Time for a local pint!

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Ilfracombe is incredibly lucky to have its own local breweries, Focus magazine, spoke to Justn Schamotta, founder of Madrigal about the unique beers they produce and how Hele is became home for the brewery.


“We set up Madrigal was in 2015, with the aim of creating beers that were interesting without being niche. We wanted to manipulate existing styles so that they were just the right level of challenging.


“So, for example, our wheat beer (Wheatear) has subtle additions of fresh ginger and coriander that you can identify without them being overwhelming. Similarly, we add liquorice to our port (Severed Hand), which provides a pleasing background note. 




“Our latest beer is a pink peppercorn and lemongrass Saison (Fierce Little Heart) that is proving popular with people who might not have come across the style before - which is great!


“The artwork is designed to reflect some of the inspiration behind the brewery. It’s all done by my wife, the incredibly talented Jennifer Schamotta (@jen_schamotta_paintings). She normally paints local seascapes in oils, but has a sideline in beer labels.





“The brewery initially began while my wife (the aforementioned incredibly talented Jennifer Schamotta) and I were living on a farm near Combe Martin. I’d started brewing and honing recipes out of one of the holiday lets. The first beer we produced was Garland - a fruity pale/wheat hybrid - which we sold to a lovely little restaurant called Eclectick on Fore Street. 


“We were (and still are) grateful for a lot of support from local shops, cafes and bars, but realised that keeping up with demand using our tiny brewing vessels was going to be an issue. So, we decided to look for dedicated premises, which was actually really difficult. 


“Last year, moved to a great place in Hele –  one of the units in the old gas works (Hele Business Park). 


“We are really pleased with the new space as it provides the opportunity to have a tap-room on site and more space for brewing and storage. The building itself was great - roughly 100 years old, with thick walls, high ceilings and a sunny, happy vibe. 


“We managed to get everything ready to open in early 2020, but were hit by the pandemic after the first week. Luckily, we could still offer takeout, so started providing a service where we sold fresh beer by the litre, which people could come and collect. This was a great way to meet some of the locals and we’ve carried on doing it ever since. 


“As well as takeout, we have an on-license so people can sit and try the beers. The space outside the brewery is south-facing and a bit of a sun trap. Inside you can see the brewing vessels and a load of random objects we’ve collected! 


“We normally have about five different types in bottles and two on tap. We’ve also got local cider, rum, soft drinks and wine. Between Easter and Halloween our opening times are Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm.”

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