Farm brewery yields fine crop of beer
Added: Sunday, June 17th 2018
By Katie Wiles, www.wilesaboutbeer.com
XT is an innovative, independent brewery crafting a wide range of beers. Located on the beautiful Notley Farm on the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire border, the brewery offers a core range of full-flavoured brews alongside one-off experimental beers available for just a limited time as part of the "Animal" range. Available to try in select pubs across the South, beer-lovers from far and wide can taste a selection of their beers at this year’s Great British Beer Festival, taking place from 7-11 August 2018.
It’s hard to imagine a more tranquil place to drink beer than on the grounds of XT Brewery. Nestled away in the rolling fields of the beautiful Notley Farm, the brewery can be found down an an unmarked road that takes you away from the spectacular wedding venue and towards what appears to be a working farm house.
I do a double-take upon entering the brewery. The rural farmhouse has been transformed into a welcoming tap room that could rival some of the hippest beer stops along the Bermondsey Beer Mile. It clearly reflects a beer-lover’s paradise with a huge range of brews available to either take away or enjoy at the bar.
XT runs a “beer club” in which local beer lovers are invited down to the tap room for all-inclusive social evenings and shop discounts. Members even get to sample exclusive beers brewed just for their review and feedback at these events. In addition, XT takes part in a number of open days and charity events to interact with the local community.
Upon arrival I had the chance to meet Russ Taylor (Mr T from XT) who started the business just seven years ago with co-founder Gareth Xifaras (Mr X). It’s obvious that beer making is a business of passion for the two founders -- alongside a core range of four brews and a semi-permanent range of three, XT keeps beer drinkers on their toes with one-off, experimental beers available for a short time only.
This "Animal range" is usually brewed every two weeks, but some of those beers -- such as their Hop Kitty (3.9% ABV) -- have become so popular that they have earned their place among the favourites in XT’s core offerings. Russ tells me that the inspiration for the Animal range came from his time living in the United States, where playing with more adventurous styles and flavours is the norm.
For a small brewery, XT has all the ingredients for success. The well-maintained vessels can produce up to nine different beers at once, providing ample choice and variety for their followers. Some 90% of their beer is cask, but they also have a few keg lines and take part in "brewery swaps" to help sell guest beers locally, with the aim of distributing their own range farther than the South.
Beer festivals help spread the word, so XT Brewery will be attending this year’s Great British Beer Festival to showcase their beers to festival-goers. While their range for GBBF has not yet been confirmed, we hope to see some of these favourites line the bar this year:
- XT-4 (3.8% ABV) -- an amber ale, number 4 is part of XT’s core range and we can see why - with a sweet malty flavour, it is a fantastic session beer no matter the season.
- Hop Kitty (3.9% ABV) -- part of the Animal range, Hop Kitty has become increasingly popular for its citra hoppiness and flavoursome body. It is unfined and naturally hazy, making it vegan-friendly.
- XT-18 (4.2% ABV) -- The newest XT beer which was re-branded earlier this year, this is a gold beer with Citra hops but boasting a slightly maltier flavour.
- Wolf (4.6% ABV) -- a fruity pale ale boasting flavours of melon, mango and elderflower. It has a distinct banana and vanilla finish to it.
- Snake (4.2% ABV) -- a West Coast style pale ale served in a keg. Full and lovely in flavour.
- Squid Ink (5.5% ABV) -- a black IPA made with nine different malts with a liquorice nose to it -- squid ink is velvety and smooth. Apparently the brewers wanted to put real squid ink into it, but found it created too many allergens to make it worthwhile!
- Eisbar lager (5.2% ABV) -- XT’s first craft lager, hazy in appearance with slightly sweet hop flavours followed by light peppery notes.
To find out more about XT brewery and their beer range, visit: http://www.xtbrewing.com/
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