As fans of locally-produced beer will know, we’re lucky enough to have some unusual breweries here in Leicestershire – from one in a former sheep shed, to one run by monks.
One brewery with a difference is Emperor’s Brewery – which, despite its tiny size, is rated one of the best breweries in the world.
That’s according to users of the ‘Untappd’ app, which enables you to discover and rate beers.
The Star Wars-inspired set-up, at Newbold Coleorton near Ashby, is currrently sitting in fifth place, with just four US breweries ahead of it in the list of top-rated breweries.
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It currently has 1,036 ratings from 43 beers, with an average rating of 4.511.
The county brewery is based in the home of Damian Doherty, who launched the venture in 2017, having been home brewing on and off for 20 years.
Damian told LeicestershireLive: ” My friends always seemed to love the beer I made and when a good friend of mine (Marc Williamson) started Linear Brewing Co, using the same tiny homebrew kit I had, I thought, ‘hey, maybe I can do that too!’ “
Having given the brewery a name inspired by his love of the Star Wars films, Damian set about creating the greatest imperial stouts and porters the galaxy had ever seen.
In addition to the imperial stouts and porters – with names including Yoda Condition and Tarkin’s Slave – he also occasionally produces barley wines or Belgian quadrupels.
And all are always over 10 per cent.
“I only have a 20 litre kit at the moment and so it’s still tiny. It’s why I do so many collaborations with other breweries (14 and counting),” said Damian – who has a 1,000 litre fermenter coming at the end of November.
“This will be installed at Bang the Elephant’s brewery, allowing me to do a lot more beer next year!”
Emperor’s Brewery produces 50 bottles at a time, all of which are available exclusively through Hoptimism.co.uk.
However, a higher quantity was available of a cuckoo brew which Damian produced last year at the Abstract Jungle brewery.
The 11 per cent rum barrel-aged Black Forest Gateaux imperial stout, named Black Forest Moon, proved particularly popular, with 262 bottles being bought online in just over three minutes at two bottles maximum per person.
Damian is happy to see Emperor’s Brewery’s at the upper end of the brewery listing on Untappd, and said: ” Of the four breweries ahead of me on the list, three are meaderies and one is only making hard seltzers, so I like to think of Emperor’s as the number one beer brewery on Untappd!”
What’s particularly impressive about Emperor’s Brewery is that it is run solely by Damian as a hobby, fitted in between his “real job” with a large US company which often sees him travelling across Europe.
” I currently brew the beer in my house and ferment it in the barns on the property. Every beer is bottled, labelled and waxed by hand. It really doesn’t get any more ‘craft’ than that.”