Situated near Worksop, the Welbeck Abbey has been home in the past to monks, earls and an army training college. Most recently it has become home to the Welbeck Project, a community of business, education and arts initiatives.
Part of this is Welbeck Abbey Brewery. Founded in 2011 with a little help from the late Dave Wickett and Kelham Island Brewery, this 10 barrel plant is producing some very good cask ales. And on an overcast Tuesday night members of Dronfield CAMRA sub-branch paid a visit to the brewery for a tour.
We were welcomed with pints of Red Feather, a best bitter and a new pale ale called Harley. Harley is a new beer, although some of us had already sampled this beer at the Travellers Rest in Apperknowle the previous weekend and pleased to be reacquainted with this beers hoppy flavour.
There followed a tour of the brewery lead by head brewster Claire Monk, who was an excellent host who explained the brewing process, took us through the ingredients and answered many questions of the curious Dronfield CAMRA members very well.
Welbeck Abbey concentrate on the local market, and look more to produce good characterful beers at sessionable strength over the more experimental beers (or ‘faddy’ beers as brewster Claire put it). They are also looking at the possibility of using barley grown on the Welbeck Abbey estate for their own malt in the future.
After the tour was over and more Harley and Red Feather had been drunk, we made the short trip to the Butchers Arms in Woodsetts near Worksop. This is a village pub run by Raw Brewery with an excellent array of cask ales from the likes of Black Jack, Darkstar, and of course Raw themselves. A very good end to a most enjoyable evening.