A keen real ale enthusiast and stalwart of the Rutland branch of CAMRA, (the Campaign for Real Ale), John Wood, who founded Oakham in Rutland in 1993, passed away this January.
The new Oakham brew, which derives its name from his other great passion, Morris dancing, was made public for the first time at the recent Rutland Beer Festival, where it was awarded the Champion Beer of the Festival, and is now available in wider circulation during July.
The golden ale has a volume of 4.4% and in tribute to John's open-minded approach to new taste is made from four new types of hop varieties from Slovenia – Fox, Kolibri, Cardinal and Eagle.
Oakham's tasting notes say it has a light bitterness and an aroma of blackcurrant, elderflower, lime and pineapple.
The drink is a fitting tribute to John Wood, someone who devoted much of his life to the real ale industry. He founded Oakham in 1993, two years before the company's purchase by senior partner Paul Hook and subsequent relocation to its current Peterborough base.
Wood's own creation, Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (JHB), has won many awards over the last 20 years, including gold in CAMRA's Supreme Champion Beer Award in 2001, and remains a key part of Oakham's range to this day.
Described by friends as 'a colourful, larger – never lager – than life character', Wood had a suitably celebratory send-off at his funeral, with 18 Morris dancers pounding the floor with their sticks at the wake, where Oakham supplied a firkin of JHB to commemorate his life.
When he died, CAMRA paid tribute, saying "It has been said that John, with the success of JHB, helped change the face of brewing by introducing new ranges of hops leading to a lighter, more 'floral' taste and lighter colour to beers."
Oakham's existing range of award-winning beers can be found in pubs and supermarkets (pubs and many retailers) across the country and includes John's original recipes of JHB and Bishop's Farewell that have been slightly adjusted by adding more hops to adapt to the market.
Adrian Posnett, Oakham Ales' managing director, said: "John's contribution to Oakham Ales will be never forgotten, a man without whom there would be no Oakham Ales at all."
Barking Dog Media
We provide a range of media services to help you promote, market and represent you or your organisation, club or business in public.