All about the brewery
Founder of Red Fox Brewery, Russ Barnes was the brewer of Supreme Champion Beer of Great Britain at the Great British Beer Festival two years running as head brewer at his previous brewery. After almost 4 years with them, Russ left to start his own brewery. The first beer brewed was Wily Ol’ Fox, swiftly followed by the CAMRA gold medal winning Coggeshall Gold.
The Red Fox philosophy is “Traditional beers, brewed the traditional way.” True to this, all of the beer is made in small batches by hand, personally supervised by Russ. Even bottling is done on a small scale, from the same batches that are cask conditioned for local pubs, and without any extra additives or preservatives, so you get the same experience whether you’re drinking a freshly pulled pint or a bottle in your own home. The beer itself is as traditional as can be too, with only four ingredients – hops, barley, water and yeast – varying the hop varieties and proportions to give the range of beers (with the occasional addition such as locally grown cherries).
The Red Fox beers are all hand-brewed craft beers, ranging from bright and light golds, through pale ales, bitters and all the way into the rich, dark porters and stouts. The core beers such as Coggeshall Gold and Best Bitter are brewed year-round, but there are also a variety of seasonal beers such as Fire Fox, Arctic Fox, or Spiced Sloe Stout, and limited brews to commemorate special occasions like the Olympic Gold, Jubilee Bitter, or the recent Millenium Fox – the 1000th brew, on the 10th anniversary of the brewery’s founding. Of course Russ is always looking for new things to try, so every year there are new beer varieties, some of them exclusive single-brew releases and some of them to be added to the permanent roster.
Previously, thanks to licensing laws, Red Fox could only sell directly on specific occasions such as the Christmas market, but with this development you can get your favourite brews year-round from the flagship location in Coggeshall. (For more about the shop, check out the “where to buy” page.)
The shop was originally going to be simply local craft beers and craft gins, as both Russ and Nick were interested in getting good gins into an area without many to choose from, but two local wine suppliers offered their services so now the shop does all three. Over 30 varieties of beer, 20 gins, and a constantly evolving stock of wine currently fill the shelves of the miniature shop.
For the true beer aficionado, the brewery also offers tours, tastings, and a one-day brewery experience where you get to see exactly what goes into your favourite drink and come away with a 32-pint poly-pin you brewed yourself (and the certificate to prove it) or a selection of bottles. Be warned – it’s not just a day of sitting around and drinking! Wear sturdy clothes and good shoes, and prepare for a bit of heavy lifting.