Friary Meux closed in 1969 but it was a big regional brewery based right in the heart of Guildford. It owned many pubs and indeed, many beer drinkers in Surrey and London cut their teeth on Friary Meux beer.
Now, Little Beer Corporation – as the first brewery to open in Guildford since Friary Meux closed its doors – is reproducing one of the Friary Meux beers, namely Audit Ale, their Barley Wine.
Jim Taylor, founder & CEO of Little Beer Corporation, tells the tale:
For the last couple of years, we’ve thought about reproducing one of the old Friary Meux beers, as a mark of respect and a sign we were picking up the brewing mantle in Guildford. However, it was only earlier this year when we decided to go for it. This came about when we got our hands on a bottle of 47-year old Audit Ale, and tried it; whilst a little oxidised by the years, it was nevertheless, very drinkable!
Before planning the recipe and the production, we first went about contacting the current IP-owners….
Friary Meux – before closing – was part of Allied brands. In 1978, Allied Breweries merged with the food and catering group J. Lyons and Co to form Allied Lyons. The breweries business merged with Carlsberg in 1992 and became Carlsberg-Tetley, which is now part of Carlsberg Group, with Carlsberg-Tetley now known as Carlsberg UK. So technically, the IP for the Friary brands belongs to Carlsberg UK
On contacting them, Carlsberg UK were very helpful indeed & granted Little Beer Corporation a licence of the trade mark ‘Friary Meux’ for a six month period, to brew & sell this Limited Edition beer.
No record of the original Audit Ale recipe exists, so the recipe was devised simply by trying the original. Based on this, we formulated a recipe for a 7.0% Barleywine, golden in colour, with a full-malty-sweetness.
Subsequently, the beer has been brewed and it is now in the fermenting vessel. We’re now in the process of getting the labelling done. We’ll use both a standard 330ml bottle, with filtered carbonated beer; as well as, 375ml Aida Italian bottles, with wax seals & bottle-conditioned beer, aimed at those wishing to mature it for another few years …. Or maybe another 47 years!
Both bottle types will use front & back labels, as below:
Front Label Back Label
The bottles will be released at the end of November. They’ll be for sale in our brewery shop, in local Majestic stores, Inn@home Guildford, and nationally through Eebria.com