Holden’s is a family-run brewery that was founded at the Park Inn, Woodsetton, Dudley in the heart of Britain’s industrial heartland, the Black Country, in 1915. It is one of just 28 surviving independent family breweries in the country but has been bucking the recent downturn in the brewery trade. It supplies 20 tied public houses, and has recently expanded its operation and opened an on-site shop. Its diverse range of award-winning beers, which include regular special series, have become firm favourites amongst the real ale community.
2012 saw the monthly release of their Rock Gods series of brews:
January – Major Tom – David Bowie
February – Temple Of Love – Andrew Eldritch (Sisters Of Mercy) March – Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix April – Satisfaction – Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones) May – Joshua Tree – Bono (U2) June – Heartbreaker – Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) July – Paradise City – Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses) August – Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley September – Killer Queen – Freddie Mercury October – Dark Prince – Ozzy Osborne November – Rocket Man – Elton John December – Noddy Holdens – Noddy Holder (Slade)
According to the company’s promotional literature, the 4.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) Marley-inspired beer is a “pure golden ale with fragrant delicate hop notes that give an almost citrus-like pleasant bitter finish. A Legend of a pint.”
The line-up was actually selected by renowned London-based artist / illustrator Joseph Goode, who had been commissioned to produce the artwork for the twelve beers in the series. When asked by myself why he had included Bob, he responded:
“With this project I tried to select iconic figures in modern music history, and Bob Marley had to be in there. Despite not necessarily being exactly a Rock God by definition, he was certainly one of the most rock ‘n’ roll, inspirational figures of the past decades. The Buffalo Soldier name scanned well as a beer title, and it was a favourite of the brewery, so they went ahead with the other products.”
A spokeswoman for Holden’s confirmed that Buffalo Soldier had, indeed, been one of the most popular in the series, which led them to select it for a small range of merchandise: an etched pint glass (£3) and T-shirt (£7.50), in addition to making it available as a bottled beer (£1.65 per bottle or £16.70 for a twelve-pack). These are available individually or as a three-piece gift set (£9).
Holden’s Brewery Ltd is located at the Park Inn, George Street, Woodsetton, Dudley, West Midlands, DY1 4LW.