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Darwen Micro brewery wins award

7th April 2011

Categories: Town Centre News

A Darwen microbrewery has scooped a top award for its stout. Smokey Joes Black Beer, produced by Hopstar Brewery, was voted the second best stout in Britain by CAMRA.

It is the brainchild of Barry Tyson who first set up the brewery in the garage of his home in Pole Lane in 2004. He handed the business over to daughter Natalie, 22, three years ago, but continues as head brewer now the company has moved to premises in Grimshaw Street.

Barry said: "What makes our beer good is the quality ingredients and the attention to detail.

“I can be sat in the pub having a pint and I’ll ring Natalie to tell her to mix the ingredients slightly differently in the next batch.

“Our beers are craft-brewed by hand and that’s the difference. When big companies do it in bulk, they start to miss things.”

Barry worked for the Blackburn Beer Company and Rossendale Brewery before deciding to go it alone. He said: “It’s been a lifelong hobby and passion that’s turned into something much more.

“Winning this award goes to show that the little microbreweries can show the big boys how it’s done.”

The brewery produces 50 barrels of beer each week - 3,600 pints - from two fermenting tanks. Up to nine different beers are sold in pubs throughout East Lancashire, Manchester, Preston and Bolton each week, and it is also supplied to festivals throughout the country.

Smokey Joes has also scooped awards at the Cambridge Beer Festival, Salisbury Beer Festival, Edgworth Beer Festival and Leeds Beer Festival. It is made of three malts and four different types of hops, and is described as a black beer with a smokey flavour, with hints of chocolate and rum.

Jon Howard, CAMRA spokesperson, said: “Smokey Joes is a truly fantastic stout and rightly deserves its title as one of the best in Britain."

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