We started the year with excitement as we entered our 40th year of brewing, an achievement that we are immensely proud of. We know that some of you have been with us for all 40 years of the journey to date, and others have joined us more recently, but we are extremely grateful for all of your support. Although we couldn’t run the events and celebrations that we wanted to this year, there’s still lots to look back on and raise a glass to.
Our first celebratory brew of 2020 was Chiltern Ruby, a recreation of a firm brewery favourite some seven years ago. If you enjoyed Chiltern Ruby, then you’ll be pleased to hear it will return this month for a limited time only (more information below!).
February brought further reason for jubilation as our founder, Mr Richard Jenkinson, was named as a CAMRA Real Ale Hero. Roger Protz, Britain’s most respected beer writer, shared the story of how Mr Jenkinson started our family brewery in CAMRA’s national BEER publication.
Like everybody else, our world dramatically changed in March with the coronavirus outbreak. We were determined to keep supporting loyal customers and so quickly innovated two new service models. The first was our Drive-Through Brewery Shop, which allowed customers to still enjoy their favourite Chiltern Brewery beers and goodies but from the comfort of their car. The second was our Local Delivery Service, which saw us delivering orders to those in the local area. We were glad to stay connected with those of you who had to shield and hope that we managed to bring you some joy during the early, uncertain times.
As we slowly got used to the new ways of life, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t forget our core commitments as a brewery – reviving traditional ale styles and innovating new ones. It was this spirit of innovation that brought Test Mash Special to life in May. Brewed from the residual mash of Bodger’s Barley Wine and six hops, Test Mash Special was a low-alcohol beer that packed a peachy punch! We’ll be bringing you more small-batch, experimental brews in 2021 and can’t wait to hear your feedback on them.
Following swiftly on the heels of Test Mash Special was one of our personal highlights of 2020, the release of Session IPA in a can. This was our first ever canned beer and so to see your enthusiastic response was greatly appreciated. We worked with a local designer to create the can’s label, which features a number of local landmarks, so can confidently say that it really highlights what makes the Chilterns so special.
As part of our ongoing 40th Anniversary celebrations, brewery founder Mr Jenkinson donned his brewing coat once again in September and joined us in the brewhouse once more – exactly 40 years to the day from our very first brew! The result of this special occasion was our new, limited edition, bottled IPA – Generation Ale. Available in The Brewery Shop and Online now, this sparkling IPA has been crafted for celebration.
In October we learned that both Bodger’s Barley Wine and John Hampden’s Golden Harvest Ale won stars at this year’s Great Taste Awards! The Great Taste Awards are one of the most widely recognised accolades for British food & drink producers, so to have two of our bottled beers win an award each was a huge honour for us.
Our final, draught ale to commemorate our 40th Anniversary was Vintage Ale; a blend of strong barley wine and a lighter ale that was oak-aged for 14 days. We mentioned before how we pride ourselves on reviving traditional English ale styles, and this might just be our favourite revival yet!
Although everything may not have gone the way we all wanted in 2020, we are still proud of what we have achieved and would like to say thank you for being right there with us. We are very grateful for all of your support.