Westerham Brewery gluten-free craft beers

Robert Wicks, founder of Westerham Brewery Company in Kent, who has been brewing craft beer since 2004, now makes an impressive eight gluten-free bottled beers, ranging from a Czech Pilsener to a traditional best bitter, and will soon be adding a much requested double-stout to the list.

Using water from the Greensand Aquifer, local malt, Kent hops and historic yeast strains, Robert’s beers have been winning mainstream awards for years.

With its strapline “Same Beer – Gluten-Free”, the bottled range is testament to the improvement developments in brewing technology have made to the quality of gluten-free beer. We’d defy anyone to even realize these bottle-conditioned beers are indeed declared GF. Here we taste a few of the range.

The flagship William Wilberforce Freedom Ale, made to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, is brewed with fair-trade demerara sugar to give its characteristic full-bodied flavor and amber colour. Freedom has an inviting, floral aroma of pear-drops and a sweet, fruity taste. It’s complex, hoppy and rich, with a dry finish and is so moreish we were compelled to open a second bottle. This beer has already won 2 SIBA medals. Bitter 2/5; sweet 3/5.

William Wilberforce Freedom Ale, 500ml
Bottle conditioned
4.8% ABV
£2.20 + postage
Ingredients: Greensand Aquifer Water, Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt from Barley, Crystal Malt from Barley, Demerara Sugar, Kent-grown Northdown and Goldings Hops, Westerham Brewery Yeast.

We liked the golden Scotney Pale Ale, brewed for the National Trust using hops from their own hop farm at Scotney Castle. This light, refreshing, beer smells of citrus and biscuit, with fruit and hops not far behind. The taste is dry and fruity, a little grassy, and has a nice maltiness, with a dry, almost metallic finish. Bitter 3.5/5; sweet 3/5.

Scotney Pale Ale, 500ml
4.0%
£2.15 + postage
Ingredients: Greensand Aquifer Water, Pale Ale Malt from Barley, Amber Malt from Barley, Little Scotney Farm Hops, Westerham Brewery Yeast.

Scotney Bitter is a copper-coloured best bitter, again brewed for the National Trust using hops from their farm at Scotney Castle. Its spicy, toasty, aroma with a light hoppinesss gives way to a sweet, malty taste and slight bitterness in the finish. Bitter 3/5; sweet 3.5/5.

Scotney Bitter, 500ml
4.3%
£2.15 + postage
Ingredients: Greensand Aquifer Water, Pale Ale Malt from Barley, Crystal Malt from Barley, Little Scotney Farm Hops, Westerham Brewery Yeast.

We were equally impressed by the golden Viceroy India Pale Ale. The nose is apricot, hops and toffee; the palate nutty and warm, with a tobacco, dry, finish. We all wanted seconds of this one too. Viceroy has won 3 SIBA medals. Bitter 4/5; sweet 2.5/5

Viceroy India Pale Ale, 500ml
Bottle conditioned
5.0%
£2.20 + postage
Ingredients: Greensand Aquifer Water, Pale Ale Malt from Barley, Kent and Little Scotney Farm Hops, Westerham Brewery Yeast.

British Bulldog is Westerham’s traditional best bitter, a big full-bodied beer. It pours copper-coloured, with a grassy, hoppy aroma and creamy vanilla flavor. It’s sweet and toasty, flinty, with plenty of malt and a slight tangy bitterness. It gained plenty of approval round the table. Bitter 3/5; sweet 3/5.

British Bulldog, 500ml
Bottle conditioned
4.3%
£2.15 + postage
Ingredients: Greensand Aquifer Water, Pale Ale Malt from Barley, Crystal Malt from Barley, Kent Hops, Westerham Brewery Yeast.

Westerhambrewery.co.uk