Locally brewed ales are on the rise and so is the role of women in the brewing industry. One women who is riding the crest of this wave is Jo Coubrough. She is helping to reignite the role of female brewers from North Norfolk at Jo C's Norfolk Ale.
Tucked away near rural Fakenham in North Norfolk is Jo C's (pronounced Josie's) Norfolk Ale. Through the use of the best local ingredients, which just so happens to include Maris Otter (one of the finest malts in the world) she is brewing traditional beer styles with a focus on quality and consistency. Below is a brief description of the ales that she brews.
Norfolk Kiwi (3.8% ABV) is a straw colour easy drinking session bitter with floral citrus flavours from English and New Zealand hops.
Bitter Old Bustard (4.3% ABV) is a russet coloured best bitter with warm nutty biscuit flavours.
Knot just another IPA (5% ABV) is a golden IPA with a blast of British Bodicea hops giving it a grassy scented aroma and floral flavour notes.
The focus on quality and consistency is definitely paying dividends as she has received CAMRA gold awards for Norfolk Kiwi at both the Norwich and Peterborough Beer Festivals in 2014, CAMRA bronze best bitter for Bitter Old Bustard at Norwich beer festival in 2012 and the prestigious Beer of the festival at CAMRA Huntingdonshire Booze on the Ouse 2014 for Knot Just Another IPA. With these great tasting ales what does she attribute her success to? "Hard work, you won't get anywhere without it! And a love for cleaning as most of brewing is cleaning and cleaning again!"
If you want to get hold of some of her award winning brews you can either go to online store from the website www.jocsnorfolkale.co.uk and purchase either bottles or mini casks alongside some merchandise which includes pump clips.
How did she get started in the first place and what her aspirations for the future of the brewery? "It was initially my husbands idea, who doesn't want their wife to own a brewery! I was also inspired by a friend who had a big career change later in life so I thought why not you only live once. As for what does the future hold? As long as I enjoy what I'm doing and people enjoy drinking the beer then I'm happy. I want everything I do to be the best that it can be. I will only expand when I have time to do so properly.".
It looks like things are on the up and that Jo is really enjoying the world of brewing. Her approach to producing great tasting beers from the finest of local ingredients tailored to what the local patrons and customers want to drink seems to be a sensible and profitable one. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some of her brews don't remain silent like the Great Bustard but make the flute like noise of the Knot to friends and family.