In just a year Paul Williamson has built a successful business from scratch. Armed with a passion for beer, a dedicated team around him and a stack of ambition, Hillside Brewery is now producing a range of sought-after beers in a variety of styles with intriguing names including Legless Cow, Severn Surge and Over the Hill.
Paul has an open mind about innovation in flavours and types of beer but he is adamant about using the finest ingredients from around the world together with hops from the local area to produce high quality ales in small batches. A recent success was two silver awards at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) in the West and Wales region.
The Hillside team based at Hollybush Farm in Longhope has been able to deliver a consistently excellent product from the outset thanks to the fresh spring water they access on site. The limestone-filtered rainwater is drawn through a borehole and once it has passed through a couple of filters, including a dose of UV, it is ready to be used.
“Being able to draw out own water from the ground beneath us is a huge benefit to our beer,” explains Paul. “The excellent quality of our water doesn’t vary which means that we can pass on that consistency into our beer.”
Recently Paul and the team have been looking at a new product, a table beer they’ve called Countryman. Brewed in the same way as a Belgian beer, Countryman has a relatively low alcohol level of 2.7% and is made using a new hop variety currently known as CF126. The beer is designed to be drunk in the same way as you would a wine; alongside a good meal in the company of friends.
At Hillside there’s also a lot of attention paid to the entire brewing experience. There are regular tours as well as the chance for visitors to brew an ale to suit their own tastes.
The company has also recently produced its own cider and has worked with other local enterprises to produce a beer ice cream, a beer, rhubarb and ginger chutney and a variety of sausage.
It’s an exciting journey for 26 year-old Paul, who started his working life as a Business Development & Group Operations Graduate for a national car dealership.
“I was thinking that I didn’t really want to stay in the automotive industry all my working life and I was looking to see what else I could do when my dad spotted the farm for sale. We fell in love with it immediately and a year on I’m doing what I love.
Paul added: “I had no background in the business so I went on a courses on how to brew beer and we’ve taken it from there. We’ve called on the experience of our master brewer and his assistant and we’re delighted to be producing beer that people enjoy. We’ve got a lot of plans for the future but there is one thing we will never do and that’s compromise volume for quality and flavour.”
Hillside Brewery will be at the Tewkesbury Food & Drink Festival on 27th and 28th June. For more information visit www.hillsidebrewery.com
Photos below show Paul Williamson, a selection of beers from the Hillside Brewery, bottling in action and the brewery.