Cromer's very own microbrewery
Now in its fifth year of operation Poppyland Brewery has gained a reputation for doing different. For me, Martin Warren the Poppyland Brewer, it is a challenge in semi-retirement, a means of self expression and it helps to satisfy my creative instincts. Hopefully I can make a small living too. As an ex-museum curator I cannot help myself from revelling in the character and culture of North Norfolk and I reflect this in my beers. I produce extraordinary ales that are far removed from industrial beer found in supermarkets or even beer found in British pubs. I am exploring just what beer can be, using the best ingredients and new techniques, seeking to innovate and aiming to really please my customers. I often draw inspiration from the local environment and local history. Where I can I use local ingredients - wild and cultivated. Where I can't, I get the best ingredients from all over the world - like hops and yeasts. I don't want people to say, Mmm, that's okay. I want them to say Wow! That's amazing!
Being a very small business I am able to brew small batches of different beer all the time, always creating great new flavours. This means that stocks will quickly run out but hopefully you will appreciate the uniqueness, quality and depth of flavours that I can develop when hand crafting beer. I hope you will be eager to try my next production, as every batch is unique and explores another facet of the multidimensional beer map.
At my scale I can't compete on price. Sometimes I go to great lengths to create a beer, travelling far and wide to gain experience, knowledge and ingredients. I give you flavour and hand crafted quality. My beers may appear expensive but they deliver greater impact and satisfaction than ordinary beers, so they do represent value for money. See the warm appreciation of my customers. My beers have character. I am sure you will remember these beers and talk about them with your friends. A bottle should entertain you for quite a while. It's not just for quaffing. You drink less for greater satisfaction. If you can't manage to drink it all in one sitting, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that an opened bottle will keep a day or more on a cool shelf (pop the cap back on to keep the fruit flies out) and it will drink much the same as when freshly opened, just with a bit less condition (like a draft beer); not at all flat and tasteless as other beers may be.
Situated between Cromer town centre and the railway station, housed in a former motor garage, Poppyland Brewery is where I brew extraordinary ales - bottled Saisons, IPAs, porters, fruit beers and more. Belgian- and American-inspired, these beers are unusual, often with extravagant ingredients, fascinating flavours and aromas. These beers are not in the mainstream. Every brew is exploring just what beers can be.
Visitors are welcome.
You are welcome to come and look inside, see how beer is made, have a chat and maybe buy some beer. Knock at the brewery door, or call at Chesterfield Lodge a few steps up the road (just out of picture, to the left) or ring me on 07887 389 804.
Martin Warren, The Poppyland Brewer
Here's a review of Poppyland Brewery and beers from Pints and Pubs.
Great brewery profile and beer reviews from Rob Derbyshire of Hopzine.
What's in stock?
|Maid of the Mill IN STOCK|
|Strange Attractor IN STOCK|
|Je Suis Bruxellois IN STOCK|
|Norwegian Farmhouse IN STOCK|
|East Beach India Pale Ale IN STOCK|
Poppyland at Larner's
Larner's of Holt have expanded their beer and wine department and I am delighted to say that they have invited Poppyland to supply them with beers. If you pop in now you should find East Coast IPA, Strange Attractor and Norwegian Farmhouse. Hopefully others will follow as my brewing adventure progress.
New books in the offing
It's early days but how delighted I was to hear from two top writers recently, each saying that they intend to include two Poppyland beers in forthcoming books. East Coast and Grey Seal Coffee IPA will appear in a book on India Pale Ale and The Lost World and Norwegian Farmhouse will appear in a book on the newly emerged craft beer scene. Full details will appear here in due course.
Poppyland takes Overall Winner in Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA Bottled Beer Awards 2016
The increasing recognition of Poppyland's beers was rewarded with five awards for four beers in the 2016 Awards ceremony at the Hostry in Norwich Cathedral Close on 26 February. A gala evening under the beautiful wooden roof saw Poppyland pick up Gold for Home by Christmas (Unique Category), Silver for Elderflower Saison (Speciality Category) and East Coast IPA (Strong Bitter Category) and a Bronze for Ten Thousand Geese (Stout and Porter Category), with Home by Christmas taking the Gold for Overall Winner of the Champion Bottled Beer of the Year Competition 2016. Not bad for a newby one-man brewery. Many thanks to the tasting panel for their votes and to Norwich & Norfolk CAMRA for a great evening. I am afraid that once again, none of these beers is currently in stock but expect to see them appear some time in the coming year (except Home by Christmas, which was a one-off remembrance beer).
Poppyland is rated Norfolk's top brewer
I am grateful to Poppyland fan Collective Zine (@theczine) for pointing out that the 'beer nerds' on Ratebeer currently (1.2.2016) say that Poppyland was the top brewer in Norfolk in 2015. I can't say I'm not chuffed at that news and that's not bad after only three and a half years in the game. It gives me a great thrill to see Poppyland's name up alongside The Kernel, Burning Sky, Thornbridge, Wild Beer Company etc. Here's the link.
Poppyland Brewer blog goes viral
After my trip to Norway I decided to make a yeast ring and because it aroused a lot of interest in Twitter so I wrote it up as a blog on why and how I made it. After Lars Marius Garshol put a link to it onto Reddit the number of visitors soared and in the first week of January there were over 17,500 views. I've never known anything like it.
Beery Geology Walks
The new 2016 programme of Geology Walks is now published and this year includes four "Beery Walks". Last year's trial was fully booked, so a second walk has been added to the itinerary and they will be repeated. The dates are as follows:
- May 2 (Bank Holiday Monday) West Runton - Roman Camp
- May 15 Sunday) Cromer - Felbrigg
- August 13 (Sunday) West Runton-Roman Camp
- October 25 (Tuesday) Cromer-Felbrigg
Poppyland on the Beeb
Poppyland Brewery received some very welcome publicity when Martin Warren was invited to make a film with David Whiteley for his regular Monday night show Inside Out East. David wanted to film a beer being made, so a plan was hatched to create an old fashioned harvest ale - Hawkey Frolic - using the famous 50-year-old Maris Otter variety of barley malt and an historic 1958 Norwich yeast from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC) and this would be debuted at the Maris Otter 50 Beer Festival. You can see the result on BBC iPlayer here or on Youtube here and you can read about the beer here.
Poppyland Gets Gold!
Poppyland has medalled for the second year running in the CAMRA Bottled Beer of the Year Competition 2014. The extremely rare Days of Empire received a GOLD in the unique category (for one-off brews) and On the Edge won SILVER in the Speciality Beers category. I must be doing something right. Sadly, neither of these beers is currently in stock but there will be more On the Edge later this year and if I can obtain some more Chevallier malt I will create another beer to showcase it.
Britain's Brewing Revolution
Poppyland Brewery was highlighted in a book celebrating the most influential locations in the nation's flourishing beer scene.
"Britain's Beer Revolution, published by the Campaign for Real Ale, includes the brewery at Cromer. The book is a contemporary look at the most influential breweries, places and people and what makes them so special." So said the Evening News.
The book was published on 23 October 2014 and is available from the CAMRA website www.camra.org.uk
Jarrold's stock Poppyland
I am delighted to announce that Poppyland Beers are now stocked in Jarrold's delicatessen in Norwich.
Poppyland East Coast voted Joint Winner of 10th Anniversary Ale Competition
The Real Ale Shop on Branthill Farm near Wells next the Sea celebrated its 10th anniversary on the weekend of 31 May-1 June 2014 and farmer Teddy Maufe invited his micro-brewer suppliers to create a 10th Anniversary Ale. I am delighted to announce that Poppyland was awarded Joint Winner with it's East Coast IPA 7% ale, alongside Beeston Brewery's Village Life. This ale features the Maris Otter malt grown on Branthill Farm and floor malted at Crisp's not far away at Great Ryburgh. The mash tun was loaded with all the malt it could hold and this was balanced with oodles of American and New Zealand hops to create a huge American IPA. It proved popular at the Cambridge Beer Festival in cask as well as in bottle and has become a regular Poppyland brew.Read about it in the EDP.
Review of three Poppyland beers
Here's a great review and brewery profile on Youtube from Hopzine's reviewer Rob Derbyshire (Hole in the Rain, Indian Summer and Black Poppy):
Come to the brewery on most days. You should be able to have a look around, see the brewing kit and talk to Martin Warren, the Poppyland Brewer. You can also buy beer any day of the week (7am-11pm). Just call at my house (Chesterfield Lodge, West Street) near the brewery or ring 07887 389804 and I will be pleased to serve you.
Poppyland out and about in 2015
See you at Cromer Christmas Market 2015/p>
CAMRA Bottled Beer Competition 2013
Poppyland picked up two awards in its first entry to a competition - the Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA Bottled Beer of the Year Competition 2013. Poppyland Beers were awarded a silver in the speciality beers section for its Crab Saison and a bronze in the strong bitter section for Happy Valley IPA. This was the first competition Poppyland has entered, so thank you to all those volunteer judges who had to drink their way through all the bottles of the 43 beers (three bottles each), from 12 breweries, that were entered. It must have been a labour of love. Full results here.
Poppyland gets welcome publicity from CAMRA
The autumn of 2013 saw Poppyland gaining widespread recognition from national beer writer Roger Protz, who ran an article in What's Brewing (CAMRA's national newspaper) on the revival of the Chevallier variety of barley by scientists at the John Innes Centre and the brew called 'Days of Empire' (see below). This was followed by two articles in the Winter Edition of Norfolk Nips one featuring the Chevallier malt (see page 14) and the other profiling Martin Warren and the Poppyland Brewery (see page 20). Many thanks to guest writer Roger Protz and editor Mike Baldwin.
After an initial trial for 18 months when all Poppyland beers were gluten free I have decided that the cost of testing can't be sustained on such small batches as Poppyland produces. Furthermore, Poppyland sometimes makes very unusual (possibly challenging) beers, which are designed to tickle the palates of adventurous drinkers but which are perhaps just too much for the more moderate and cautious palates of coeliacs and gluten intolerant people. So from 2016 onwards only a proportion of the output will be gluten free and those will tend to be the lighter and less challenging brews. I will endeavout to maintain at least one beer, if not more, in stock that is gluten free. I will nevertheless still be exploring what beer can be, even for gluten free beers.
Some Poppyland beers will gluten free by treating the wort during fermentation with Brewers Clarex. This product is commonly used to reduce 'chill haze'. It contains an enzyme (a Proline specific endo-protease) that cleaves the long gluten molecules into their constituent peptides. It requires only a small dose and does not affect the drinking or other qualities of the beer but it does render the beer 'gluten-free', that is, less than 20 parts per million gluten. Every batch is tested with an competitive ELISA assay by an independent laboratory to verify that it is below the internationally recognised threshold of 20ppm and the results are posted on the web page for that beer. It is hoped that customers who suffer with gluten-related problems will enjoy these beers, even though they are made from 'normal' ingredients including barley and wheat. Those with especially serious sensitivity are advised to 'proceed with caution' until they are satisfied that it is safe for them to do so.
To re-iterate, these beers do not compromise on flavour or ingredients. They are same beer I would brew anyway. I simply render them gluten free with an enzyme. Maybe more brewers could do that.
Also see my Blog
Total ales Beer blog
"There is a small range of gluten free beers doing the rounds in the UK from the likes of Stringers, St. Peters, Poppyland and even Mikkeller but when I spoke to the same friends about these options the complaint was almost unanimous, most gluten free beers they'd tried were too bitter for their tastes."
Anonymous 12 November 2014 at 15:23
"Just to add, many new Poppyland beers are classified gluten free and that is a brewery that is very creative and pushing boundaries with flavours, best of both worlds!"
...and wearing my Northfolk Geology Walks hat, here's the 2015 programme
See my other website www.northfolk.org.uk/geology.html
Norwegian farmhouse ale (vossaøl)
Hawkey Frolic: strong harvest ale featuring Branthill Maris Otter and a 1958 Norwich yeast was debuted on 17 September 2015 at the Maris Otter 50 Festival.
Forty litres of the Hawkey Frolic is currently ageing in a 'new' Theakston's oak firkin (that was remade by their cooper Jonathan Manby at Masham from old barrel staves and new hoops and new Bavarian oak headers).
A very light sour for the summer
Days of Empire - the taste of history
You won't have tasted anything like this before. No one in living memory has tasted beer like this; made from a variety of malt that was popular and widely used in the 19th century but commercially extinct by the Second World War. It is the taste of beer that was enjoyed when the Poppyland Brewery premises were built as a motor garage in 1905. It is the flavour of beer when 'Poppyland' was first coined by the writer Clement Scott in the 1880s and it was the flavour of beer swigged by the poet Charles Algenon Swinburne when he was drawn to Poppyland in Clement Scott's footsteps. Now those flavours of malt, complimented by old landrace varieties of hops have been revived by Poppyland Brewery and you can savour them too.
The Chevallier heritage variety of barley dates from the 1820s. Some was grown up from a small amount of seed stored at the John Innes Centre in Norwich as part of a research project and has been floor malted by Crisps at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk. Now a tiny quantity of this barley has been made available to Poppyland Brewery and made into a batch of strong ale to showcase the incredible malty flavour. It isn't available in any retail outlets. If you want to taste this very rare beer - only 50 bottles were made - the last I heard they have some at Bacchanalia Cambridge, The Curious Hop, Otley and Beautiful Beers, Bury St Edmunds. See the Buying section for address details.
Brewing Britain: The Quest for the Perfect Pint
Published in October 2013, Andy Hamilton's "Brewing Britain, The Quest for the Perfect Pint and How to Make It" is an excellent read and is full of useful information. I was delighted to learn that the author has selected Poppyland Brewery to be included in the book, one of only 64 chosen from more than 1000 breweries in Britain today. He relates the following experience, dating from 8 September 2012:
Seafood Lovers' Ale, 7.1%, Poppyland, Cromer, Norfolk
"One of the whole reasons for creating a Saison chapter in a book about British beer was not just to be thorough, but to mention this beer. I'd headed east as far as you can go and still be in Britain, and was exploring Norfolk by train. Unfortunately the pubs we were finding either sold beer that I'd already tried, had closed down or were shut for refurbishment. We were starting to lose heart as we soberly traipsed the streets of Cromer. Then, on a residential street, we saw a shop window full of beer neatly displayed in baskets along with a note asking passers-by to call a number. I did so and a rather short, red-faced man came bounding across the street with a basket full of beer. He took us to where his beer conditions - a rather dusty looking room with home-made shelving laden with beer, more shelving in bits waiting to me made, and barrels gurgling away with a secondary fermentation of On the Edge. Martin (the brewer) remarked on the smell. This was the first time I had smelt Saison actually brewing - a smell that filled the air with the haybarns of Wallonia.
"I took the beer away. This time I was forced to wait for it, as not long after this trip my son was born and beer had to take a back seat for a while. When I eventually popped the cork, the room filled again with that haybarn smell.
"When I drank it, I was amazed. Had I found my perfect pint? It was not far off, and was certainly the perfect pint of Saison."
Poppyland is catching on
"Update - I'm being increasingly impressed by Poppyland. If they were from East London rather than North Norfolk then craft wankers would be having a collective nerdgasm over them, as it is they still seem to be too underground for the underground. But yeah, I've had some excellent hoppy saisons from them, a good American style IPA and a fairly mega Austrian Imperial Stout - I've had 6.6% of the world's total supply of the latter." Slothrop on Dissensus
Have a look at my Northfolk Project website to see what else I am up to, including Geology Walks in North Norfolk, or visit my blog. You can also see me on Facebook and Twitter (@cliff_bunny and @poppylandbeer).
Cheers. Talk to you soon...
Visiting the Poppyland Microbrewery at 46 West Street, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9DS
If you would like to visit, call me on my mobile 07887 389804 or make a booking by email: martin.warren[at]talktalk.net.
The Bittern Line - Norfolk's pretty railway line connecting Norwich with the coast comes to Cromer. The train station is only 180 metres away.
The Coasthopper Bus runs the length of the North Norfolk coast. The bus station is only 130 metres away. If you are doing a pub crawl along the coast, why not visit the brewery too and pick up something to take home?
If you are coming to Cromer to do your shopping the brewery is only 180m down the hill from Morrison's supermarket and 200m out from the dead centre of Cromer. We are 140m from the Meadow Car Park and 350m from the beach.
Get a map of our location. Grid reference: TG 21635 42082
The majority of financial investment in the business is my own but I am very grateful for training and continuing support and advice from the Barley to Beer Project which is led by Brendan Moore of the East Anglian Brewers Cooperative. The Barley to Beer Project receives financial support from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is funded by Defra and the EU.