Published in Feast issue 42 – December 2019/January 2020
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Dave Cornell and, after a long career in construction, I decided a change of direction was needed. I have always had a great interest in beer, something I share with my brother, and I am now the brewer and chief bottle washer, along with all the other jobs that need doing, at Poppyland Brewery.
Where are you based?
We’re based in West Street, Cromer. It is part of the original Allen’s Garage, and is very much a microbrewery. We do offer tours which are quite popular.
How did you get started?
Martin Warren founded the brewery in 2012 and I have always been a fan of his beer. When I heard he was retiring and the opportunity to purchase the brewery and carry on his great work arose, I jumped at the challenge. Our first brew was in March 2019 – Coddiwomple, a strong English bitter – and we have brewed regularly ever since.
Tell us a little bit about your range
We try not to brew the same beer twice, although some beers are very popular and a twist on the original is the result if we do re-brew it. The aim is always to improve our beers, and make a premium product that is enjoyed by the people who buy it. Our range is from Sweet Dark Stouts (Shipden Stout), East Coast IPA, Norfolk Steam Beer through the lighter Belgian style – Alexander Saison and Walkers are Welcome, not forgetting Stewkey Blews with Samphire.
Where can readers find your beers?
Our beers can be purchased direct from the brewery, or the Norfolk Farm Shop (Cromer), The Giddy Goat (Sheringham), Sir Toby’s (Norwich Market), Reno’s (Wymondham) and various farmers’ markets around North Norfolk. We also have outlets in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Nottinghamshire.
Do you use Norfolk barley?
Norfolk produces the best barley for ales in the world. Maris Otter has been harvested for more than 50 years, and is still regarded as the best malt. The combination of a thin topsoil layer on top of a chalk sub base offering free drainage, and the maritime climate of the Norfolk coast, combine to produce something that is unique. We are also fortunate to have Branthill Farm at Wells and Crisp Maltings at Great Ryburgh as our suppliers.
Do you have any future plans?
Life never progresses without future plans. We are investing in the brewery to improve the day to day internal environment, and are looking to cask more beer into wooden barrels. We do have an ongoing secret project but that will be something to discuss next year!
What are your green credentials like?
We always have our eye on what we can improve to reduce our carbon footprint. The malt we use to make the beer is enjoyed by local pigs once it comes out of the mash tun, the hops are dried and used as fertiliser on our garden, as is the spent yeast. Our dog Faith always pays particular attention when they are being spread!
How has Proudly Norfolk been able to help you?
It is always great to be part of a positive team. There are opportunities to attend festivals with them, and they keep us abreast of what is going on in the food and drink world in Norfolk.