Ale Mary! Primrose Hill brewery gets Bishop’s blessing for youth work

St Mary's Primrose Hill brews beer

St Mary's Primrose Hill brews beer - Credit: Archant

Bridget Galton toasts the blessing of a social enterprise micro-brewery in the crypt of a Primrose Hill church

Operating under the banner ‘faith hops and charity,’ St Mary’s brewers had God on their side when The Bishop of Edmonton gave them his blessing.

The Rt Revd Rob Wickham blessed the crypt at the official opening of the social enterprise brewery this month – donating an icon of St Arnold, the 11th Century patron saint of brewers, to watch over the two 50 litre tanks and four fermenters.

Parishioners in the Primrose Hill church have been busy for a year developing and brewing small batch real ales to raise money for St Mary’s youth work.

After the blessing, church members enjoyed a tasting, sampling 10 different ales including St Mary’s Holy Smoke and Percy Dearmer - named after the church’s Socialist Edwardian vicar.

With the support of Vicar Revd Marjorie Brown, parishioners Steve Reynolds and Roddy Monroe started the scheme taking brewing courses and experimenting with pilot ales.

Brewing consultant Johnny Clayton helped perfect the five ales and Bermondsey based Ubrew have been contract brewing them including an American IPA, an English IPA, a London Porter, and a Belgian Saison.

Most Read

“Our plan was to make great beer, great a great community and support St Mary’s youth work,” says Reynolds.

“We’ve have had such a great response with so much enthusiasm and volunteers getting behind it. The beer has gone down so well we’ve made repeat batches. Community building is an important part of the project so it was great to work with local hop growers and Transition groups to brew a green hopped traditional Kentish beer made by hop pickers.”

The blessing marks the start of brewing in St Mary’s crypt.

“It’s been hard work but we’ve pulled together and can now make beer from beginning to end. We’re glad to add another chapter in the long history of brewing and the church.”

Brewers have donated their first £500 to youth work, started a beer club, and hope to hold beer-making classes.

“It’s now about getting out there in the market and selling beer as a business so we can make a serious contribution.”

All beers are on sale at Primrose Hill Farmers Market on Saturdays or online at: