Team Moon Gazer and I were extremely proud to have been asked to brew a specially commissioned beer to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Bakers and Larners, of Holt.

However, little did we know when we started on this project that it would have such a poignant message of hope when it was launched.

I mean that since we are in times of great uncertainty and disruption to our daily lives.

In the case of Moon Gazer our small business is – like thousands of others – wondering what the future may hold. Yet, I was genuinely encouraged when reading the label of the beer; 1770 – 2020 ; 250 Exceptional Years.

Now, without wanting to get to twee, the words reminded me that however tough these times are – they are just moments in history and there is a road ahead. Bakers and Larners, who by the way are based in Holt, just down the road from the brewery, have traded through 2 World Wars, 9 monarchs and 7 pandemics. So, we will get passed this albeit with much sadness and tragic loss of life which we must never forget.

So, to me this Norfolk Pale Ale will represent a beer of hope, and I hope you can enjoy it and raise a glass to all of those who are working so hard to make sure we have a future.

I am also so glad that the beer has turned out as well as it has.

Patrick, Louise and Richard were the team from Bakers and Larners who started working with us a few months ago to plan the beer.

They wanted something unique – their own recipe and something which reflects Norfolk, heritage and a Britishness – but also something which was modern and vibrant. I guess in a nutshell it was to show the journey they have been on as a business, but also to say that they are very much a contemporary retailer too.

That lead us to a golden Norfolk Pale Ale. Golden in colour as it is currently the most popular, and a pale ale as it would allow us to get plenty of hops but without being to extreme and alienating those who prefer a more wholesome, balanced bitter.

One of our most popular beers by far is our seasonal special Ostara and so we decided to use that as the base to create a unique bottled version.

The malt base was a blend of Maris Otter and Chevalier Heritage malt – both grown in Norfolk, and malted at Crisp maltings, in Great Rybrugh.

The heritage malt imparts a robust, dominant malt flavour and the beer needs to be quite heavily hopped to balance the malt character.

The hops used were Cascade and Ernest which both have great citrus and orange characteristics which are further enhanced with a dash of peels from both of those fruits – with some invert sugar adding to the mouthfeel and sweetness of the brew.

The result – a light golden ale – light with a robust but balanced bitterness and a lemon and orange citrus finish refreshingly spring like.

It was a pleasure to work with another local business with such a rich history and in so doing be reminded of a bright future.

Louise from Bakers and Larners sums up the project so well when she says: “Supporting local producers has been key to the enduring uniqueness of Bakers & Larners of Holt from the very beginning and so it been a great experience and fitting to work collaboratively with David and the Moon Gazer team to create something special to celebrate our remarkable 250-year history. We’ll be raising a glass to teamwork, a shared passion for quality and excellence and to the next 250 years!”

The beer is for sale on line at Bakers and Larners and also at their Budgens stores in Holt and Aylsham.

Enjoy the beer.