I find myself in the garden of Dedham’s Sun Inn contemplating one of Crouch Vale Brewery’s regular beers - Essex Boys. For a beer with 3.8% abv it certainly packs a punch on the palate. Full of malt with a prominent hoppy bitterness that gets you at the back of the throat, this is not a subtle pint. However, Essex boys are not renowned for their subtlety so in that respect this beer lives up to its name.
The village of Dedham, on whose High Street the Sun sits roughly half way along, is about as far away from that stereotype as you can get. Dedham is in the North-East of the county on the River Stour and the border of Essex and Suffolk. Although it can be popular with Tourists at the weekend, it’s serving very well as a refreshment stop on my circular walk in the Dedham Vale.
But back to the subject of beer, of which this particular example has been going down very nicely while I've been writing this. Based in South Woodham Ferrers, this award-winning brewery is apparently the longest established in Essex. It produces a number of regular beers, of which the most well known is Brewers Gold – a previous Supreme Champion Beer of Britain and no stranger to my taste buds.
Suitably refreshed I carry on my walk over the top of the Vale towards the 14th century St Mary’s Church in Lawford, and home.