Established in 1985, Wye Valley Brewery is a family-run business operating from a nine-acre former cider mill in Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire. Before launching the brewery, founder Peter Amor previously worked as a brewer for Guinness, leaving the company to follow his dream of crafting some of the country’s best cask-conditioned beer. Initially functioning from the back of a pub in Canon Pyon, the independent brewery moved to the old stable block of another pub – The Barrels (also in Herefordshire) – before eventually moving to its current home in 2002. Now, the team of fewer than 50 staff members brew over 10 million pints per year, as well as bottling their beers on mass.
Since launching, Wye Valley Brewery has also focussed on the environment and energy efficiency, winning the Best Green Business award at the SIBA Business Awards 2015. The brewhouse currently relies on an array of solar panels installed in a field behind the brewery, which produce over 41 per cent of the Wye Valley Brewery’s total electricity.
From their core range, Wye Valley Brewery’s bottle-conditioned Wholesome Stout was, on launch, the second beer to receive a five-star rating from beer writer Roger Protz. On pour, the stout is black and topped with a tan head. Intense malt aromas are present on the nose (roasted barley, in particular) alongside some coffee, a hint of cocoa and some lactose notes. A relatively full-bodied brew, the lactose savours continue on the palate alongside some feint chocolate that lends a pleasant chocolate milkshake character in addition to some hop bitterness. Very subtle coffee flavours are also distinctive, plus further heavy malt notes. Complete with a dry, slightly bitter finish – Wye Valley Brewery’s Wholesome Stout is a solid, session-strength (4.6 per cent ABV) stout.
Further information on Wye Valley Brewery can be found here.