County Stat Attack Week 6 - Herefordshire

Herefordshire, one of the smaller counties in England, was created in 1998 out of the ashes of the much derided county of Hereford and Worcester. Bordered by Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the East and Gloucestershire to the South East with the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Powys to the west. The River Wye runs through it and also through the Cathedral City of Hereford, the Malvern Hills run along the border with Worcestershire. It is also one of the least densely populated counties in England.
The Mappa Mundi, the largest medieval map, is housed in Hereford Cathedral maybe interesting to us as several bottles of beer were found under the floor in the Eastern Cloister where the map was kept, they probably had a few beers whilst perusing the map? Also Hereford is famous for housing the SAS regiment and yes the small, quietly spoken blokes in the corner of the pub could be deadly.
The major towns in Herefordshire are also quite small with Hereford as the County town and only city, also Leominster, Ledbury and Ross on Wye. Agriculture is the biggest industry and it is a major producer of Cider, which is of growing interest on this site, with major producers like Weston’s Cider and Bulmer’s along with many smaller producers.
Not really thought of as a beer producing area there are currently 14 Active and 11 Closed Breweries on Ratebeer for Herefordshire, totalling 25, there are 3 Client / Commissioner Breweries amongst these.
The oldest Brewery still producing in Herefordshire is Wye Valley Brewery (Est 1985), looking back in Herefordshire brewing history there was Hereford and Tredegar Brewery Ltd (1850 – 1945) but brewing was very thin on the ground. However Weston’s Cider (Est 1880) and Bulmer’s (Est 1887 but now owned by Heineken) are still pressing.
The Brewery with the largest range in Herefordshire is Odyssey Brew Co (Est 2014) with 221 beers on Ratebeer, one of the new style craft brewers.
Odyssey Brew Co were also named on Ratebeer as Best Brewery in 2019 for Herefordshire and Odyssey Far Beyond named as Best Beer.

The Top 10 Beers / Ciders are –

  1. Dragon Orchard Blenheim Superb Dessert Cider (Bottle)
  2. Dragon Orchard The Wonder Dessert Perry (Bottle)
  3. Once Upon a Tree The Wonder
  4. Odyssey Show Me a Hero
  5. Odyssey Fiendish Breakfast
  6. Odyssey Juice Vibe
  7. Odyssey Cassie
  8. Odyssey Hop Fiend – Mosaic DIPA
  9. Oliver’s Posh Scrumpy (Bottle)
  10. Odyssey Grievous Angel v1

The Top 5 Places are –

  1. Hereford Beer House, Hereford - 87
  2. Barrels (Wye Valley), Hereford - 77
  3. Firefly, Hereford - 77
  4. Prince of Wales, Ledbury - 75
  5. Beer in Hand, Hereford - 75

The Top 5 Raters of beers from Herefordshire are –

  1. @danlo
  2. @minuteman
  3. @fonefan
  4. @fin
  5. @imdownthepub

To get onto the Top 50 list for Herefordshire Beer and Ciders you will require a relatively light 44 Ratings
The person from Herefordshire with most ratings on Ratebeer is:
@Tgn – Last seen Jan 2016.

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With all the general crapness at the moment I’d forgotten it was time for more county stats. Thanks for lightening the mood & for another interesting write up, I’ll get my stats up later.

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Herefordshire; 60 active cider farms/plants and 14 active breweries, no wonder @Danlo and @minutemat are the top two raters.

I like the city of Hereford and am surprised to see I have only reviewed two places there. The Barrels is where Wye Valley used to brew, they still own the pub and it’s a great place, if a little tired in places. The Victory is a wonderful sight inside, every time I go the brewpub has a new owner/brewer, or so it seems, just love the decor of it. Been to Hereford on a CAMRA bus trip, on boozy train visits and many times for the football, not really explored any of the other places in the county though.

My wife was a nurse at the RAF base just outside Hereford before I met her and I did a promotion course at the same base back in 1986, that’s about it for Herefordshire!

I have rated 86 different brews from the county, 23 of them being ciders. This puts me 26th in the top list pecking order.

Top rated three:
Spinning Dog Springer
Wye Valley Dorothy Goodbody’s Imperial Stout
Odyssey Just Before Midnight

9 Breweries (2 of which have closed) and 6 Cider producers in those 86 rates.

Most rated breweries:
Wye Valley on 37
Swan Brewery on 9
Odyssey on 5

<*))))))><

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It took many years for me to really get to know Herefordshire very well, walking Offa’s Dyke may have been my earliest introduction to what is quite a picturesque county with an olde world feel to it. In more recent years though I have managed to do Beer on the Wye in Hereford a couple of times, enjoy the pubs round Hereford and visit the likes of Ledbury and Leominster. I never did get to the Football Ground for a match although I have passed it a few times.

I have 195 ratings of Herefordshire beers and ciders putting me into a rather shaky 5th position as I am not a cider drinker as such and rely on the visits to Beer on the Wye to boost my numbers, Wye Valley beers also get into other Beer Festivals on the circuit. Herefordshire is my 33rd highest County and has a rather poor average of 2.96, possibly because the ciders that I have tried have a larger effect, only Bedfordshire fares worse. My 14 Breweries (9 currently open, 5 closed) for Herefordshire puts me equal top with Fin, happy with that.

My most productive Breweries are Wye Valley Brewery with 54 beers, Hereford Brewery with 20 beers and Odyssey Brew Co with 10.

I have 5 beers rated 4 or over, the best being –

  1. Shoes Farriers Ale – 4.6
  2. Dunn Plowman Crooked Furrow – 4.2
  3. Odyssey Show Me a Hero – 4.1
    The beer with the highest average on Ratebeer that I have had is the aforementioned Odyssey Show Me a Hero which averages 3.67.

The Breweries with my highest average score are (5 or more Ratings) –

  1. Odyssey Brew Co., Ave 3.64
  2. Ledbury Real Ales, Ave 3.4
  3. Mayfields Brewery (Closed), Ave 3.214

I have reviewed a lowly 15 places in Herefordshire, my 27th highest county. My top 3 are –

  1. Firefly, Hereford
  2. Hereford Beer House, Hereford
  3. Chequers, Leominster
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Herefordshire is, sadly, another of my counties that isn’t doing so well ratings-wise. 30 beers/ciders and no place rates. Also one of those rare counties where cider outnumbers beer: 19 cider rates to just 11 beers, and 8 cidermakers tried as opposed to a measly two breweries.

Top biders are:

Odyssey Just Before Midnight 4
Odyssey Super Dry 3.9
Odyssey At The Edge 3.9
Odyssey Dream Brother Version 2 3.8
Oliver’s At The Hop Cider (Bottle) 3.6

I’ve only rated 2 brideries with 5 or more rates: Odyssey at 3.66 and Westons Cider at 3.2. Odyssey is my 7th highest rated English brewery (if I lived in Herefordshire, would my love of Odyssey make me a Homer?)

This is thread is fun but also a reminder that while I have some fantastic stats in some counties, there are whole swathes of fair England that I’ve all but ignored. And Hereford wouldn’t be an impossible day out from Leicester. Like everything else, ‘once COVID is over’…

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Nice write up again. One of my neighbouring counties but not much activity there for me. Definitely see it as a cider county myself, though I admit I had forgotten Odyssey were from these parts.

I have 36 rates - 21 beers and 15 ciders.

All 21 of my beer rates are for Odyssey.
My 15 cider rates are split between Bulmers with 12 and Westons with 3 - not very interesting then.

Highest rated Herefordshire beverage is a 4.2 for Odyssey The Devil’s Pudding (I’m a sucker for pastry stouts so no real surprise to me here).

This is my takeaway from these threads as well. I absolutely love them and like seeing everyone post their stats. But I have only 10-15 counties with impressive and/or interesting stats… So many counties with less than 10 ratings.
Mind you, I’ve never actually focused on UK county ticks. My beer drinking habits recently have fallen more to breweries and styles I like or think might be interesting, with odd new breweries thrown in too but no regard for where they might be based.

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16 rates - 10 of which are ciders.

Only two breweries - Odyssey @ 4 and Wye Valley @ 2. Westons are top with 3 ticks, followed by Bulmers and Celtic Marches at 2 a piece.

My sole visit to the Shire was when I stayed in a Travel Lodge outside Hereford. About 23 years ago.

And that is all I have to say about that Shire.

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73 rates for me, the vast majority at home from Odyssey and Oliver’s Cider, which surprised me, as me and the missus have holidayed in Herefordshire a few times on the NT Brockhampton estate, (which is definitely number 1 in my, “what the fuck was that noise in the middle of the night” experiences).

Got a few more Oliver’s and Little Pomona ticks to go at, sat in the cellar.

Didn’t do any place rates I don’t think, and to be honest nowhere really stood out pub wise as I recall. Nice part of the country though, and somewhere worth returning to.

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A region I am one away from top 50 and actively would like to move up the list. I’m sitting at 43 ratings, 36 are cider and 18 of those are Oliver’s. Top brewery is Wobbly with 2.

It seems like years ago (January’s 2020 Manchester Beer & Cider Fest) that @danlo and I spent a couple hours with Tom Oliver. Until that time I had been a casual ticker of cider. He opened my eyes up to good cider and truly understand what I was tasting not just fermented apples.

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Bit of a surprise that I’m top for Herefordshire, then again it’s a big region for cider with Hereford the top rated cidery city in the world having 22. And am only 4th highest for Herefordshire cideries on 34. But I have 72 ratings each for both Olivers and Ross on Wye who are my equal most rated cideries, while my highest rated Herefordshire cidery is Little Pomona who are putting out great stuff at the moment. My highest rating for Herefordshire is Olivers the Mayflower Third Voyage into Uncharted Territories with 4.2

Have never managed to get a place rating in Herefordshire, is was on the list to visit this year but lockdowns put a stop to that.

To celebrate achieving top spot this evening have added a new cidery, Cwn Maddoc, based in Broad Oak, Herefordshire as have just received a selection of theirs from Fram Ferment in Durham, and am starting on the Asmead’s Kernel & Black Dabinetts 2019 vintage

Cheers!

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22 rates for me which isn’t bad to date but when you break it down its boring supermarket fare:
Bulmers Cider = 10
Westons Cider = 9
Wye Valley = 3

An average rating of 2.91 seems to reflect this. I like a cider though so hopefully will get a chance to try some better stuff in the year to come, maybe even visit a cidery.

Have been Herefordshire way on occasions for work and once for a weekend cottage stay near Kington close to the Wales border, beautiful countryside in the summer. I do recall a quirky little traditional pub their called Ye Olde Tavern, friendly clientele but would have been limited beer options. I think this would go for many pubs in Herefordshire.

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With Loz’s Mum and sister having lived in the county for many years now, they’re now way over to the west just a few miles from Kington and Hay on Wye. I probably should be a little higher for Herefordshire with both overall rates and place rates. For scenery, some nice little towns and for it’s cider it’s a great place, beer on the other hand and great pubs are a little thin on the ground, Odyssey and one or two others being notable exceptions. When I used to run the cider and perry bar at Banbury beer festival and of course with the ciders and perries available at our beer festival in Merton, my cider perry rates were a lot higher. Visits to the legend that is Tom Oliver and other great cider and perry places in the county became commonplace.

277 beers putting me in 4th place in Herefordshire, I think that this year and all the travel disruption that has ensued has seen two visits to Herefordshire curtailed and seen me slip further down the rankings, living here that’s only likely to continue.

24 place ratings, I’m not sure where this stat’puts me but in a rural county in the arse end of nowhere for many UK folk I suspect that I would be amongst the highest place raters, so I’m happy with this. There are some decent places to visit and many of the smaller towns and villages it really will feel like you are stepping back in time. Hereford if you look beyond the urban planning disasters of the 60’s and 70’s is nice enough town, okay it’s technically a city but let’s be honest it’s a modest sized market town in size. Money has been spent in recent years to improve it and also some decent beer venues have sprung up making it a place worthy of a visit.

Glen has already added my stat that we’re equal top with 14 different Breweries incl: 5 closed, but I wasn’t aware so I will repeat just to proclaim I’m equal top in one Herefordshire stat’.

Brewery rating totals

I was onto Odyssey very early and used to pickup a lot of their beers, including picking up direct to be available at our beer festival. However for me moving away and the fact that their star has risen considerably (deservedly so) has seen them quite easy to obtain nationally and so my 42 rates don’t even get me a seat at the top table any longer.

Odyssey - 42
Wye Valley - 29
Hereford - 15

I am not sure where to go looking for my cider and perry stats but I suspect that I have had 20 - 30 plus in many producers.

Top five beers

Odyssey Merciless California IPA 4.4
Dragon Orchard Blenheim Superb Dessert Cider ( bottle) 4.3
Odyssey Grievous Angel v1 4.3
Odyssey/Track Revol 4.3
Rathays Painted Lady 4.1

There are a whole host of other ciders and perries on 4.1

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Despite not being much of a rater on here, I thought I’d throw in my 2p as a native Herefordian. I love Hereford and spent much of the first half of the year here in lockdown. I am obviously biased but I have rarely seen such natural beauty elsewhere in England. Herefordshire whilst being a historic county, is now a unitary authority although not many people around here concern themselves with what that means. We have at least relieved ourselves of the Worcestershire yoke.

Hereford Beer House is my favourite place to drink beer anywhere in the world, they’ve been there for four years I think and I still struggle to believe that Hereford has a place like it. They now have a webshop and over the past few months have gone even bigger on local cider from the likes of Little Pomona, Olivers etc. as well as on German lagers.

Big fan of Odyssey, although the first Odyssey beers I ever had were consumed in London and Belfast. The Beer in Hand in the city was set up by the owners as a cask-only micropub. It has evolved (and changed hands) subsequently and now offers cask and keg. It still has a relationship with Odyssey and will usually have 3+ of their beers on tap, the only place in Hereford I’m aware of that has their beers on. Beer in Hand also now have a webshop and ship across the UK. As an aside, despite being firmly within Herefordshire Odyssey have a WR postcode and as such are listed as a Worcestershire brewery on Untappd…

The Barrels is as it ever was, another favourite of mine. I spent my youth attending the renowned curry and quiz at The Victory and drinking the brewed-in-house Spinning Dog beers for 2 quid a pint. The pub has again changed hands in the last couple of months and has a new leaseholder, not sure if there are any plans to start brewing again.

Other than that, there is not much to recommend beer-wise in the city. There are some lovely old pubs but the beer is generally found wanting (lots of Doom Bar).

If you do find yourself here the branch of Tanners wine merchants in town is a good place to pick up more trad/local ticks and some smaller breweries, they usually stock Wye Valley, Swan Brewery (Leominster), various local cider-makers as well as a few microbreweries from Worcestershire/Shropshire.

There are also some amazing independent eateries in Hereford itself now; the Burger Shop, the Beefy Boys, Sensory & Rye, Ponte Vecchio etc.

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Many thanks for your input @alovelydrop it is great to have locals add depth to the threads.
As you guys are now in Tier1 I expect there has been some celebrations over there. Hopefully after everything moves back to normal we can all join in and events like Beer on the Wye can recommence.
I hope you take a look at our journey round England county by county.
Cheers, Glen.

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Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve now updated it there with the correct town and county.

Thanks also for pointing out those webshops, might be useful additions to the webshop directory!

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Yes @lovelydrop is right Tanner’s is great, that’s where I have picked up the Dragon Orchard Blenheim Superb Ice Ciders from, well also their is a place in Bromyard and there was a place at the bottom of Fromes Hill (Hop Pocket?) I think that may have closed now though.

The countryside is stunning and having lived in Worcestershire for a few years as much as it pains me to say it, it certainly eclipses Worcestershire. However in terms of the county towns I prefer Worcester to Hereford. Loz’s Mum and Dad used to live in an elevated position on the side of Dinmore Hill between Hereford and Leominster and unbroken view all the way to the Malverns was fantastic, we used to sit outside with a beer just marvelling at that view.

I really like a lot of those smaller towns especially Bromyard, and the Wye is probably the most wonderful of all the English rivers.

House prices are also amazing, many a time we kept looking at our house in Oxfordshire and realised that we’d end up with a stately home in Herefordshire (ok I am clearly exaggerating) but you could get a tremendous property there for a modest sum.

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Still haven’t managed N Yorks but I have a spare 10 so will hit Herefordshire whilst it’s still current!

170 rates for me makes it my 22nd highest rated county so middle of the pack in that respect … however a solid score of 3.4 makes it 10th highest in terms of average score given for beers / ciders rated from there.

I’ve rated 5 active and 2 closed breweries from Herefordshire with Odyssey by far and away the highest with 52.

I’ve grown to enjoy good cider more over the years and I reckon at least half of my Herefordshire rates are from apples with 37 from Olivers the highest.

In terms of visits … 3 stand out from memory.

One as an under age ticker in 1991 during a rail event when I followed some of the older lads and supped a few in the Barrels.

I returned to Hereford in DEC 1999 for an FA cup 3rd round tie vs Leicester … it was the TV banana skin game so a sell out and live on TV at lunchtime … this was the shit year of the FA cup where the holders Man U didnt play and the 3rd round was pushed to December to suit big clubs/international fixtures etc.

Edgar Street was awash with home fans almost expecting a win … they brought the bull out at the start … it didn’t piss or shit on the pitch, which I’d hoped for ! I prayed the mighty Leicester would show the nation and duly thrash the underdogs and spoil the banana … not quite to be!

It was a crap 0-0 draw, the only time in Leicesters limited meetings with Hereford (6 games ever) where we didn’t win and struggled to beat them but ultimately did in the replay at Filbert St.

Early KO so no pre match drinks but we retired to the Barrels (Wye Valley as others have mentioned) for a good belly full of ale before heading home.

Third visit was in 2013 prior to a rail trip that started from Hereford early the next morning.
We hit Beer in hand, the barrels one more time - a hat trick for me, and a spoons (the spoons?)

Just the 3 place rates and cant recall ever drinking anywhere other than Hereford itself in said county.

Must head back one day … possibly on a dog friendly walking trip.

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I have rated only 45 beers from Herefordshire and they are all beers, no cider for me. 45 rates squeezes me into the top 50 raters of Herefordshire beers. Its my 40th highest county. 18 of my 45 Herefordshire beers are from Odyssey Brew Co.

Only 1 of my top 10 isn’t from Odyssey. Top rated are:

I traveled through Herefordshire a fair amount when working in South Wales, but only rated 2 places, and never been to Hereford it’s self.

Inn On The Wye
Garway Moon Inn

Not much to say about the places, certainly fancy a trip to Hereford at some point.

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Cheers, I have had a read through the other threads!

I was at both games as a 13 year old. You don’t mention that we hit the post in the first game at Edgar Street :wink: and were also leading in the replay until 12 minutes from time and dreaming of the trip to Arsenal in the 4th round…! I actually watched the highlights of the first game again recently and was amazed at how many chances Leicester had that I’d forgotten, but I think when the draw was made you were 3rd on the PL and we were mid-table in the Conference. Great games for us and I really loved going to Filbert Street.

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