Beer & Barley Farming

Signs close to Teddy Maufe’s North Norfolk farm tell motorists they are entering Malting Barley Country.

Records show the Iceni nurtured wild barley to brew beer on land in the area 2,000 years ago, and he is proud to be continuing the tradition at Branthill Farm. He would like the East of England to be as well-known for the quality of its malting barley as the Bordeaux region is known for its grapes.

Teddy, a tenant farmer on the Holkham estate near Wells-next-the-Sea, grows 160 acres of spring barley and 220 acres of Maris Otter winter malting barley on light, sandy soils. He says the distinctive coastal climate of North Norfolk helps extend the natural ripening process.

His Maris Otter goes to Crisp Maltings in nearby Great Ryburgh and about a quarter of the crop is then used by Norfolk microbrewers, who send beers back to be sold in the real ale shop he has opened on the farm. Some of the bottles even show a grid reference of the actual field where the malting barley was grown.

He plans to strengthen this link even further by developing a micro malting at the farm, which will be used by local brewers to produce a special range of real ales.

Teddy works with other local producers to promote food and drink, helping to organise a two-day festival at Holkham Hall in September that involves more than 60 North Norfolk food and drink producers.

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