Originally conceived as a one-off edition, Thomas Hardy’s Ale was initially made in the sadly now closed Eldridge Pope Brewery in Dorchester, Dorset. Marketed as a vintage barley wine, it was a tribute to Hardy’s description of the strong beer of Dorchester, “bright like an autumn sunset”, in his novel The Trumpet Major. Though there have been a handful of vintages since the 1968 release, this ale was in danger of being forgotten. However in 2012 beer enthusiasts the Vecchiato brothers rescued the brand, securing the ale’s recipe for future drinkers. Crafted with Warminster Maris Otter and Light Crystal malts, it owes its aromatic qualities to Fuggle and Golding hops. Delicious ale but please approach with caution – it weighs in at 13% vol!