Music and mash-ups

Head brewer James Clarke with Hugh Phillimore

Head brewer James Clarke with Hugh Phillimore - Credit: Archant

What better way for Cornbury Music Festival to celebrate its tenth anniversary than with an ale made specially for the event by Hook Norton Brewery

Hugh Phillimore inspects the hops

Hugh Phillimore inspects the hops - Credit: Archant

Hugh Phillimore has more reason than ever to raise a glass to the Cornbury Music Festival this summer.

The Glorious 10th pump clip design

The Glorious 10th pump clip design - Credit: Archant

To celebrate the event’s landmark tenth anniversary, the festival’s organiser has teamed up with Hook Norton brewery to create a special ale, appropriately called The Glorious 10th.

Hugh Phillimore adds the hops

Hugh Phillimore adds the hops - Credit: Archant

Described as a ‘golden, fruity, zesty’ beer, The Glorious 10th will be on sale throughout the three-day festival at The Great Tew Park next month, as well as through a number of Hook Norton pubs in the region.

Hugh Phillimore inspects the grain with head brewer James Clarke

Hugh Phillimore inspects the grain with head brewer James Clarke - Credit: Archant

This year’s festival has one of its strongest-ever line-ups, with Van Morrison, Keane and Squeeze heading up a stellar line-up of acts which also features Imelda May, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Proclaimers.

Beginning the mash

Beginning the mash - Credit: Archant

Hugh says he still can’t believe his festival has been running for a decade.

“I’m amazed that my creation has this year reached its 10th anniversary. It’s been a long and somewhat bruising journey.

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“For me, this year’s big excitement is that our award-winning local brewer Hook Norton has partnered the festival for the occasion. We decided that the creation of an anniversary ale would be a fitting way to celebrate – so was born The Glorious 10th.”

By his own admission a person better suited to late nights than early starts after many years in the music business, Hugh was still prepared to arrive at the Hook Norton brewery at 7am to help with making the ale and he says he was fascinated watching the process, overseen by James Clarke, the Hook Norton Head Brewer and the third generation of the family to own the brewery.

“When else in life are you likely to be able to witness the creation of one’s ‘own’ ale?” says Hugh.

“James Clarke welcomed us to the ‘mash-up’ process and when we arrived, the malt had already been crushed in the mill (to become ‘grist’) and stored in the grist hopper ready for use.

“Cold Cotswold water was then transported from the cold liquor tank into the hot liquor tank where it was heated in preparation for mashing with the grist.

“The crushed malt was then mixed with hot liquor through a Steeles masher which was then fed down into one of the two mash tuns as the process continued.

“We also sampled the raw barley and learnt of the years of tradition engrained in this extraordinary ancient process. A range of delicious hops passed through our hands as we slowly began to understand the brewer’s magic.”

Hook Norton is one of the Cotswolds’ most celebrated breweries. Founded in 1849 and continuously brewing since then, it has been the winner of Brewery of The Year on several occasions and awarded top honours for many of its individual ales.

Hugh says: “Alongside its most popular brews – Hooky, Hooky Gold, Old Hooky, Twelve Days, Haymaker and Double Stout - the brewery occasionally makes special one off ales.

“It produced Flagship to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Trafalgar, and last year it developed a Jubilee Ale. We’re very excited that our little festival has achieved the honour of its own celebration ale.”

Brewer James Clarke is also clearly very happy with the final product. The Glorious 10th will be available in the 43 Hook Norton houses and other selected outlets in the weeks leading up to the festival.

He says: “Glorious 10th is a pale, refreshing brew, its golden colour reflecting the summer sun. At 4.1% alcohol by volume, this is the ideal beer to savour on a warm summer’s evening.

“We are delighted to be associated with the Cornbury Festival, particularly so in its 10th year, and I look forward to enjoying a beer or two at the festival.”

As well as an eclectic musical line-up across four stages, the festival features a children’s area with a complete programme of daily workshops, the Absolute Radio Comedy Emporium including top names such as Lee Nelson, and, for a little intellectual lift, QI & Unbound’s Festival of Words with Alan Davies, Julie Burchill and Katie Brand.

There will be roaming entertainers, a fun-filled fairground, relaxing therapy and massage zone, an extensive range of arts and crafts stalls, and the range of festival caterers with a huge choice of culinary delights.

Food stalls include Cotswold-based Barnaby Sykes Pie Maker, which has been attending the festival for many years and uses locally sourced ingredients for its hand-made pies. Other local caterers include The Charlbury Pre-School which runs the popular hog-roast stall, and Great Tew School which serves tea and homemade cakes under the name of Tea for Tew.

Hugh says: “Both the hog roast stall and Tea for Tew raise much needed funds for both schools, as well as adding a wonderful sense of local community to the festival.”

• Cornbury Music Festival takes place at The Great Tew Park, July 5-7. For more info and tickets, go to

Cotswold Life is a media partner in the event.