Taking inspiration from a medieval beer recipe, Ilkley Brewery and beer sommelier, Jane Peyton, author of the book Beer o’ Clock, have collaborated to create a limited edition Gruit beer named Doctor’s Orders.
A distinctly herbaceous 5.0% ale with rich chocolate notes, Doctor’s Orders is brewed with rosemary, yarrow, sage, bog myrtle, heather flowers and heather foraged from Ilkley Moor. Similar combinations of herbs, known as Gruit mixtures, were used in medieval times for bittering and flavouring and were also believed to have wide-reaching health benefits at the time.
Hops were first recorded in England circa 1362, when they were imported from the Low Countries, so before then, English brewers used herbs to add bitterness to ale.
“I’ve wanted to make a medieval ale for quite some time now and, knowing Ilkley Brewery’s interest in brewing out of the ordinary beers, I knew I’d found the perfect Gruit brew partner,” said Jane.
“Many of the herbs used in a Gruit beer are believed to be beneficial which is a phenomenon that I’m intrigued by. It is said that bog myrtle can improve poor memory; yarrow and sage have antiseptic properties; rosemary can enhance mental function and heather is used to help many ailments including digestive and sleep disorders.
“As beer is a superfood packed with nutrition, when consumed in moderation, it has proven health benefits. With these added herbs and flowers, Doctor’s Orders should be a real tonic!”*
As well as traditional herbs, Doctor’s Orders features six malts including Maris Otter (extra pale), oats (6%), crystal, chocolate, brown and smoked. While medieval Gruit beers would not have contained hops, Doctor’s Orders does use a small amount of Fuggles hops for preservative purposes.
Luke Raven, sales and marketing manager at Ilkley Brewery, added: “Jane’s extensive knowledge of beer history and culture never ceases to amaze us so it was great to tap into her expertise and create Doctor’s Orders.
“The beer is delicious. The fragrant mixture of Gruit herbs and heather from Ilkley Moor really packs a punch and yet it’s a beer you could happily enjoy with a Sunday roast or a hearty piece of pheasant.”
– Jane Peyton forages for heather on Ilkley Moor.
– Richard Shelton, Ilkley Brewery director, with some of the Doctor’s Orders herbaceous ingredients. Image credit_Anna Nolan Photography.
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Notes to editors:
*Jane Peyton’s views and comments are her own and do not represent those of Ilkley Brewery, its directors or staff.
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009 and commenced brewing in May 2009. The now famous Mary Jane , the brewery’s flagship session beer was first brewed in August 2009 and won its first award in September of the same year.
A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to initially produce 23,000 pints a week.
In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.
April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.
As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as many restaurants nationally.
Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).
November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.
In June 2013 the brewery won the London Craft Beer Battle with its new creation MaryJane IPA.