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Special beer boosts Britain's best barley

Added: Saturday, June 8th 2013

Norfolk grain merchant H Banham is promoting the best of East Anglia’s malting barley to other barley growers with a specially bottled brew of Norfolk Otter ale, produced by the Norfolk Brewhouse.

Recognised and respected in the brewing industry as the premium malt for brewing beer, 500 bottles of Norfolk Otter Ale will be distributed to barley growers to encourage more of them to consider planting the variety.

Established in 1956, family-run H Banham, based in Hempton, near Fakenham, co-owns the rights to Maris Otter. Managing director Mark Banham says: “Maris Otter was initially traded by my family in the 1960s. Thanks to the barley’s superior quality and the commitment of growers, its popularity has risen among craft brewers since the turn of the century. We are proud to be linked with Norfolk’s rich agricultural heritage as well as being able to send Maris Otter to maltsters across the UK.”

Based just up the road from Banham’s in Hindringham, the Norfolk Brewhouse uses Maris Otter, which is grown locally and malted by Crisp Malting in Great Ryburgh. Brewer Daid Holliday says: “We are delighted to have been asked to produce the ale and being so local to Banham’s and Crisp Maltings it has been an excellent way for local businesses to work together.

“Maris Otter is considered the finest malting barley and as so much is grown on our doorstep we would consider nothing else to brew with. We get consistently good extract, which ultimately means a good wort and great beer.”

The commitment to Maris Otter and the quality in its brews can be seen by some of the multi-award-winning brewers who use it, including Woodfordes, Grain Brewery and Oakham Ales.

Norfolk Otter Ale is brewed with Maris Otter pale malt, with the addition of crystal and dark crystal malts. The hops are Challenger, Goldings, German Hallertau and Styrian Goldings.

*Photo shows (left to right) Bob King of Crisps, Mark Banham of H Banham and Norfolk Brewhouse brewer David Holliday.