The Great Hencini (pronounced "Hen-see-nee")—Southern English Brown Ale
Here at the Civil Life Brewing Company, we love brown ale, as you know. Our American Brown is our biggest seller out in the market, and you’re sure to see it wherever better beers are served. So much do we love this classic style we’ve made a “Big Year” commemorative version, a Northern English Brown, and a Southern English Brown.
Those who’ve been following us over the years know that we renamed the Southern English Brown “The Great Hencini” in honor of our friend Brian Hencil, one of the most civil individuals ever to grace this planet. He is gone, but every time we raise a pint of The Great Hencini, we celebrate his legacy. Cheers to you Brian … may Valhalla’s taps flow eternally for you!
With a name (and a namesake) like The Great Hencini, this beer has a lot to live up to. You won’t be disappointed with this tasty brown beer. It’s part of a long tradition of English brewing and is as balanced and flavorful as anything we brew.
Various types of “brown ales” have been brewed in England since at least the fourteenth century. It was widely drunk, but apparently somewhat thick and cloudy. According to English beer historian Martyn Cornell, in the eighteenth century, brown ales were supplanted by porters. What we now think of as brown ale, according to Cornell, dates from the late nineteenth century, when brewer Thomas Wells Thorpe moved to London and started bottling lots of brown ale.
What Thorpe brewed, we would now call a Southern English Brown Ale. Some people dispute that this is a recognizable style, thinking of it more as a BJCP invention, but The Oxford Companion to Beer clearly identifies a Northern and a Southern style. You will recognize that distinction from those two varieties as we brew them here at the Civil Life.
Northern browns are dryer with an earthier roast character, while the lower-alcohol southern varieties tend to be sweeter with notes of caramel and subtle estery fruit, as well as a soft, round chocolate roast character.
The Great Hencini is made from traditional English malts and hops, as well as a classic English ale yeast strain. It’s dark, but not heavy. We currently have it on cask as well as draft. Come in and sample this excellent beer. Raise your pints and join us in honoring a great man who loved great beer. Here’s to The Great Hencini!
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.