Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

Progress has been necessarily quiet in the build-up to Xmas, but as soon as everything is back to normal in January we're going to be all over our brewery building / fitting out / cleaning / testing like a rash!  Things are moving along and we're still hoping to do our first test brew in January... maybe a touch optimistic but we're raring to get brewing.

So happy new year to all and hopefully, in 12 months time, we'll have brewed some great beers and be planning many more!


Gazza, Steve and Tom.

Thursday 6 December 2012

The Hot Liquor Tank arrives... just!

We have our Hot Liquor Tank... but as you can see from the photo it only just fitted into the van, and that was an extra-big van too!

So, we are now in possession of yet another bit of kit for the brewery which, hopefully, will be installed in the next few weeks... stay tuned for the news!

It WILL fit....

Friday 23 November 2012

Our Conditioning tanks arrive!

The first pieces of our brewery have arrived in Pontyclun!

We have taken delivery of a dozen 4-Barrel "Grundy" tanks to be used as our conditioners, and to prove it here's Steve organising the unloading...

And here they are all nicely lined up for inspection!

They may look a bit random but, for the price we paid, let's just say they were an absolute bargain and we look forwards to filling them with hoppy beer (and bags full of hops) in the not too distant future.


Tuesday 20 November 2012

More happenings...

Here's the latest update as to what's going on with the new Hopcraft / Pixie Spring brewing venture...

We are still hopeful to be brewing in January although this will more than likely be subject to revision as we progress with the fitting out of the brewery!  January is our target date, however, and we're hoping to stick to it as best we can.

We have our new home sorted out, we are 95% sure we have a brewery ready to be installed, we have conditioning tanks, we have malt and hops, we have offers of yeast (for when we get sorted out properly...) and we have lots of goodwill from drinkers, brewers and publicans all over the country - thanks so much, it means a lot.

So, little in the way of concrete news but things are moving on apace and we hope to have some pictures of the fitting out as and when it happens!  


Saturday 10 November 2012

We have the Keys!

The title says it all, really... 

We now have the keys to our new home in Pontyclun and so things can start to happen as of now; more information as we get it; exciting times!  

1860 square feet sounds a lot but I'm sure we'll soon fill it up...

Wednesday 7 November 2012


We have hops!!!!

Well, not quite yet, but after our "Hop sourcing director" had a meeting with our friendly hop merchants this week we are now poised to have our name slapped all over near enough 3 tonnes - and the mind boggles as to just how many hop cones that is - of luscious American, German, Australian, New Zealand and even some carefully-chosen British hops!

Apart from Simcoe and leaf Galaxy we got everything we wanted and,amazingly, came away with even more than we imagined possible in the form of new, rare and trial hops which, hopefully, we'll be able to craft into an enticing range of brews; going on what we have available to us there are going to be some interesting brewdays ahead...

So, a huge thanks to Will at Charles Faram for a great time crushing and sniffing a veritable cornucopia of aromatic beauties and we're planning to use them well!

Who's calling me a Hopmonster?

Monday 5 November 2012

What's been Happening...

Quite a bit, actually.

Over the past week we've signed the agreement for our Industrial unit so should, hopefully, have the keys very soon.  Well, we actually have the keys now, but what I suppose we mean is to have the keys to keep!  Once we have the unit we can begin preparing the drains and floor for the brewkit...

... Which we may have sourced over in deepest East Anglia; it's a 12 Barrel kit and, dependant on a few final checks, may fit the bill for our requirements very well indeed.  It's got plenty of capacity to expand and let us do the kind of beers we want so, hopefully, we will soon have sourced the most expensive and essential part of the jigsaw!

In addition to the main brewkit we've been shopping for yet more Stainless Steel in the form of a dozen "Grundy Tanks" to form a battery of conditioners to allow us to dry-hop, carbonate or do whatever we choose to our fermented "green" beer, and in the process may have found a bloke who can do everything we could need stainless-wise.

Casks, that perennial bain of the brewer's life, may also be in the bag and quotes for bulk malt supplies keep coming; happily, Gazza's preferred maltster can deliver and the price isn't bad so, with a couple of base malts in stock, we should be sorted.

And as if all that wasn't enough, we are visiting the hop merchants this week at some point to source our all-important hops for next year and beyond... contracting hops is a necessary evil in these days of ever-increasing demand for the best stuff so here's hoping we can get at least some of what we need!

Phew, that was some week... more news as it happens.


Gazza, Tom and Steve.

Monday 29 October 2012

Hops and Barley

Gazza has spent today involved in the following activities;

1) Resigning from his current job,
2) Trying to source the hops our name insists we need,
3) Getting quotes from maltsters for base malt, and
4) Searching for second-hand brewplants on the internet.

All in a day's work setting up a new brewery....!

There really are a million and two things to consider and I'm just thankful that Tom and Steve are doing a lot of the work down at the coalface.  It's all starting to make sense, however, and we are still optimistically looking at January 2013 for the appearance of the first Hopcraft beers and the newly-tuned Pixie Spring brews too.

On the positive side, most Maltsters now seem to produce a low-colour Maris Otter malt which opens up our options a great deal; this malt is the one which characterises the "new wave" UK beers - call them Mid-Atlantic, Trans-Atlantic, whatever - from Jaipur to the old Punk IPA, and it's great to have such a wide choice these days.


Saturday 27 October 2012

Welcome to our World...

We are assuming, if you've got this far, that you are interested in hearing just what we (Gazza of Steel City Brewing and Tom / Steve of Pixie Spring Brewery) have planned for our new venture, Hopcraft Brewing... well, you've come to the right place!

First off, the basics.  Pixie Spring Brewery is poised to move out of it's current home, the Wheatsheaf in Llantrisant, into our new base in Pontyclun where we hope, once we have a 10 Barrel brewery installed (which we are currently working on!), we can begin production of the existing Pixie Spring beers plus our new range of Hopcraft brews.  This will be happening, Bacchus and all manner of suppliers permitting, early in the new year and we hope to keep you informed of the progress via this blog plus we will be utilising Twitter and Facebook to push our message to the beery masses!

Hopcraft brewing has come about because both brewers involved, Tom and Gazza, simply love the sticky little green bracts and think that, by working together, they can showcase them to a wider audience than they currently do with Pixie Spring and Steel City.  We plan to cover all bases beer-wise with our production and brew a core range of beers, a rotating roster of seasonal specials, plus a more experimental and dare we say "Craft" creations which will vary from full-on hop monsters to... well, just about anything we feel like doing!

Our new home is almost signed for, the brewery is being sourced, suppliers are being sounded out, favours being called in... everything is moving quickly and we're even beginning to plan some beers!  With this in mind, we'll soon be wooing potential customers (and drinkers!) in preparation for our opening in 2013 so bookmark this blog, follow our twitter feeds, befriend us on Facebook and we'll keep you in touch with what's occurring with us... Cheers!

Gazza, Tom and Steve.