A micro-look at ale and events at Pheasantry Brewery
Join Pheasantry Brewery, East Markham this weekend as they celebrate their first year of opening with the Pheasantry Brewery Beer Festival. We caught up with owner Mary Easterbrook, who set up the Brewery with husband Mark, to find out more about the history of their farm, the restaurant and what to look forward to at the upcoming festival.
We’d love to know a little more about the history of the farm…
My family have farmed in North Nottinghamshire for generations. The current business was started by my grandfather, Joseph Camm, when he came to Great Morton, Babworth around 1910. Our farm is still based at Babworth but we also farm in South Yorkshire. In 2008 we bought High Brecks Farm near East Markham together with its derelict house and buildings in 2008. We renovated the house and my family and I moved into it in October 2010.
What were your reasons for starting a micro-brewery?
When we bought the farm the buildings were derelict but in the curtilage of a listed building and therefore could not be pulled down. They are of no use for modern day agriculture and we had to think of an alternative use for them. My husband has worked in food manufacturing for years and he is passionate about beer and he came up with the idea of a microbrewery. The area had been an important hop growing area for around 150 years from the early 18th century when nearby Tuxford had its own Hop Fair. The farm sale details from 1943 show that the field down from the restaurant was called Hopyard and there are hops growing wild in the hedges today. High Brecks farm was owned from the late 17th century by the Kirke family who lived in the hall at East Markham. There was a brew house within the original buildings here which was for John Kirke’s personal use. We, as growers of malting barley, are proud to restore the tradition of brewing back to this farm.
How did the name ‘Pheasantry Brewery’ come about?
There is a cottage on the site which with old maps show, used to be a Pheasantry for breeding and rearing game birds in the 19th Century. We have also renovated this building and it can be seen from the restaurant.
Are your ales available for purchase elsewhere in Nottinghamshire?
They are available in many pubs and farm shops/delicatessens around Nottinghamshire.
What do you enjoy most about being based in Nottinghamshire?
We are lucky enough to be based on a farm surrounded by beautiful countryside but in close proximity to many towns and cities. We are situated very near the A1 and A57 allowing easy access for visitors to the brewery and for us to deliver our beer elsewhere.
Which beer do you recommend from the brewery (which is your favourite and why?)
My favourite beer is the Dark Ale, it is smooth and easy drinking. However our biggest seller is the Pale Ale. We have great hopes for new summer special Dancing Dragonfly, named by an East Markham school girl in a ‘name the beer’ competition.
Do you have a favourite dish on the menu in your restaurant?
My favourite dish is Confit Pork Belly with Seared Scallops.
How much of your menu is locally sourced?
We grow our own carrots, potatoes and onions on our farm and have planted salad, herbs and fruit for use over the summer. The meat is all sourced in Nottinghamshire, fish direct from Grimsby and a lot of the other vegetables are bought locally. We do try to source locally as much as possible.
Do you use Pheasantry Brewery ale in any of your dishes?
Steak and ale pie, beer battered fish and chips, and welsh rarebit all use our own ale.
Do you have a children’s menu? What is available for families?
We do have children’s menu with such favourites as sausage and mash, mini fish and chips, mini burger and others. We also sell ice creams and milkshakes which are popular with families!
What types of beer can ale enthusiasts look forward to sampling at the festival?
There will be over 20 beers, and 6 ciders. The beers mainly local, and will include our own pilsner style lager, and the summer special Dancing Dragonfly
What can visitors expect from the festival?
There will be something for all the family. Children’s activities including table tennis, giant jenga, bowls and Zorbs. We will also have a barbeque and live music from Lincoln’s Rebranded (Friday evening) and Retford’s Vinegar Strokes (Saturday evening).
Do you have other regular events at the Pheasantry Brewery?
Regular theme nights take place on a Thursday including Butcher’s Block and Tapas.
Tours are available if pre-arranged and cost £5 per head and include a free pint.