Q&A: Thornbridge's Rob Lovatt

Few beer lovers would deny that Thornbridge is one of the country’s best breweries. Here we speak to Head Brewer Rob Lovatt

What do you think sets Thornbridge apart from other breweries? I think that we are brewers of integrity, and certainly brewer led. We produce an extremely wide range of beer styles, all to the best of our ability, in cask, keg and bottle. We also do a lot of R&D into the beers we produce. What was the ethos Thornbridge first set out with? I joined five years in but I know it’s always been about raising the bar in terms of quality.

How do you see the beer  scene developing in the  next few years? I see there being a consolidation in terms of quality. Those breweries who aren’t up to scratch will fall by the wayside. Customers, as in the US 15 years ago, are becoming more savvy and know more about beer than they did five years ago. I also think that brewers will have to offer a broader range of beers as the customer always wants something new.

As well as a solid core range, Thornbridge makes a huge range of specials – how do you go about choosing what to make next?
Generally it’s an idea myself or one of the other brewers come up with. Sometimes it’s after tasting an amazing beer by another brewery. How do you see Thornbridge developing over the next couple of years? Just continuing what we have always done. Always looking to improve the quality and consistency of beers. However, I think sour beers will certainly be an area we invest in.

What is the one Thornbridge beer that everyone should try?
There are too many to mention. However, if I had to choose one at the moment it would be Huck (see below).
What other breweries are you enjoying at the moment?
My favourite breweries are still Russian River, Firestone Walker, Timmy Taylor and Schönramer.


Huck / 7.4%
The DIPA is a thing and trust Thornbridge to nail another one. Huck is one of those DIPAs, clocking in at 7.4%, that gives off a warming alcohol glow, and is rich in melon, honey – it’s certainly on the sweeter side of some DIPAs we’ve seen. Yet, as we say with pretty much all Thornbridge beers, it is incredibly well balanced. This isn’t a hop bomb, but balanced by a lingering piney bitterness. This is just one of those beers you sip and think ‘they nailed it again’.

Days of Creation / 7%
Aged with raspberries in burgundy barrels, this 7% ABV sour red ale won the silver medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup. Intensely tart with plenty of sharp raspberry fruitiness, Days of Creation is smooth and complex with a hint of lemon zest in the dry finish.

Crackendale / 5.2%
Aren’t hops amazing? The addition of a single variety, in this case Citra, can lift a beer to dizzying heights. Yet it takes a skilled brewer to squeeze every last drop of flavour out of each one. Thornbridge’s Rob Lovatt (interviewed in this Beer Club Collection), has given this beer a whacking tropical aroma, with guava and ripe citrus coming through. We love it.