Hinton's Drop the Anchor Brewery to host open day at its East Close Farm site
A SMALL brewery operating from a Hinton farm that specialises in vegan craft beers is hosting an open day with real ales, a barbecue and live music.
Drop the Anchor Brewery, run by Neil Hodgkinson and his wife Rosie, will open up the site at East Close Farm to the public on Saturday 22nd May between 1pm and 8pm.
As well as a great variety of beers brewed to cater to all tastes, Wayne Burbidge of Burb's Kitchen will be firing up the barbecue and there will be live music from local band Zac and the Zeros and Mudeford & Sons. Accordion player Andrew Helson will also be playing, along with Neil and Rosie's 17-year-old Marley, who will perform a guitar duet with her friend.
Local traders selling upcycled jewellery and clothes and organic stationary will be at the event, and for the kids there will be face painting, henna tattoos, soft drinks, sweets and cakes.
Neil (45) went from brewing beer from his home in Tuckton to embarking upon a complete career change from IT manager at local schools - most recently Twynham - to brewery owner.
He moved from his former site at Avon Works in Bridge Street, Christchurch, to East Close Farm on the A35 during the country's first lockdown to accommodate his growing business.
Drop the Anchor's beers, handcrafted in small cask batches, are vegan, meaning chemically prepared fish guts - a sticky collagen-like substance - are not used to clarify the ales and make the yeast settle.
"So our beers all look cloudy, which is how they should look," said Rosie, who runs Mocha Turtle coffee shop in Tuckton. "They don't contain any chemicals and they have not been tampered with."
As well as creating IPAs for the more traditional mild ale drinker, Neil also brews dark porters like the Black Dog Porter, with rich, dark chocolate aromatics and subtle coffee-like notes, and the award-winning 40 Past Midnight Coffee Porter which uses Mocha Turtle beans.
Neil also likes to play around with a range of quirky and delicious flavours for his porters like Snickers, chocolate orange, strawberry milkshake, and blueberry and pecan.
His Breaking Glass stout uses hazlenut praline with added chocolate grain, and the St Clements is a sweet ale aged with oranges and lemons and a little lime.
"Neil is very passionate about what he does," Rosie told the A&T. "He is completely self-taught; after taking over our kitchen to brew beer he realised he was actually very good at it and decided to take the plunge.
"He wants to get people interested - more women are drinking ales now, many of whom seem to like the sweeter ones that are less hoppy.
"Many of the names of the beers have meaning locally or are personal to Neil - one is called Tuctonia, a 1970s theme park in Christchurch, and others are named after music tracks he likes such as Led Zeppellin's Trampled Under Foot."
Drop the Anchor supplies micro-pub the Tuckton Tap House, which is due to reopen next week, and also No 10 The Snug in Church Street, Christchurch.
Currently, the brewery opens to customers on Fridays between 1pm and 7pm and Saturdays from 12pm until 6pm for takeaways or a sit down pint. Burb's Kitchen is also open for takeaway food. Outside seating is available, or customers can bring their own. Opening times are set to change from next week when government Covid restrictions ease and are yet to be confirmed.
Tickets for the open day are £2.50, with all proceeds going to NHS Heroes.
"We have friends who work at Bournemouth Hospital," said Rosie. "This money will go directly to support the mental health and wellbeing of frontline workers."
Parking is available, but Neil and Rosie have also organised a mini bus to ferry people to and from Hinton train station.
"This will be a family oriented event and a really fun, chilled out day," said Rosie. "It's a massive site here and safety will be our absolute priority."
For information or to buy a ticket, go to www.droptheanchorbrewery.co.uk
To see Burb's Kitchen menu, visit www.burbskitchen.co.uk