Thornbridge to release 6% IPA made on rare Burton union set

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Thornbridge to release The Union beer made on union set

Related tags Thornbridge Cask ale Cellar management Union set

Bakewell-based Thornbridge Brewery is set to launch a new cask IPA made on the union set it was gifted from Marston’s in May this year.

The Derbyshire brewer saved a Burton union set from Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC)​ and has been making sure it is used on a regular basis – starting with its flagship brew, Jaipur, to make sure it all worked.

Now, The Union 6% ABV IPA has been brewed exclusively on it and will be released at Thornbridge brewery bars on Friday 5 July 2024 and available to the on-trade afterwards.

Thornbridge said ‘The Union’ is a classic British IPA with a base malt of Maris Otter from Norfolk, “where the sandy soil and maritime climate is perfect for growing this variety” and brings a “slight nuttiness and biscuit flavour”.

Award-winning hop suppliers

Thornbridge added: “There is a touch of Simpsons’ best Crystal malt to add a touch of colour and rounded sweetness and lashings of the special Brewers’ Invert No.2 sugar from Ragus, which will add notes of caramel and toffee while helping to keep the beer’s body in check.

“The hops are British-grown Goldings and Northdown, which give some gentle berry flavours and rounded, cedar-like hop aromas to balance the maltiness.”

The Union-9

The Goldings have been sourced from Hawkins farm in Herefordshire, sixth-generation hop growers who just won the Institute of Brewing and Distilling hop competition with a sample of their Harlequin. 

The Northdown, fresh from winning the Sandhurst cup at the Kent hop show in 2023, are grown at Gay Dawn Farm in Kent.  

Yeast strains

The brewer added two yeast strains are used: a fruity British cask ale strain and California ale yeast, which is fairly neutral in flavour and ensured the correct attenuation. 

Meanwhile, the water in Bakewell is very soft but Burton water is famously hard so to emulate the latter, Gypsum is added.

Though Thornbridge added: “Probably not quite enough to get the famous ‘Burton snatch’ (a whiff of sulphur on freshly poured beer) but enough to the required crisp, minerally edge on the finish.”

CMBC retired all four of its union sets and along with gifting one to Thornbridge, Glasgow-based Epochal Barrel-Fermented Ales took one as well, in June this year.

Related topics The Cask Project

Related news

Show more