Phipps NBC
Phipps NBC
Phipps brew's its Millionth pint at the Albion Brewery since returning to Northampton in April 2014

Towcester Food Festival
Phipps attended the 2016 Towcester Food Festival on 11th and 12th June where we sold not only Phipps and Hoggleys bottled beers but our limited edition flip top Diamond Ale bottle, on sale to commemorate 100 years of Phipps brewing in the town.

Northampton Town Festival at The Racecourse Park
Phipps NBC ran two bars at this event, the successor to the ancient Town Festival and the more recent Balloon Fair. The bars were themed "Brewed in Northampton" and featured ales from Phipps, Hoggleys, Frog Island and lagers from Carlsberg@s Bridge Street Brewery in Northampton

Phipps Becket's Ale wins Artisan Drink of the Year Award 2015

At this 2015's Carlsberg Food & Drink Awards held at The Derngate Northampton, we were delighted to be given the award for

Local Artisan drink of the year for our Becket's Honey Ale

13th Century brewery found opposite Phipps' Albion Brewery
During an archaeological dig in preparation for the building of the new County Council offices on the St Johns site opposite our Albion Brewery, two mediaeval malt ovens were found. These well preserved structure sat next to deep wells and fire hearths with a higher than average spread of large pottery shards. The ovens were far too large for simple domestic malt production. The best and possibly only explanation for this grouping is that together they form Northampton's earliest known commercial brewery.

These finds date from the time of Thomas Becket and would probably have produced ale for the new Norman market town up the hill, the castle as well as the priory. We have removed the stones of the Malt Oven thanks to the County Council and the Archaeology team lead by Jim Brown. It has been re built as a hearth in our pub, taking our brewing equipment collection back to the 13th century.

From the Report on the Angel Street Dig

Prior to the Norman Conquest the area was mostly open land, perhaps with some low level agricultural activity outside the Saxon burh. In the early part of the 12th century an ironstone quarry was established to supply stone to the Norman New Borough. A few dispersed Saxo-Norman buildings may have occupied land in the vicinity by the mid-12th century. A small timber-framed building stood on the street frontage from which much of the domestic waste was generated and dumped onto the old quarry site. Included within this material was the waste from carving antler. The timber building probably remained until the middle of the 13th century.

A brewery was established in the early 13th century. A stone building with a cobble floor lay towards the centre of the excavated frontage. Behind the building were two wells, over 2.5m across and up to 6.0m deep. A further three medieval wells were smaller. One of these was associated with a thick blue clay lining to collect and channel water drawn from the well into a large pit, creating a tank of fresh water. Nearby there were also three smaller ovens. A small malting kiln lay at the east end of the rear yard and a much larger malting kiln lay to the west. Robbed out stone remains suggest that there may have been a third. The brewery occupied the site into the 14th century, before the town went into the economic decline and the site was robbed for stone. Subsequently the site became a place for dumping soil and waste including quantities of bone from the tanning industry, honestones for sharpening knives and mixed domestic refuse.

Jim Brown, Mola Archaeology 2015


Phipps Flip Top IPA bottle wins national award
Phipps Flip Top IPA scooped the 2014 award for best beer bottle label at the British Labologist Society awards. Chairman Jeremy Phipps accepts the certificate at Windsor and Eton Brewery. The label is an original Edwardian Phipps design. Our return to Northampton has opened up the possibility of using more original Phipps Northampton beer labels for bottles and pump clips. Next year's conference will be hosted by us at the Albion Brewery.

The Flip top, bottle conditioned IPA has proved a runaway success with one local off licence reporting that the Flip Tops outsold the combined sales of all other bottled beer on sale in their shop.


The first event held back at the Albion Brewery, May 2014
Phipps ran the 2014 Northampton Music Festival bar on the Market Square which also features Frog Island and Carlsberg, offering a complete range of beer brewed in Northampton.

Phipps NBC are proud to have been asked to produce a limited edition bottle run of Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout to commemorated the life of Northampton musician and poet, Tom Hall. In the 70s and '80s Tom fronted a folk band well known on the national scene, "Ratliffe's Celebrated Stout Band" which toured widely, made four albums and was a regular at festivals up and down the country. Tom went on to put out many other solo and collaborative albums and became a well loved character on the local music scene. He died 10 years ago and a group of friends and admirers have put out a tribute album of his songs covered by local musicians, old and new.

To order a copy see

Phipps produce a one off Shoemaker's Ale for Northampton shoe company, Jeffery-West


It is sad to report that we lost two of our ex Phipps NBC Bridge Street men and important supporters towards the end of 2010. Pat Heron and Tom Whapples both made serious contributions to the revival of Phipps NBC beers and it was an honour to have known them.
Tom Whapples died on 25th October 2010. Tom was a Bridge Street brewery engineer from 1950 to '56 before receiving his call up to National Service in the RAF. After de-mobbing, he moved to another part of the Phipps family empire, Chamberlain-Phipps in Rushden before moving to South Wales to resume his career in the brewing industry with Whitbread.

His knowledge, experience and encouragement will be greatly missed. In particular Tom was a firm but fair critic of the revived beers; when we got it wrong he let us know, when we got it right his praise was all the more welcome. You can read Tom's description of his time at Phipps in the brewery history section. All of us at Phipps NBC send our condolences to his wife Mary and his family.

Pat Heron brewing at Phipps in 1961 from the film " No Ordinary Pint"

Patrick Charles Heron was born into a brewing family in Northampton on 22nd October 1934. Pat followed his head brewer father Robert into an apprenticeship at The Phoenix brewery of the Northampton Brewery Co. in 1954. He remained with the company as it merged with near neighbours P.Phipps to become Phipps NBC in 1957.

During his time in Northampton his passion for cricket led him to play leading roles in a number of local teams including the Brewery XI. On one occasion he even rode through the streets of the town dressed, or un-dressed, as Lady Godiva to raise funds for his local club.

Following the Watney Mann take over of Phipps in 1960, Pat transferred to other breweries within the group. In 1966 he was at Crowleys in Alton before spending time at Tamplins in Brighton. Following the Watney Mann take over of Phipps in 1960, Pat transferred to other breweries within the group. In 1966 went to Crowleys in Alton before spending time at Tamplins in Brighton.

In 1971 he jumped at the chance to become head brewer for Hall and Woodhouse in Blandford Forum. In the next few years Pat would oversee the re-building of the brewery’s plant. He used his extensive personal contacts within the industry to source the best second hand equipment from the many traditional brewers closing at the time including his former Phipps NBC Brewery.

In professional brewing circles Pat was a famous character, bon vivor and raconteur. Former Phipps and Watney Mann colleague Peter Mauldon wrote;

“My fond memory of Pat is him standing on a table, pint of ale in his hand reciting a Churchill speech to roars of appreciation from the assembled multitude of his fellow brewers. Happy days.”

Pat retired from full time brewing in 1993 but made a significant contribution to the revival of Phipps NBC beers from 2008 onwards. As the senior surviving brewer from the original company, his experience, expertise and time was freely given to help turn the dusty and dry brewing records into living, breathing beers. He ended his life as the honorary head brewer for the company where his long career started.

In 24th December 2010 Pat died peacefully at his home in Blandford Forum after a long illness survived by his wife Eva, daughter Kate and son Patrick. He left behind not only many great memories of a larger than life personality but many great brews that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
Pat in recent times outside his local pub in Blandford Forum


Classic Brewery Film still shots from the 1961 Phipps promotional film " No Ordinary Pint"

Former Phipps brewer Bob Hipwell kept this film unseen in his garage for decades

May 2nd 1935 saw Northamptonshire & the whole country celebrating the Silver Jubilee. Phipps & NBC beers were enjoyed as they are today !
Photos, James Rudd

Mike Henson who was chief chemist for Phipps from 1964 pulling the first pint at 12 noon on today

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Phipps Ales Back in Towcester

It is National Cask Ale Week between 29th March and 5th April and to celebrate The Folly Inn in Towcester will have 4 cask ales on all week! These ales will include some Phipps beers which they are delighted to be bringing back to Towcester after many years.

To mark the occasion Mike Henson who was chief chemist for Phipps from 1964 will be pulling the first pint at 12noon on 29th March, John Morris, chairman of the Towcester History Society will also be in attendance. During the week Phipps IPA and Phipps Red Star Bitter will both be served.

In 1801 Pickering Phipps began brewing in Towcester opening a second brewery in Northampton in 1817. After a fire gutted the original building in 1900, brewing was concentrated in Northampton.

Watney Mann took control in 1960 and over the next 13 years Phipps’ brewery and beers were rationalised out of existence to make way for Carlsberg.

In 2004, a former S+N director took control of the dormant company and began research into its original beers. A band of former Phipps brewers were assembled and the recipes passed to Grainstore’s Tony Davis in Oakham who trained under the last Phipps head brewer. Phipps returned in December 2008 and has enjoyed great success since.
The first pint in an Old Folly glass, pulled by Mike Henson
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