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?
|Smokehouse Porter IN STOCK|
|Hawkey Frolic IN STOCK|
|Stormbrynger IN STOCK|
|Vossaøl Norwegian Farmhouse IN STOCK|
|Flowers of the Field IN STOCK|
|East Beach India Pale Ale BACK IN STOCK|
|Freshes Creek IN STOCK|
|Strange Attractor RUNNING LOW|
Brewing next: The Lost World of Doggerland a wheat beer with samphire.
Poppyland is Champion again!
Poppyland received 5 awards at the 2017 CAMRA Beer Awards at a gala evening in Epic Television Studios, Norwich. Brewer Martin Warren consolidated his reputation as one of Norfolk's top brewers with a one-year-barrel-aged 9.6% imperial porter named Tragic Empress to take Gold in the Porter and Stout Category while the ever popular 6.5% East Coast IPA took Gold in the Strong Bitter Category. Both beers so impressed the judges that they competed against each other in the Overall Winner Category, with Tragic Empress taking Gold and East Coast IPA the Silver. The Bronze went to Humpty Dumpty's Imperial Russian Stout. It was also a great thrill to receive a certificate for Poppyland Stormbrynger, a 6.5% brown rye IPA, that took First place in the Strong Bitter/IPA Category of the 39th Norwich Beer Festival, held last October.
Poppyland was also Overall Winner in the Bottled Beer of Norfolk competition in 2016 with 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).
National Winter Ales Festival 2017
The CAMRA National Winter Ales Festival has moved to Norwich for the next three years. I am proud to say that Poppyland was represented by four firkins of Smokehouse Porter. Here it is racked up in the Competition Beers section in Blackfriars Hall (third from left, top stillage). I was delighted with the condition and the flavour of the beer at the trade session and although it didn't win any prize on this occasion, I think it was a very good example of that beer. The ingredients were smoked in Jonas' Victorian smokehouse in Chapel Street just down the street from the brewery and there is a fine aroma and flavour of the smoke that is used to cure kippers, haddock and so on. My thanks to John and Frances Jonas for their help (especially Frances, who clambered up the ladder with my trays of hops and malt).
From 'Farm assurance', by Des de Moor
"One of my favourite Norfolk breweries is also one of the smallest and newest: Poppyland in Cromer, founded by Martin Warren in 2012. It's one of those decidedly artisanal operations that's always brewing something new and innovative in small, bottled batches, so there are no core brands to recommend, but the beers are never less than interesting and sometimes sublime. I loved Poppyland Norwegian Farmhouse Strong Ale (7.4%) a deliberately near-still black beer made with authentic kveik yeast, rich with rye bread, treacle and slightly piny-gingery hints and balanced by herbal and eucalyptus notes."
CAMRA Beer magazine, Winter 2016
Des de Moor is one of the country's leading writers on bottled beer, and author of CAMRA's London's Best Beer, Pubs & Bars.
The Norwegian Farmhouse Strong Ale is now sold out at the brewery but the second brewing with kveik is out now, called Vossaøl and is also 7.4% abv.
Poppyland in Sheringham
The Giddy Goat is a new shop selling mainly Norfolk real ales and cider, situated at 2 The Courtyard, Station Road, Sheringham. Ring John Morgan to check their stock of Poppyland beers on 01263 478600 or mobile 07786 288916. (October 2016)
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. (August 2016)
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.
The new 2017 programme of Geology Walks is now published and again this year it includes two "Beery Walks". The dates are as follows:
- July 9 (Sunday) West Runton - Roman Camp circular walk
- August 28 (Bank Holiday Monday) Cromer - Felbrigg Woods circular walk
For £15 participants will receive a bottle of Poppyland beer and get further tastings along the way, as well as a guided walk through the scenic landscape of the Cromer Ridge. I will point out features of interest and speak about how I take inspiration and sometimes ingredients from the countryside around Cromer. Non-imbibers are welcome too at £6 each. Follow this link for further details and booking arrangements for all the Geology and Beery Walks.
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.
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
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.
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 endeavour 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 are rendered 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
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.
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.