Monday, 15 July 2013

Croydon Food Heroes - Clarence and Fredericks Brewery

Poor old Croydon gets a bad rap from Londoners. The riots in 2011 certainly didn't help and I have to say that the driving can be pretty suspect at times. We think it's time to highlight the positives in Croydon by writing about some of the dedicated people providing quality food and drink experiences for hungry and thirsty Croydoners.

Clarence and Fredericks Brewery

When we discovered that a new Croydon brewery had started up barely ten minutes walk from our house we had to find out more. Family brewery Clarence and Fredericks was launched in late 2012 by Duncan Woodhead and his partner Vicky, with the aim of producing quality real ale with modern and characterful recipes. Duncan has used his professional brewing experience to scale up his homebrew recipes to their commercial kit and he's done a great job. The beers have deceptively simple names which belie the complexity of the flavours. When you buy the beers at the brewery it's reassuring to see Duncan pay close attention to the condition of the beers before he lets you take them out the door. And when you taste them it's obvious that a lot of thought and craftsmanship have gone into producing them.

All the Clarence and Fredericks beer is brewed here in their Croydon brewery.

The brewery shop sells beer on Saturdays and whenever they are brewing, it seems. It's best to follow them on twitter to find out when they are open.

It's a given that breweries make a pale, a bitter and a dark but within these categories there is so much space to be creative with flavour. The following beers show that it's possible to be creative with delicious cask ale.

Golden Pale

It's great when a cask golden ale gets heavy with American hops. These give the beer a fresh tropical fruit aroma and a healthy bitterness. It's sharp, refreshing and is the perfect beer for a summer afternoon in a beer garden with a burger.

Strong Mild

The Clarence and Fredericks Mild is a real treat, though perhaps not what you might be looking for at this time of year. It's very dark and has got a rich mocha aroma and taste with a little caramel and some cocoa nib nuttiness.


The American Pale on the other hand is exactly right for these sweltering days. A multitude of US hops give their citrus pith bitterness, and it has a crisp dryness that cuts to the heart of your thirst.

 Best Bitter

This great beer was one of the few highlights of the doomed London's Brewing event. Duncan has taken the sometimes stodgy and predictable best bitter and given it an overhaul. It has a deep inviting caramel colour and a sweet nutty aroma. By taking out the crystal malt and replacing with small amounts of brown, black and aromatic malts he has avoided the cloying character that some bitters have. These malts have also given the beer great nuttiness and body. There is an impressive level of bitterness and a fruity Sussex tang from the British hops. I wish this was the standard bitter in my local - I would drink a lot of it.

At the moment their beer is available from pubs across London and the South East and direct from cask at the brewery. Duncan tells me that it will be in bottles soon so expect to find it further afield in the near future.


James said...

Hey. Hope you enjoyed EBBC13! Just wondering how I get in touch to send you free samples?

Sam said...

Hi James. EBBC13 was great, had a lovely time. Drop me an email at and I'll give you the address. Cheers