Lacons – Meet the Brewer at the Lidgate Star


The latest in the series of ‘meet the brewer’ events at the Star was with Adam from Lacons. Although not the brewer himself, he was still knowledgeable and enthusiastic about beer and the history of Lacons. There was also a tasting of three beers from the brewery, Encore, Old Nogg and Yarmouth Strong.

Lacons was founded in 1760 and started in the sunlit uplands of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. It has some longer origins even than that, beginning in 1640 as a brewery which was owned by the Ward family, passing by marriage into the hands of Paul Lacon. The brewery was a large employer in the nineteenth century with a large estate of pubs particularly in Great Yarmouth, but also across East Anglia. All was well, or mostly well, until Whitbread decided that they would acquire Lacons in 1965, paying £3.2 million for it and they acquired 354 pubs into the bargain. Excited at their new purchase and keen to do more with it, they promptly shut it in 1968. Sub-optimal. However, this amalgamation of brewing had been happening for some time and Lacons themselves had purchased the Diss Brewery in 1897 and shut it down.

But, back to the more recent past, the brewery was brought back in 2009 and the new owners were able to use yeast samples from the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (there’s some forward planning there, setting that up in the first place) to recreate some of the beers. That was useful with the introduction of the brewery’s heritage range, including Old Nogg (a beer name that has been brought back) and Yarmouth Strong. On which point, I thought for reasons of professional research that I should try both of these beers.

Starting with the Old Nogg, this recipe is from 1926 and let’s just say that they evidently knew how to brew beer back then. There’s a bit of chocolate and liquorice to the taste, with a rich aftertaste. This is my favourite beer from the Lacons range so far, I was suitably impressed.

This is the Yarmouth Strong and my beer writing skills were rather limited on Untappd as all I could note is that it was like a strong bitter. I’m not likely to win any beer writing awards soon I’m afraid with that sort of description, although apparently my description wasn’t inaccurate. It’s quite a weighty number at 7% ABV and it’s based on a recipe from 1916.

It was an enjoyable evening to watch proceedings, and I was impressed at how some others remembered some trivia from the evening and won themselves some drinks.

Finally, as part of my riveting blog content, I’ll see if Adam will do a little Q&A for the blog as well, watch this space.