Thursday, 28 September 2017

Exploring local drinks from Cotswolds hotels

Exploring local drinks from Cotswolds hotelsWhat is the Cotswold drink? Believe the celeb loving national press and it's Champagne. To be fair, a lot of Champagne is drunk at Cotswolds hotels, not least during Cheltenham Festival's Gold Cup week.

In reality, beer is the daily drink and the experience of a pint on the terrace or in the garden of one of the Cotswolds hotels or pubs is a deeply pleasant one. Local breweries dot the area - look out for Donnington ales from the north Cotswolds which is surely one of the prettiest breweries in Britain. Hook Norton is a more famous name nationally, a well known Victorian brewery that offers tours and still delivers by horse drawn drays to local pubs.

DEYA is at the other end of the scale, a Cheltenham-based new wave brewery absolutely focused on quality. It's probably in the top 10 breweries in the country. Look out for Steady Rolling Man. If you see it, try it.

Cotswold Brewing Company was set up by a former mass market brewery employee who wanted to inject some quality into things by creating a new Cotswold brand. Their Cotswold lager is a great summer day beer and they have developed a wheat beer, IPA and stout to build the range. Quite easy to find and stocked by quite a few Cotswolds hotels.

Wychwood Brewery makes the popular Hobgoblin Ale from its base in Witney. We also like Stroud Brewery, where Greg Pilley's organic craft beers are made with local barley. 'Organic Beer from Round Here' as they say.

Lift your spirit at Cotswolds hotels

Lift your spirit at Cotswolds hotels Years ago, the only local spirit for Cotswolds hotels to stock was initially a semi mythical Gloucestershire whisky which was actually blended in Scotland for the village of Oldbury. You can still buy it and it is well reviewed.

There's more choice now though, especially with the arrival of the Cotswolds Distillery, the first properly commercial distillery in the Cotswolds. Located in Warwickshire, the business offers a Cotswold Single Malt and a Cotswolds Dry Gin. The gin is a staple in a Cotswolds hotels bar these days.

The whisky uses barley grown and processed in the area. Sherry, bourbon and wine casks are used. So far only test batches have been released and the initial reports are that it's a floral English whisky. Scottish whisky is the most regulated drink in the world and English producers perhaps benefit from the ability to experiment a little more. Certainly it's already clear that the Cotswolds Distillery aim is to produce a whisky that reflects its location in the Cotswolds. The gin already achieves the use of local ingredients such as Cotswold lavender.

The final version whisky should be available from October 2017. It's gin was recently voted best in the world at the World Gin Awards.

Gin fans can now add a Cotswolds Distillery tour to their cotswolds hotels breaks - but do book ahead as they are very popular. Tours take place at 11am and 2pm, daily. There's a walk in tour at 1pm if you're in the area at short notice.

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