Doctor prescribes brewer name
For many people, alcohol comes at the end of a particularly strenuous working day or week.
For Roger Abrahams, though, all day, every day is about beer. That is because Mr Abrahams and his wife, Julie Savory, run one of Norfolk’s best-known breweries, Buffy’s.
I met with Mr Abrahams this week to get the story behind the real ale micro-brewery, and to get to the bottom of the name, which the local GP had a hand in.
Although acknowledging that running the brewery in Tivetshall St Mary plus two pubs elsewhere in the county is very demanding, Mr Abrahams told me that even after 20 years, the only other thing he would rather be doing is lazing on a Caribbean beach.
He said: “It’s hard work, but it can be rewarding.”
Despite having brewed beer as a hobby since the age of 15, Mr Abrahams was 42 when he started Buffy’s Brewery.
He previously worked at Norwich Union, but left to pursue his dream career when the insurance company began experiencing difficulties.
It has not always been plain sailing for the south Norfolk brewery since then, though: in 2003, an accidental fire destroyed the old brewhouse.
The firm, which currently employs one person, brewer Duncan Walker, has been building a new brewhouse which is on course to open this summer.
As well as selling at beer festivals nationwide, including hosting the once-yearly event at Diss Corn Hall, JD Wetherspoon will soon be selling Buffy’s at all its pubs within a 30-mile radius of Tivetshall.
Buffy’s is named after a well-known, beer-loving agricultural worker who used to live at Mardle Hall - now home to Mr Abrahams’ brewery.
The suggestion to name it after Buffy was made by local GP, Dr Philip Leftley.
The man himself, meanwhile, was only too happy to offer his approval.
Along with his wife, who also works as a piano technician, Mr Abrahams runs The Cherry Tree in Wicklewood, and The White Hart in Foulden, naer Swaffham - a pub due to reopen shortly.
Buying malt locally, Mr Abrahams believes his beer gets its distinctive taste from the quality of ingredients used.
Although it often varies, the brewery can produce up to 1,200 gallons of beer per week.
Buffy’s only bottles its beer once a year, as Mr Abrahams said the process is not cost-effective:“turnover is vanity, profit is sanity,” he noted.
Buffy’s Brewery produces a range of beers: Polly’s Folly, which is named after a student who had once enjoyed an infamously debauched night of drinking, Norwich Terrier, Mild, Norwegian Blue, Mucky Duck, India Ale, 9X, which is made once a year, and Bitter.
While chatting to Mr Abrahams, I tried a glass of the latter. I thoroughly recommend seeking some out yourself.
You can sample Bitter in Diss, as Buffy’s Brewery runs the bar at the Corn Hall.
Buffy’s beer is sold in several south Norfolk pubs, usually as a guest ale. You can also buy it from the brewery itself.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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