"Like slipping into your favourite pair of hand crafted brogues, a pint of Phipps manages to be comfortable yet uplifting at the same time"Nigel Lister, Imbibe magazine
Phipps IPA 4.2% "A pint of history in your hand"
Phipps IPA, brewed to an authentic 1930s recipe, is a golden beer relying solely on the pale ale malt in its grist for its colour. The classic blend of Goldings and Fuggles hops gives the characteristic English ale flavours to this full-bodied beer. The balance of bitterness and sweetness, allied to a smooth hoppy after-taste, creates a most drinkable pint and our flagship brew.
Red Star 3.8% "A full-bodied, Midland red bitter"
This is a deep red, nutty 3.8% bitter based on the old NBC recipe, passed on to us by Pat Heron who started at NBC in 1954. Pat's father was Head Brewer at NBC's Phoenix Brewery on Bridge Street before him. Red Star is a true working man's pint made with the traditional Mild Ale malt variety that was a staple of NBC bitters and milds in the 1950s.
Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout 4.3% "Always wholesome, strong and true"This is a creamy, full bodied malty brew, satisfyingly rich with distinct caramel and coffee notes. A combination of crystal and roasted malts give the stout its deep, dark flavour topped of with a creamy thick tan head. Unlike some stouts, it isn't overly bitter due to careful use of traditional English hop varieties in the brewhouse.
Phipps Diamond Ale 3.7% "A hoppy harvest ale for summer refreshment"
A light amber harvest ale brought back to life from from Phipps' 19th century, leather bound brewer's books. A cunning combination of Kent hops rule the taste buds over Maris Otter, Pale Ale and Crystal malts. At 1036 OG this brew comes from the top end of a range of beers designed for thirst quenching following a hard day's work in field or factory. Diamond Ales were the original P.Phipps bright and sparkling beers which were developed in the early 1860s as the craze for Burton style bitters swept away dark, heavy porters.
Phipps IPA and Ratliffes Celebrated Stout are available in 500ml bottles packed in cases of 8. Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout is also available on draught during winter months.Phipps NBC beers are brewed by traditional methods,
using only the finest English ingredients,
to ensure the perfect pint every time.Creating Our Beers, Research and Authenticity
At the outset of our project we knew there was only one path to follow in turning Phipps NBC back into a brewer, one based on historical authenticity. To simply attach the name to a modern brew and to pass it off as Phipps would not only be morally bankrupt but probably lead to financial ruin as well.
We began with an investigation of two surviving bottled examples, a 1953 Phipps Coronation Ale Double Crown and an early 1960's can of Gold Star.This was carried out by Prof Usher at Sunderland University's Brewlab.
Over the next few years many people came forward with a variety of hard facts. In particular Geoff Cooper from the Brewers Association was a mine of information. Two original brewer's journals from the late 30's & 40's surfaced which gave is an invaluable insight into the methods and materials used by Phipps. The Northamptonshire County Archives at Wooton Hall also produced some key pieces in the jigsaw as Watney/Grand Met deposited company documents there that they deemed surplus to requirements in 1973.
Another crucial break through followed a article in the Chronicle & Echo in the spring of 2008. This resulted in several ex employees and brewers getting in touch to offer their support for the project. Key man in this process was John Clipston who started with P.Phipps in 1954 and continued at Bridge St. through to Carlsberg days. John was active in the pensioners association and could put names and addresses to many old faces. First Peter Mauldon was contacted, a relative new boy starting as 3rd brewer in 1966, he recommended speaking to Mike Henson, Chief Chemist from 1964.
Mike Henson with his original Phipps NBC notebooks
Mike provided his official Phipps notes on the water treatment used at Bridge Street and recommended speaking to Pat Heron. Pat started at NBC is 1954 but moved on the Hall and Woodhouse in the early 70s as Head Brewer. Pat passed on the recipe for Phipps IPA and has acted as chief consultant for all our revived brews to date. Since the launch, another Bridge St. brewer from the 60s, Bob Hipwell, has made contact and added to our knowledge base. 101 year old NBC brewer Charles Robinson contributed his vast experience to the recreation of Red Star. Next Robin Seward, son of former Head Brewer A.L.Seward, gave us access to his father's brewing notebooks, rescued from the demolition of Bridge Street when Robin was working there in the dying days of the plant..Pat Heron in 2010
From here on we knew the wealth of experience on offer meant we could now brew a Phipps beer worthy of its history.
The next step was to identify a brewing partner with the skills and desire to bring Phipps back to life. We looked for a brewer with the depth of experience necessary to turn the dry and dusty recipes back into a living, breathing beer. Tony Davies from the Grainstore Brewery was the obvious candidate having worked under Dusty Miller, ex Head Brewer at Phipps, when both were at Ruddles in the 1980s.
After various take overs in the 90s, and final owner Greene King's decision to close the Ruddles Langham brewery, Tony decided to set up on his own in the converted Grainstore at Oakham Station. He brews a wide range of classic beers, many in the Ruddles tradition and has now turned his attention to Phipps beers. Tony is a time-served Master Brewer who learned his craft in the traditional way, starting at Charles Welles in Bedford.
Dusty Miller passes on the baton to
our current Head Brewer, Tony Davis Tony at his Grainstore Brewery Dec 08 brewing Phipps IPA
Phipps IPA 4.2%
Phipps IPA was the Flagship brew of both P.Phipps, Phipps NBC and Phipps Brewery Ltd from its appearance in the late 19th century until 1968 when all traditional draught beers from Bridge Street disappeared. It continued as a bottled beer until 1970. Phipps perfected the golden hoppy brew at a time when most beers were dark and heavy and its popularity was undoubtedly one of the factors that enabled the company to become the largest brewer in the East Midlands.
This brew was the obvious choice for our first revived beer and its survival well into the Watney era meant we have both detailed brewing records allied to the input of a number of old Bridge Street men who brewed it. In particular Phipps' chief chemist Mike Henson kept all his note books from his time with the company and provided us with Phipps' unique water analysis and treatment procedure. Our current brewer Tony Davis studied recipes for the beer from the 30s, 40s and 60s and decided to reinstate some of the ingredients discarded in the austerity condition of WW2 and never restored in the postwar era.
Red Star Bitter 3.8%
A NBC recipe, passed on to us by Pat Heron who started at NBC in 1954. Pat's father was Head Brewer at NBC's Phoenix Brewery on Bridge Street before him. Red Star is made with the traditional Mild Ale malt variety that was a staple of NBC bitters and milds in the 1950s.
NBC was the first brewer in Northamptonshire to introduce the Burton Union system and they always maintained the quality of their session bitters. The company was known for its many catchy slogans such as "NBC beers radiate good cheer" but often used the simple " NBC The Best", emphasising their acknowledged superiority over rivals in the best bitter department. When Phipps NBC first attempted to merge draught Phipps and NBC in 1959, the latter's drinkers revolted and the company was forced to restore the separate and distinct brews. The reprieve was short lived as NBC PA , or Red Star as it was often called, was sold in the same category as the new owner's Watney's flagship brew Red Barrel, was quickly withdrawn to make way for the infamous keg beer.
Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout 4.3%
The old Northampton brewery of Ratliffe and Jeffery was taken over by Phipps in 1899 but Mr Ratliffe stayed on with the company to oversee the continued brewing of his famous stout. By the end of the 30s Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout had replaced Phipps' own brews as the main stout. In WW2 it was the bottled beer sent out to the Northamptonshire Regiment serving with the Desert Rats in North Africa. This was commemorated on the 1940s bottle label by the inclusion of a red rat in front of pyramids and palm trees. After the merger with NBC the joint stout was known as Ratliffe's Jumbo Stout, later shortened to Phipps Jumbo Stout. This was the last Phipps branded product brewed by Watney Mann, bowing out in October 1972