Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Real Ale (*****)

Laverstoke Park Farm Real Organic Ale - best enjoyed when a) in a mason jar and b) on a picnic

Laverstoke Park Farm Real Organic Ale - best enjoyed when a) in a mason jar and b) on a picnic

(5% English make from 500 cl bottle) The cartoon farmer cannot be wrong: best enjoyed from a mason jar sitting outside for a picnic, and that is precisely how this one went down.  I would say that Laverstoke Park Farm would have it no other way, with an ethos steeped in concern and benevolence for the environment.

Real Ale…with benefits

This delicious ale is not only Certified as a Real Ale by CAMRA, but it also certified organic by the Soil Association as well receiving the Gold Taste Award for both 2008 & 2009.  The first distinction means that this ale adheres to CAMRA guidelines for providing a ‘living’ ale in a bottle, so pour carefully! To be a real ale, amongst other criteria such as having all natural ingredients, the ale must be put in a cask or in the bottle with live yeast cultures to undergo a  secondary fermentation process. While many ales are simply packaged and sent off, a Real Ale is one that has been bottled with the necessary yeasts to allow it to continue to ferment and develop the unique aroma and taste that a Real Ale has to offer.

From the field to the fork

The second distinction, that of being certified organic, stems from Laverstoke Park Farm’s founder having a grounding in environmental sustainability while not sacrificing taste, ‘Jody Scheckter started his organic/biodynamic farm in Hampshire to produce the best-tasting, healthiest food without compromise for himself and his family‘. That said, they do not disappoint on this ale!

Laverstoke Park Farm asserts itself to be ‘known as the University of Organics’, and when it comes to this their first ale they take a very scientific approach:

“Our micro-biology lab continuously tests the soils, adding compost and compost teas so that the biology in the soil has the right proportions of beneficial bacteria and fungi for the hops and barley to be at their best and most flavoursome. This creates the deep flavours of the beer”.

The taste!

As seen in the above picture, this ale pours a golden colour richly looking nearly like honey. Their was a slightly frothy head on the pour with a consistent bubble.  The smell and the ensuing taste were that of a mildly sweet malt character followed by a nice dry bite, even something like a mild IPA in its hoppiness.  Perfectly drinkable on a warm day from a mason jar!

On the pour you need to make an important decision: cloudy or clear.  This is because with it being a Real Ale, there are active yeasts still working away in the bottle. Hence the darker material at the bottom of the bottle if you look at it before you pour. Personally, I poured most of the bottle on the first go leaving the yeasts and sugars in the bottle to try it out first, and then (not being able to let beer go to waste) poured the rest in on top.

Get involved locally!

Did you know that London is host to the only all organic weekly market? Take a trip up to Stoke Newington’s Farmer’s Market for some ultra local produce. To top off a few bags of carrots and some locally sourced meats, pick up some delicious ales from Pitfied Brewery who sell their brews at the market as well.  They, like Laverstoke Park Farm, offer only certified organic beers, and come in a wonderful variety of styles as well. A review of one of their beers is due in short form.

There is another option as well if looking to support local producers: join a veg box scheme. What is a veg box scheme? The long and short of it is a program where you collect a weekly box of fruits and/or veggies which you can be assured helps reduce your food miles and support local producers. As per an organisation local to me called Growing Communities:

Last year, 81% of our vegetables and 23% of the fruit in our fruit bags came direct from local farms while overall 87% of our vegetables came from the UK. We never buy air-freighted produce or produce from heated greenhouses. Only our Fair Trade organic bananas come from outside Europe.

They have already set up for pick-up points within the east and north of London. However, if you are not covered by an existing area you should think about setting one up yourself: check out their Growing Communities Start-up Programme for more information.

After drinking and reading more about the Laverstoke Park Farm, all I can I say is that I will toast the next one to them!

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4 responses to “Laverstoke Park Farm Organic Real Ale (*****)

  1. Hi there,
    Me and my friend were spending the holidays in London, we are Dutch. We spend one night in the pub, and there we saw a bottle of WHITSTABLEBAY organic ale. We really think we have seen bubbles in the bottle going up.. Is it possible that organic ale is stil bubbling in the bottle? And how?
    Kind regards,
    Maartje Mulder

    • Hello – The beer you enjoyed was from the oldest brewer in Britain, Shepeard Neame. Bubbles in bottled beer can occur as a result of few things. First, they can naturally occur in the beer due to the presence of yeast in the bottle creating what you would call a ‘bottle conditioned’ beer. Often brewers will add a little bit of yeast as a part of a secondary fermentation process which enhances the beer’s longevity, delivers the desired head, and can cause a nice bubble in the beer. Short of yeast in the bottle, there is always the natural level of CO2 which is present in beer even if it is has been filtered and pasturised (yeast and solids removed). However, a final cause be artificial carbonation whereby after the beer is filtered and pasturised it is then carbonated with CO2 by the brewer. After looking at the brewer’s site, I would said that it is the second option, that of naturally occurring bubbles in the beer because of two reasons namely the fact that it is not a bottle conditioned ale and second is the style of the beer, a summer golden ale, which is meant to be refreshing and can have a little bit more of a bubble to it as compared to your standard ale. Not having had the beer, that is best guess!

  2. Hi! Just wanted to thank you for reviewing this amazing REAL Ale. I am writing from Asheville, NC which has become a major hub for the Slow Food movement as well as the craft beer movement. By brother and I own a wine & beer shop and stock both of the Laverstoke beers, I am actually enjoying one as I type! This beer has to be one of the tastiest English strong pale I’ve personally sampled. Its clean, with firm hop and malt characters, it comes across as caramel and apple skin to me. With absolutely amazing head retention, slightly cloudy, really flavorful with superb drink-ability. It is unfortunate that sites such as Ratebeer & BeerAdvocate do not pay super clean flavorful session beers such as this their due rights as truly world class. I personally have multiple cases of this ale in the cellar it has become a really great conversation piece as well as a great beer, biodynamic beer, you’ve got to love it!

  3. Pingback: Organic Beer Review # 2: Bath Ales Wild Hare « Tales of ales and more…·

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