Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire, UK
It’s back to the United Kingdom after our brief visit to the Weihenstephan Bavarian
brewery recently and this time it’s to Oxfordshire and the Wychwood Brewery. Although the name may suggest a brewery from the middle ages, this one was actually established as recently as the 1980s.
The story starts a little earlier though – the brewery is based on the site of a much older facility, Clinch’s Brewery, which was founded in 1841. This company ran more than 0 pubs at one point and eventually sold out to Courage in 1961 who subsequently closed the facility. An English brewer trained in Germany, Paddy Kenny, purchased the site in 1983, renaming it the Eagle Brewery and then the Glenny Brewery.
A change of ownership in 1990 saw it renamed once more to the Wychwood Brewery, after the nearby Wychwood Forest which really is ancient. The owners at this point were Ian Johnson and Chris Moss (who had been Glenny’s partner) and the expansion now began. By the late 1990s the brewery owned and ran 40 pubs under the Hobgoblins brand and it was the beer bearing that name which brought them national attention.
The Hobgoblin brew was first produced in 1988 in draught form but it really took off
with the release of a bottled version in 1996. The brewery says it was the first beer produced in the UK to feature a picture on the bottle’s label rather than just a name and a very fine picture it is too.
Wychwood followed this brew up with several other permanent beers, including Goliath, Scarecrow and Wychcraft. The brewery also produce a range of seasonal and occasional beers and these include inventive titles such as Dog’s Bollocks, Gingerbread (for the summer) and the Christmassy Bah Humbug.
While the brewery continues to produce quality beers to this day, the chain of Hobgoblin pubs was sold off in 2002. Most underwent name changes but one or two still remain under that moniker, dotted around the countryside.