The beer from the Aldwark Artisan Ales (AAA) brewery is a real ale drinkers dream.
They've created beer to suit every taste with a range from pale ales to a dark porter. They use the water from their own bore hole to make their beer and the clarity and purity really come through.
We always laugh a lot when we are with them and it's great to be able to sell their beer in our shop and use it in our menus too.
We asked Jen to tell us a bit about what they do, how and why they do it too.
How many of people are involved and how many employees do you have?
Mostly it’s just the two of us, (Ian and Jen). The kids are always keen to help out too. On Bottling days my dad Bob and a couple of friends come to help out, Jen and Belinda. (A different Jen). and really that’s about it. We are very much a family business and as we’ve not been going that long, we’re not quite at that employing stage.
What was the inspiration to set up AAA?
We are a small working beef and sheep farm so we’re in desperate need of diversification. since the milking cows left in 2014 the old milking parlour was redundant and in need of some attention. Ian being a chemist by trade and a keen real ale drinker came up with the brewery idea. He’s one of those types... when he decides on something he makes it happen. And here we are.
What did you do before AAA?
As I mentioned, Ian is a chemist and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years. Alongside that he has done a number of property developments in Derby, student houses mostly. He got into farming when we took on Lydgate farm, taking it over from my dad.
I grew up on a working dairy and sheep farm, my grandparents farming the farm we now run. So spent many years milking cows and lambing sheep alongside my parents.
I have done various types of work along the years including beauty therapy and butchery. (I get bored quite quickly)! We had 2 kids and took on the running of Lydgate farm about 10 years ago. We run a small beef herd and a flock of sheep. The brewery came along as a farm diversification.
What drives you to keep the exceptional standards you have?
How we live our life isn’t a job or a career, it is our life. This is who we are, and what we made. So to answer this is simple and I’ll use my grandads words.. ‘If a jobs worth doing, it’s worth doing well!’ That’s pretty much how we roll.
What do you love most about your job?
Ian really enjoys the challenge of the brew, it’s very science based and he gets to use his lifetime of knowledge on something he has total control over, that’s his. And to produce a great quality ale from all his own work, literally from building the brewery through to designing the beers, give him massive satisfaction; and so it should.
For me it’s got to be the many different aspects, my days consist of anything from chatting to landlords, cleaning casks, helping brew to calving a cow.. I get to do this in my favourite place in all the world with my 3 favourite people! What else?
What are the challenges?
They probably speak for themselves in the above answers.. variation definitely has its draw backs.. farming in itself has enormous challenges and can be very unpredictable. Then on top of that we have a brewery which in its first year went so well that we find ourselves chasing our tales every moment. Time management is difficult and not something I’m known for.. but we are getting better and learning fast. We’re a pretty good team at the end of the day and that’s key.
What is it you love about the Peak District?
What’s not to love.. it’s B E A utiful! The people are quite nice too!
What's your favourite meal and best drink to go with it?
Speaking for myself.. I love a proper pizza. Not one of those fat ones.. I like a super thin base with some super fresh toppings.. yum! Ian is definitely a biryani man.. his dad is from Mauritius and did a lot lit of the cooking growing up so he does like a bit of spice! With a beer of course!
What do you do in your free time?
We don’t have any!