I’m still not sure when I first heard of Mad Hatter Brewery. It might have been seeing Penny Lane a few years back, or maybe Nightmare on Bold Street. The names reminding me of trips to Liverpool when I was younger. The labels jumped out at me, simple, yet fun, all featuring the Mad Hatter Rabbit up to different escapades. Between the pales and stouts there was the signature experiments, from the (slightly less common at the time) Imperious IPA (11.7% double IPA), to the Rhubarb and Custard (featuring Yorkshire triangle’s forced Rhubarb). The drinks might not have been to everyone’s taste, I remember the reaction of shock and confusion to a Tzatziki Sour from a group in the Wakefield Beer Exchange one weekend.
Growing from a smaller space in the trendy Baltic Triangle in Liverpool, to a newer warehouse on the North Dock’s area things seemed to be going well. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, last year time was called on the Brewery. Gaz, moved onto Gibberish ( https://twitter.com/gibberishpub ), Angus is now Head Brewer over at Glen Affric Brewery down the road in the Wirral (https://glenaffricbrewery.com ).
The imagery featured here, was captured for Vol 8 of Hop & Barley. With Liverpool as the focus location it was only right that Mad Hatter featured as the Brewery story. At the time they were putting the finishing touches to the new facility, there was talk of possible starting to can. (Which they did a little while later). The space was massive and could have hosting such a variety of events, however it wasn’t to be.
To see the full feature on Mad Hatter Brewery, and the Liverpool city tour buy a copy of Hop & Barley volume 8 here. Thank you to Hop & Barley for a little paragraph from the article here written by Sam Turner.
The Mad Hatter story is one in which everything seems to have aligned nicely for the company; limitations were turned into strengths, a restless passion for brewing translated into a journey of bold new tastes, and characters coming into the fold who faithfully represented the brewery’s philosophy. From the name and the distinctive aesthetic, through to the vibrant tastes and direction of the constantly rotating roll call of beers. “I think [the hand-drawn bottle designs and logo] goes really well with the beer and the way the brewery has been set up,” says Sue of artist Stealthy Rabbit’s designs. The crudely-drawn rabbit starring in the eye-catching illustrations perfectly encapsulates the lo-fi ethos of the brewery which, early on, translated into unknowable brewing results. Gaz takes up the narrative: “It was never the same each time, Penny Lane was 6.5% to start off with and it was like that for a while and then it slowly came down. So if we did make the same beer twice, it was probably completely different.”
Sam Turner, Hop & Barley Vol 8