Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lovibonds, Henley on Thames.

Lovibonds, Henley on Thames.

Yes yes, I know we've been to Henley on Thames before, but there's unfinished business to take care of. 

Henley is very much Brakspear country. Fair enough, it is their former home town and they have just resumed brewing in the Bull on Bell Street, but where's the variety? Since our last visit I'm disappointed to report that the Henley Brewhouse has closed and been sold to, you guessed it, Brakspear. I've nothing against Brakspear, they make consistent beer, but it just doesn't do anything for me.

So with all this mind, you might ask why I'd go back to Henley on Thames. The answer is the shining beacon of brewing and beer that is Lovibonds. Founded in 2005 by cycling enthusiast Jeff Rosenmeier, Lovibonds deals purely in keg and bottle products, with a core range of four beers plus a variety of seasonal and special brews. Henley Gold, Henley Amber, Henley Dark and 69 IPA are the regulars, with Sour Grapes, a wine barrel aged sour; Dirty 69, a black IPA and Lager Boy, an 'ironic lager' also available on my visit. 

I tried Gold, a wheat beer; Amber, an American amber and Dark, a porter in bottles and all are great examples of their respective styles. 69 IPA I had from the keg in the taproom, and is as good a strong IPA that I can remember drinking. I also tried the Dirty 69 and Sour Grapes. Black IPAs and Sours are enjoying some time in the sun at the moment, with plenty of barrel aged sours doing the rounds. Sour Grapes was a really accessible beer, perfect for cheese to my mind. Sours can be an acquired taste, but this is a good gateway to the style. I'm a sucker for black IPAs, combining two of my favourite beer styles, IPA and porter, so it goes without saying that Dirty 69 ticked the boxes for me.

The taproom itself has a rustic style, not even really having a proper address. A large marquee provides some sheltered outside drinking space, whilst inside the walls are decorated with various beer and brewery related paraphernalia. Seating is basic and ad hoc, just the way I like it. Beer is available to take away, in various sizes bottles also mini kegs, as well as a range of other merchandise. There's also live music nights and tutored tasting sessions available. Guest keg beers are served from a range of decent craft brewers.

The bulk of brewing is done off site, but you can expect to find a friendly welcome, knowledgeable conversation and great beer at Lovibonds.

My thanks to Rico behind the bar, an unnamed chap my side of the bar and Craig of Craft Beer World. It was great to meet you all.

Henley is station is a short hop away, and is served by trains from Twyford. There are plenty of First Great Western trains that stop at Twyford from east and west.


Find out more:

No comments:

Post a Comment