe photographer. Looking to tell great stories about the world of craft beer and the have conversations with the people behind the craft beer scene in the UK.

One thought on “An Icon of UK Craft. 2nd Day”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s