With more and more breweries popping up it could seem like the industry is going from strength to strength, but the increased competition can put more and more pressure on existing companies. Last year one of our bigger local breweries in Hampshire, Oakleaf, went into administration. Without them, we would definitely miss beers like Hole Hearted (a local favourite and SIBA award winner), I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter (a winner in CAMRA Beer of Britain 2011), and the fantastic Blake’s Heaven.
Luckily the head brewer has re-emerged as Fallen Acorn Brewing, backed by an investment firm. On Monday night, I enjoyed a number of their beers at the re-launch of Hole Hearted at Southsea pub, the Hole in the Wall. Hole Hearted (a session-able pale ale with cascade hops) was as enjoyable as ever, and it was joined by Expedition (a 5.5% IPA), Twisted Oak (their bitter) and an “experimental” pale ale called John Lemon. The IPA was the pick of them, though I am looking forward to trying Pot Kettle, their coffee porter.
For me, Oakleaf/Fallen Acorn fill a nice place in the brewing world. Their beers and style are fairly traditional compared to some of the craft breweries springing up now, but there’s enough of a nod to more recent trends and exotic ingredients. Future beers that have been mentioned include Dark Hearted (a dark version of Hole Hearted), and Rooi Boss (a rye beer infused with Rooibos tea).
It’s good to see them back in some form.