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From Cali to Bristol: Brewing Old Ale the Moor Beer Way

Moor Beer’s Old Freddy Walker is among the most acclaimed strong ales in the United Kingdom, often medaling among the barleywines and old ales that compete for Champion Beer of Britain. Its brewer, however, hails from California. Here, Moor owner and head brewer Justin Hawke explains how Moor and Freddy came to be—and he offers advice on brewing a great old ale.

Justin Hawke Mar 17, 2023 - 9 min read

From Cali to Bristol: Brewing Old Ale the Moor Beer Way Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Moor Beer

Beer always seems to have been part of my life. One of my earliest memories is my father letting me have a sip of his dunkel—which, surprisingly, I liked. He told me that one day I’d drink beer, so I should know what good beer tastes like.

Growing up in California in the ’70s and ’80s, I’d go with him to specialist liquor stores to see what imports they had. Pickings were pretty slim back then. Craft beer wasn’t really a thing yet. (Dad always was a fan of Anchor Steam yet suspicious of the sediment in Sierra Nevada.) Germany, Belgium, and Britain were the inspirations, with Michael Jackson’s and Roger Protz’s books in hand to learn about styles and history.

My parents are Anglophiles, and they often traveled to England for business. My dad would always tell me about the pubs, which seemed to be full of fun adventures and random characters (whom I now know more personally as crazy landlords and locals). On my 13th birthday, they took me with them—and I got to try beer in pubs myself. That was the beginning of my long-running romance with British real ale.

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