Severn Boar- A Gothic Revival

The Fall is an exciting time of year at the brewery. It’s Uley Bitter Harvest Special time when we do a special version of Uley Bitter where the aroma hop (the one added at the end of the boil for flavour) is green, i.e. picked straight off the bine and used fresh. This year’s hop is Jester, the first successful new English hop introduced under the auspices of the Charles Faram  Hop Development Programme some 10 years ago. We used its sister, Olicana 3 years ago on the Harvest Special. Jester is noted for its citrus flavour so will have a modern taste profile but created from an English hop rather than American. We look forward to the results.

But I told you that to tell you this. This year we are bringing back Severn Boar (abv 6%) as one of our winter specials. Severn Boar was first introduced by my predecessor Mel Griffiths back in 1996. It was produced to celebrate the 25th. Anniversary of the Campaign for Real Ale and was intended for release in the summer of that year at the Frocester Beer Festival. However, Sandra, the legendary landlady at the Old Crown, Uley who understood the symbiotic relationship between a village brewery and a village pub asked if she could preview the beer there. Three kilderkins (18 gallon barrels) were duly delivered. The bush telegraph and grapevine (can’t remember there being any social media back then) worked a treat and when it came on the pump it seemed that half the county had turned up to sample it. It was a sensation. For a strong beer it was eminently smooth, quaffable and thus deceptive. Stories abound about the effects of drinking Severn Boar and we have to say, please drink responsibly!

We brewed it for the next few years with great success until one year Chas decided to call it Pigor Mortis, possibly because we’d run out of Severn Boar pump clips!  Pigor Mortis of course was a totally different beer and Mel, incensed, and in a fit of pique, vowed never to brew it again…and he didn’t.

So fast forward to 2015 and we decided to brew Severn Boar again as a winter brew alternative to Pigor Mortis. Just one tiny problem: Mel had taken the recipe with him. The only clue I had was that he always said that it was a ‘super Ric’. Well, there’s a hint and an opportunity. Increasing the malt and adjusting the liquor ratio to get 6% was the easy bit. But what about the all important hops? . So, the first hop is the same as Old Ric, but then there’s the aroma hop and the opportunity to use and celebrate my personal favourite English hop; Brambling Cross. And Severn Boar has a lot of Bramling Cross on the aroma and nothing else. I call it the first English exotic as it has round fruit overtones and a very satisfying mouth feel. A wonderful hop. Looking forward to brewing that one next month. There will be more stories!

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