Beer Background
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Nov 2015

Freedom East India Pale, Freedom

Added: Sunday, November 1st 2015

Style Pale Lager ABV 5.5%

Freedom East India Pale (5.5%)

This is a beer with an almost ironic look back at the early history of India Pale Ale, for it was lager beer that proved the downfall of the British style at the end of the 19th century. IPA had taken India and other British colonies by storm but it was eventually replaced by lager when brewers in the United States and Germany were able to supply both crystal clear beer and substantial supplies of ice to keep it cold to India and Africa.

Now, with IPA enjoying a worldwide renaissance, Freedom has hitched a lift on the fast-moving dray with a beer that offers refreshment and flavour with all the characteristics of a properly-brewed lager.

Freedom opened in London in 1995 with a simple business plan: to offer real lager as an alternative to the global brands that dominated the market. Alastair Hook, who now runs Meantime, was a consultant at Freedom and used his experience of brewing in Bavaria to stress the importance of lagering or ageing cold-fermented beer for at least a month.

Under new owners, the brewery moved in 2008 to Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire and in 2013 it was bought by Tim Massey who has a long experience of working in the brewing industry. With business partners, he invested £500,000 in the brewery and expanded production, with head brewer Jonathan Smith at the helm.

Now Freedom is expanding again with a £1.5 million investment that will enable production to triple. A new brewhouse will be installed with 20 additional fermenting and maturation tanks.

New beers have been added to the core range and East India Pale is likely to be a major conversation point among both ale and lager drinkers. Its tag line on the label is “India Pale Lager” and it brings all the attributes of beer made in the correct lager fashion, with a big aroma of toasted malt as a result of a decoction mashing regime. This involves heating proportions of the mash of grain at different temperatures to extract the maximum amount of fermentable sugars. The grains used in the beer are pale lager malt and a small proportion of caramalt.

A further taste twist comes in the shape of three American hop varieties, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. Balancing the sappy and juicy malt, the aroma and flavour bursts with the bittersweet notes of grapefruit, mango and tropical fruits.  The finish is a fine blend of rich toasted grain and fruity, bitter hops.

If you wonder what the British Raj in India would have made of such a beer, the answer is simple: they would have drunk it.

The beer is available from at £8 for six bottles: the site is currently being revamped, so be patient. Draught versions of the beer are available at:

Dockyard, Salford

Piccadilly, Manchester

Old Rectifying House, Worcester

Ceviche, Soho, London

Old Blind School, Liverpool.

Freedom East India Pale, Freedom