Now, it’s not so very long ago that anyone asking for a beer in a top restaurant would have received a cool response. Wine was the accompaniment to fine food. Michelin starred chef, Galton Blackiston, has put another nail in the coffin of that myth.

He has gone further than offering beer in his renowned Morston Hall and No 1 Cromer restaurants – he has created, with us, two new brews to reflect the best of Norfolk.

It’s been a great project to have been involved in working with local farmers and Crisp – our local maltsters. Their flavours showcase what is probably the world’s best malt – produced in North Norfolk, but I’ll let Galton explain in his own words:

“I loved the idea of crafting my own ale and lager to match with our food.”

“In a region so rich in local produce, food takes centre stage and chefs take a lot of plaudits. The county’s beer and brewers also deserve attention. So to do those along the supply chain. That’s why I’ve spent time with the barley growers and the maltsters at Crisp Maltings, as well as with David and Rachel’s team at Norfolk Brewhouse, especially Bruce.”

Conveniently, our brewery is located just a few miles from Morston Hall so we were more than happy to help.
Norfolk-grown, Norfolk-malted Maris Otter barley is sought after across the world by craft brewers longing to replicate British-style beers. So, with fields of Maris Otter barley on our doorstep and Crisp’s traditional floor maltings so close by, it was clear what ingredients we’d be using in Galton’s brews.

Galton chose to blend two of Crisp’s iconic malts for his brews: floor-malted Maris Otter for the depth of flavour it delivers – and Clear Choice, loved by craft brewers for the crisp, clean character it gives to beers. The Harrison farming family grow both barley varieties in Morston and Stifkey, right on Galton’s doorstep. Crisp Maltings, based in nearby Great Ryburgh, then steeps, germinates, kilns and crushes the grain ready for brewing.

Rob Moody, from Crisp is always happy to help and support our brewery and again was chuffed that Galton put so much emphasis on the importance of the malt in the brews. Rob puts it better than I can when he says:
“We were delighted to be part of the project, offering support and advice on the malts – and their impact on flavour, colour, body and mouthfeel of the beers. We’re also very grateful to Galton for recognising the importance of malt and raising its profile. It’s something everyone has heard about, but few people could tell you what it is!”

To be fair both Rob and I were impressed with Galton’s attention to detail in developing recipes for the beers. I guess that should have come as no surprise given his Michelin stars!
The recipe development was supported by our head brewer Bruce – one of just a handful of beer sommeliers in the region.

They ended up choosing a single hop, the French Strisselsplat for No.1 Lager and a combination of seven hops including the American Mosaic and Azzacca and British Cascade for No.1 Ale.

The pairing of seafoods served at No.1 Cromer with beers seemed to involve an unusually large number of beer tastings, the result is beer profiles which match them perfectly – but also work brilliantly with other foods.
By the way both beers have also been made so that they are gluten free.

Galton’s ambition was to create beers which are crafted not just to celebrate local ingredients but the team of Norfolk growers and maltsters behind them. As an added twist – well chefs will be chefs – the malt combination used in the beers will also be used to create a No.1 malted ice cream. They provide a rich malt flavour and a soft sweetness from the natural sugars found within Norfolk malt.

The two new beers, and the ice cream will be available from No. 1 Cromer fish and chips and Morston Hall Hotel and Restaurant.