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19th February 2013

Towards the re-birth of Thomas Hardy’s Ale

The legendary Thomas Hardy’s Ale continues its journey towards production. The brand, acquired by the Vecchiato brothers’ Brew Invest, is finally online, with the new website

Little by little Thomas Hardy’s Ale is coming back to life, thanks to the brave decision of brothers Sandro and Michele Vecchiato, owners of brewery Brew Invest, to buy the brand and the recipes for this historic barley wine.

The brew quickly became a true legend among real ale fans when it was first produced by brewers Eldridge Pope in 1968 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Thomas Hardy. In his well-known short story “The Trumpet Major” the English writer tells of a Dorchester strong beer, describing it as “of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire….luminous as an autumn sunset”.

This is a truly special beer, high in alcohol, voluptuous and full-bodied with lasting flavours, but also and especially, one which improves with age, and can be kept up to 25 years. Brewed only once a year and left to mature in oak casks, the ale is bottled and labelled according to vintage.

But high costs, combined with the limited quantities produced, forced first Eldridge Pope and subsequently O’Hanlon to abandon production.

Today Brew Invest, strengthened by thirty years’ experience of brewing real ales, have thrown themselves headlong into the re-launch of Thomas Hardy’s Ale.

The march towards production proceeds apace, and the brewers are currently looking into the optimum location for this special product.


Meanwhile however the new website is online and can be found at, where it will tell the story of Thomas Hardy’s Ale and give regular updates of the work in progress to renew production of this historic English barley wine.

In the form of a blog, it will recount the most interesting aspects and important moments in the process of bringing Thomas Hardy’s Ale back to life, from the beginning to future projects.

A site not to be missed by all true beer-lovers, and a useful interactive communication tool between Brew Invest and the site’s users, with the common dream of allowing future generations the pleasure of drinking a Thomas Hardy’s Ale.