Feb 17

Hopstar – In the heart of Darwen’s community

Hopstar Brewery from Darwen is one of the staples of the Lancashire Beer Circle. We have got to know brewer Natalie well and she often drops us a few cases off as she is out and about delivering. A thing that she loves to do.

Hopstar was born out the hobby of beer lover Barry Tyson back in 2004. Barry has a strong belief in only using the best ingredients and pretty soon was supplying the Black Horse in Darwen with his 2.5 barrel plant housed in a garage.

Natalie from Hopstar joins us at Houghton Tower

Natalie from Hopstar joins us at Houghton Tower

Things grew from there and in 2008, daughter Natalie came on board to do some driving and she slowly started to learn the art of the brewer.

2010 saw Hopstar move into a little unit in Darwen with a 6 barrel setup. Natalie took over the reigns full-time and Barry opened up their brewery tap, Number 39 where there is always something going. The best way to keep in touch with Number 39 is through their facebook page here.

Last time I spoke to Natalie, she was brewing around 50 barrels a week and you get the sense that it is being out and about meeting landlords and publicans that she really loves. She supplies over 100 outlets altogether. A bit of a difference from her childcare background but not a change that I think she regrets.

The thing we love abut Hopstar is that it feels rooted in Darwen and you can sense the locals are proud of their beer. There have been a few other brewers cuckoo brewing at Hopstar and Natalie does a great discount for those locals returning bottles.

Natalie has been a great help to us in our short life so far. She gave us advice on boxes and labels and often stops off on her travels to drop a few cases with us. Who knows, she may even let us do a bit of voluntary work with her over the coming year. I get the feeling that may start with washing bottles.

We sell all the varieties of Hopstar that Natalie bottles:

Lancashire Gold  (4.0%) A light beer with a good combination of malt and hops. Maris Otter Premium and Crystal malts makes a well balanced body with an English and two American hops giving great taste for this session beer

Lush  (4.0%)  Because the hop is the star. Our original copper coloured ale brewed with lashings of tasty Amarillo hops. Full bodied and very moreish.

Chilli Beer  (3.8%)  A fruity, hoppy beer with a tongue tingling subtle hint of chilli and heat that bulids towards the end of the drink. Infused with the fruity flavours of one of the hottest chillis, but less of the heat.

Dizzy Danny (3.8%)  Best seller on cask. Golden coloured hoppy and fruity. Crisp smooth malt finish.

We would love to get hold of Hopstar’s Smokey Joes and you will be the first to know if Natalie does a run in bottles.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.