Get into the Autumn spirit: 8 must-try Norfolk tipples
- Credit: Archant
East Anglia is home to some of the finest breweries and distilleries in the UK. We've got the pick of the crop to see Autumn through.
• The Norfolk Sloe Company
The ghostly black dog said to roam the East Anglian coast has inspired songs, football clubs, and now a range of artisanal liquors and spirits from The Norfolk Sloe Company that champion local produce.
Tipple: Black Shuck Gin - using Norfolk Lavender, Sea Buckthorn and Norfolk Bore water amongst a range of more traditional botanicals, there's nothing frightening about this spirit.
• Whin Hill Norfolk Cider
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Founded in the early nineties, Whin Hill Norfolk Cider produces farm-to-table cider, perry and apple juice. The fruit is grown in orchards in Stanhoe and the drinks produced in their 18th Century barn in Wells-next the Sea.
Tipple: Summer Lite Cider - a light summer punch, mixing 60pc cider with 40pc apple juice.
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• The English Whiskey Company, St George's Distillery
Using Norfolk barley and Breckland water, father and son team James and Andrew Nelstrop joined forced with Iain Henderson, a noted distiller from Laphroig, to get the first English Whiskeys in production in over one hundred years. Henderson trained David Fitt from Greene King, now chief whiskey maker, and the company now boasts a range of award winning products.
Tipple: Peated Single Malt - long, spicy and smoky- perfect for autumn evenings.
• Adnams Copper House Distillery
Opened in 2010, the distillery has added another chapter to the rich history of Adnams Brewery in Southwold. Not only do they use the same local ingredients for the spirits as for their beers, Copper House is also the most energy-efficient distillery in the UK.
Tipple: Adnams Absinthe Rouge - coloured with Hibiscus flowers, one of the distinctive ingredients used in Adnams' award winning Copper House Gin, this is head distiller John McCarthy's nod to an ancient, mysterious spirit famously favoured by artists.
• The Norfolk Cider Company
Continuing a long tradition of cider making, this is the oldest cider company in the county. Made from culinary and dessert apples, rather than the more traditional cider apples, these ciders have lower tannin levels and drink more like an apple wine. You can catch them demonstrating apple milling and pressing at regional shows across Norfolk – with the obligatory cider tastings too, of course. Ciders are available by mail order from their website.
Tipple: Kingfisher Farm Cider – a must-try medium dry. This is the only draught cider on offer from the brewery; you can find it in pubs across the region.
• Winbirri Wines
A family vineyard situated right on the River Yare, Winbirri are raising the profiles of Norfolk Wine. Their passion and commitment to control over every stage of the wine-making process has brought them a range of accolades and awards since they planted the first 2.5 acres in 2007.
Tipple: Bacchus 2015 – winner of the English and Welsh Wine of the Year competition, it's a dry wine bursting with apricot and lemon and a rich varietal character.
• The Fat Cat Brewery
Maybe best known for their thriving pubs which serve the brewery's own ales and ciders alongside a host of specialist guest drinks, The Fat Cat puts their success down to a small, hand-picked team. Early on, founder Colin Keatley got Ray Ashworth (formerly of Woodforde's Brewery) on board as a consultant and they've had great success over the years, winning many awards and expanding their premises.
Tipple: The Fat Cat Honey Ale – made with Norfolk Honey and Pilgrim hops, for a last hark back to summer.
• Redwell Brewery
A Bracondale based brewery with a focus on the best ingredients treated with patience and skill, and commitment to rejuvenating Norwich's rich brewing history. Both the head brewers have had a beer featured in the '1001 beers to try before you die' book, and the brewery has won several awards since it was founded, including Best Pale Ale in the UK.
Tipple: Kofra Stout – a collaboration with the coffee shop Kofra in Norwich, this perfectly combines the passions of two local companies. A rich, fruity stout that uses beans from Guatemala and Costa Rica, alongside chocolate malt and roasted barley.
• Always remember to drink responsibly, visit drinkaware.co.uk for more information.