VEGAN BEER LANDS TOP AWARD.
Byline: STEVE BAGNELL firstname.lastname@example.org
AWELSH micro-brewery which produces vegan beers has bagged a top taste award at the British food and drink "Oscars".
Dovecote Brewery in Denbigh produces exclusively vegan-friendly ales at its headquarters on Colomendy industrial estate and uses 90% Welsh ingredients.
And one of them is Dove Down Under, a 4.8%-strength ale made with New Zealand hops, which has just scooped Two Stars at the Great Taste Awards, dubbed the British food and drink Oscars by the Daily Telegraph.
All Dovecote's 10 beers are vegan and so are the 16 seasonal specials they brew, which distinguish them from almost all other brewers which use animal products to clear their drinks. The most common is isinglass, made from the swim bladders of tropical fish.
It acts by causing the particles which cause beer to go cloudy to clump together and sink to the bottom of the brewing vessel.
But Dovecote chief brewer Richard Green prefers traditional methods, quality ingredients and time to ensure his beers and ales are crystal clear.
The industrial chemist from Walsall, in the West Midlands, was persuaded by wife Sue to turn his homebrewing hobby into a business just over two years ago.
They all adhere to the 503-year-old German Purity Laws which insist beer can only be brewed from barley, hops, water and yeast.
Richard said: "We just brew it properly and keep it for three weeks to make sure it's clear. Some of these mass-produced beers are supposed to be made in 18 minutes so they need something extra to clear them.
"It was a conscious decision to make our beer vegan when we started two years ago, so we were vegan before it became trendy.
"In fact we are very close to being entirely local, with some of the beers we produce having 90% Welsh ingredients and we are looking at suppliers of hops and barley in the Vale of Clwyd to make a really local brew."
The success in the Great Taste awards has also come as a surprise, according to Sue, who said: "We entered our Dove Down Under to get feedback and experience and we thought if we're going to enter awards we might as well go for the best one.
"So we were really surprised to do so well and the comments from the judges have been very encouraging."
Award-winning vegan beer producers Richard and Sue Green of Dovecote Brewery at the Salusbury Arms, Tremeirchion CRAIG COLVILLE