Black Tor Brewery - Beer at its Best

I was lucky enough to be invited to have a tour and a taste at Black Tor Brewery, situated on Dartmoor, by owner Jonathon - the Willie Wonka of beer after meeting him and his lovely mum at this years Source Trade Show at Westpoint.

Jonathon, a man with a huge passion, started making beer in April 2015 and his hard work has paid off with three core beers and occasional special editions appearing throughout the year. Each beer is lovingly hand crafted using only the finest ingredients he can source, and it shows - each beer has its own unique flavour and character.

From a rather unassuming industrial building I head inside with Jonathon (not an oompah loompah in site) as he is a one man band apart from a family member who helps with deliveries. It's a very family orientated business and even the large vessels he uses are named after his late grandads.

The first thing that hits you is the wonderful smell of hops; he uses a combination of hops for some beers but the Raven contains all english hops.He currently brews four days a week and tries to be environmentally aware as, with the vast amount of water needed, he has found a way to re-use the water in both the heating and cooling process.

Well what's the point of looking around if there is no beer to drink so let's get tasting!

Pride of Dartmoor - 4.0%

A refreshing, carbonated amber beer which I think is best sevred at room temperature for food pairing or cold for drinking with friends. It has a soft caramel taste with a hint of digestive biscuit but these are not too heavy and works well with the fizz of the beer. Any richer and I dont think it would go with the bubbles. This would pair well with a good mature cheese on toast with worcestershire sauce.
Devonshire Pale Ale - 4.5%

A beer thats works best, I think, served straight from the fridge as this beer delivers big on flavours of grapefruit and citrus fruits but finishes very smooth and doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. Pair this up with a king prawn or monkfish curry and you're in for a good evening.

Raven 4.2%

This is my personal favourite. This is a beer that 'gives you a cuddle'. Rich in taste with deep caramel/burnt toffee and a hint of summer fruit. A beer that needs to be served at room temperature to best enjoy the richness this beer offers. Throw this in a beef stew and slow cook and enjoy after a long walk aroung Dartmoor or use it to make an awesome beer bread to mop up the gravy left from your sunday roast!

Bread recipe:

500g bread flour
7g yeast 
1 teaspoon of sugar 
1 teaspoon of salt 
280ml of the beer (yes you can drink the rest)

Put the ingredients in a bowl in order as above, ensuring that the yeast does not touch either the sugar or the salt (they don't get on very well and will affect the rise). Pour in the beer and mix with your hands hands. Once it has all come together as a doughy ball, knead (or push, roll and pull) on the kitchen surface for 15 minutes or until smooth (like a babies bum as they say).

Put into a deep bowl, cover and leave until doubled in size. Knead again for 2 minutes and put into the container you are going to be cooking your bread in, again leave until doubled in size.

Put into a hot oven at 220c for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 180c for further 20 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Enjoy!

Jonathon has achieved so much in such a short period of time,resulting in some delicious beers, and I can't wait to see what other brews he comes up with. He has also joined forces with Devon Air Ambulance to sell a beer in aid of their fundraising and has attended the House of Commons as his beer was chosen for the Strangers Bar by MP Ben Bradshaw.

Keep an eye out for his special edition Porter which sells out quickly!

I Want One
Check out his website:
or visit him at an upcoming festival - he will be at Budleigh Food Festival with other appearances to be confirmed.

Done! Cheers...



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