Wednesday 25 December 2013

Have a good one....

Happy Yule / Christmas / festivities whatever you call it and a great new year to all our customers, suppliers, drinkers and supporters.

See you all next year!!

Thursday 19 December 2013

Final deliveries...

Almost done!

In the last 2 days we've dropped 32 casks in London and Reading at the following pubs;
  • Nag's Head, Reading
  • Southampton Arms, Highgate
  • Fox, Haggerston E8
  • Cock (Howling Hops), Hackney
  • King William 4th (Brodies), Leyton
Tomorrow we're doing it all again;
  • Nag's Head, Reading (two more!!)
  • Alehouse (ex Hobgolblin), Reading
  • Hope, Carshalton
  • Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage
And that's about it for the year for us!  it's been an amazing 6 months with plenty of highs and lows but we feel that we've achieved way more than we thought and are looking forwards to really taking it up a notch next year.

Our beer quality has steadily improved to the point that even Gazza is fairly happy with it (!) and the last few brews (Beast, Boss and Citra Plus) were particularly pleasing; we're not resting on the proverbial laurels though, far from it, we know we can make even better beer and will be trying to do just that in the new year.

We'll be updating less frequently over Yule as we're not doing that much, so we'll take this opportunity to give out a massive thanks to everyone who's helped or merely put up with us during the past year of planning, building and finally brewing; we really do appreciate all the support and feedback so please keep the lupulous faith for 2014 and we'll see you soon - some Meet the Brewer evenings are being planned for the new year so you can come see us in person!

Have a good Yule and new year everyone, cheers.

Gazza and Tom, the brewers.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Final brew of the year and Whisky cask maturation update!

It may seem a bit soon, but we've just done our final brew of the year!  We've been brewing twice a week for a good few weeks now so we've built up a bit of a buffer to see us through until January; saying that, we're off to London twice next week with 50 (and counting...) casks so we'll need to be brewing straight off in January to replenish some stocks.  The thinking was we'd rather brew and sell fresh beer than sit on lots of older stock (hops fade very quickly so we want our beer from brewery to bar as quickly as possible) so that's it for 2013, 35 brews completed in our first 6 months; not bad to begin with.

The final brew was a rather unusual dark beer, not quite stout not quite wheat beer, with a generous dose of German smoked malts (both beechwood and oak) to add complexity and, as you'd expect in such a beer, the hop charge was (for us!) ludicrously low with Admiral, Marynka and Magnum being used more to add to the flavour than to add their own as is usually the case with our beer.  It should be pretty complex so look out for "Cruxshadow" in the new year...

We've got a good range of beers coming on sale now including The Beast, Permanent Revolution, Monky Business (of which more in a minute) and The Beast to name but a few, as well as last month's Bosun James Gray, Prospector and Lucifer Juice... oh yes, and Citra Plus which was tasting monumentally good on casking; can't wait to try that in the pub.

Brewing for the year may be over but the work isn't, oh no.  Today we racked Tidy, transferred and dry-hopped Bang Tidy (Centennial and Columbus), transferred Monky Business to tank and the Whisky cask then washed all the casks to rack The Beast tomorrow, plus all tanks have had their pellet trub disgorged.  Be a brewer and laze around drinking beer, they said...

Some photos of the week's events are below...

The "Double Hogshead" 500 litre ex-Whisky cask in situ...

And here being filled with "Monky Business"

With all these unusual beers we've been doing, the specialist malt store is overflowing with... well, specialist malts!  Some good stuff in there.

Our smokey dark stouty-wheaty-whatever it is!

It's our take on Belgian Dubbel... not perfect, but it's tasting interesting!

Monday 9 December 2013

Does this make us "craft"?

As any fule kno, to be a craft brewer these days you've got to have a beard and wooden barrel-age everything in sight whether it suits the beer or not, plus declaring everything to be "awesome" helps too.

Tom has the beard but, until now, we didn't have any wooden casks... this situation has been resolved with the acquisition of a whisky cask which, provided it passes QC checks and doesn't leak beer all over the floor, will be used to barrel-age some of our Belgian Dubbel-style brew "Monky Business"...  more news as we get it!

We're brewing tomorrow and it looks like it'll be another "non-standard" brew for us in the shape of a dark smoked ale using Franconian beech smoked malt and a right mixture of other malts to produce a dark, wintery beer (it's not a stout although that's probably the nearest thing you could describe it as) and will be around 5% or thereabouts.

Our whisky cask in the van!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Brewing "Monky Business"

A few photos from today's brew, our first foray into Belgian-style beers, a 6%+ dubbel type thingy; the wort was tasting lovely running into FV1!  Now it's up to the yeast...

Adding Candi Sugar to the underback

Gazza adds the Candi sugar - it's easier to use in liquid form!

The biggest mash we've done thus far - 327kg of grain!

1500 litres of Dubbely goodness...

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Yeasties on their main course.

For those who don't know, yeast is the single-celled fungus which makes beer... erm, well, into beer.  Basically yeast loves to eat sugar - wort is full of it - and so putting them into wort is akin to throwing me into a bath full of Nargis kebabs; much eating gets done!

Yeast eats simple sugars first (glucose, sucrose) then moves onto the more complex ones such as maltose - and others with scarily chemically-sounding names - until it reaches a point where it can't eat any more as the supplies are exhausted or the strain you're using simply won't ferment any more; it's reached it's attenuation potential and will go no further.

We're using S04 in our Tidy Bitter; it's an English strain more commonly known as "Whitbread B" and you can taste it's telltale peardrop and almond characteristics in many beers such as Batemans; if you can taste peardrops it's a pretty safe bet you're drinking a beer fermented with Whitbread B... that or your drink has been laced with cyanide.  

S04 isn't my favourite yeast by a long chalk; it has a distinctive taste which we don't want in our ordinary beers and it doesn't attenuate (the level of fermentation it will achieve) that well and stops before other yeasts leaving more sugars - and therefore body - in the beer.  We use it for Tidy bitter, however, as it gives the flavours people expect a bitter to have; the public get what the public want, eh?

Here's some photos of the yeast hard at work this evening in FV3 troughing down on our Tidy Bitter; it's only been in the vessel a day and already it's going mental!

Tidy Bitter version 4

Today we brewed Tidy bitter for the 4th time and, as is now traditional, the recipe has been savagely hacked about! We're trying to get it to taste more full-bodied yet not too hoppy (although this version is a fair bit hoppier than the last one) and uses English Admiral, German Herkules and Polish Marynka hops for a balance of bitterness and grassy, slightly fruity hop flavour.  This will hopefully mesh well with the S04 yeast and it's peardrop esters and the torrefied wheat which gives a slight "popcorn" taste which, in my experience, "twig bitter" drinkers - for some totally illogical reason - find palatable; eeeuw.  

As you can see, Tidy is a funny brew in that it's the only one we've made where we're not trying to make a beer we'd like to drink but one "normal" punters might want... not being a normal, far from it, some guesswork is necessary to get inside the mindset of said normals and the decision to add traditional grains, hops and yeasts have given a brew which definitely tastes like a bitter - albeit one with a lot more flavour than is usual - although we're still messing about with the recipe to try and get it "right", whatever that might be!

So, here's the moment two of you have been waiting for... the scores on the doors as of now... three FVs full (2 on chill) and 6 CT's with beer on dry hops. Tomorrow we'll be racking Lucifer Juice and also (maybe) Citra Plus to cask, transferring Permanent Revolution to tank and preparing for our brew of "Monky Business" on Thursday, our first Belgian-style beer... should be interesting as we've got a load of special malts and even Belgian candi sugar in!

The whiteboard tells all...

Thursday 28 November 2013

Drink our Manifesto! (not Hop Manifesto, you've missed that one)

As you can see here, our red half-IPA now has a name.  And a personality of it's own... 

Today we brewed "The Boss" again as we ran out all too quickly and we like it a lot!  Good enough excuse?  I think so...

Next week will see a rebrew of Tidy Bitter (now on it's 4th recipe in a possibly futile attempt to get it just as we want it) with the associated sub-brew of "Bang Tidy" edition 2, this time dry-hopped with Cascade.

If the stuff arrives in time we'll also be brewing "Monky Business", our first attempt at a Belgian Dubbel; think Candi sugar, proper Belgian Abbey malt, that kind of thing.  

In other Trappist beer related news, Gazza has been researching Belgian monastic beer recipes and thinks he's got this one about right, plus he's also got ideas to brew a style very rarely seen, Patersbier, a weaker "Trappist session" if you will!  More news on that probably next year... 

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Running out of names already...

That's not entirely true although our latest brew, a Red half-IPA, is currently sitting in FV1 and is bereft of a name!  Rest assured that tomorrow we'll think of one... how hard can it be?

For those who don't know what a "half-IPA" is, let me explain... many years ago, a bloke made up a story about IPAs being exported to India and everyone believed it despite it being a pile of bobbins; brewers in the UK did produce IPAs but they were weak affairs and it's all thanks to the yanks that we now believe that an IPA should be around 7% and full of hops (nowt wrong with the last bit...)

So, it follows that on current (mis)understanding of the IPA situation a half-IPA is a low gravity version of the style, although in fact it's the strength they've been brewed at for quite a few years and thus doesn't make a lot of sense.  We're using it as we like to confuse people... that, and it sounds good and exotic which some people like.  That and a lot of beery people have heard of IPA and so will be more likely to buy it with IPA in the name somewhere!

So, if you're still with me, a red half-IPA is a low gravity hoppy beer which happens to be red (or as red as you can get using grains which isn't very) and, hopefully, delicious too... time will tell!

So concludes tonight's gibberish, thanks for your understanding...

Monday 18 November 2013

It's behind you...

Today was our 30th brew so we brewed this...

It's a strong-ish, very pale (using German pilsner malt to achieve the pale colour) and pretty damn hoppy little number which we originally brewed 6 months ago on the testkit and liked so much we thought it was time to give The Beast it's own full run!  Hops were Summit, Herkules, Citra, Cascade and Centennial.

And if that's not enough we have this trio of flavoured lovelies being casked tomorrow...

As you've probably guessed it's all the same brew with different natural extracts added (except the coffee as that was added after the boil and more will be added to each cask!) but we couldn't decide between the Biscotti and Vanoffi so we had to do both, plus a few just coffee too...

Sunday 17 November 2013

Havin' it old skool, innit....

No we've not gone all "yoof" but we've realised that the last brew we did, and the next one tomorrow, are repeats (albeit with heavily revised recipes) of testbrews we did back in spring on the minikit!

Last week we brewed "Lucifer Juice" which is mainly hopped with the new Experimental 366 hop from America giving a blackcurranty, oily fruit character; this brew is a lot weaker than the original testbrew at around 3.7% to allow the full character of the hop through into the finished brew... we'll see if this has worked in a few days when it goes into tank!

Tomorrow's brew is another rework of a testbrew, this time "The Beast", and this beer lives up to it's name weighing in at around 6.5 to 7%.  It's not like your usual strong winter beer though, oh no, this is an extra pale brew - lightened up with German Pilsner malt - and dosed with a right wallop of hops including Citra, Cascade and Summit then dry-hopped in the tank with yet more lovely American hops... who said winter beers have to be brown and "twiggy"?  Not us, that's for sure, so look out for it in a few weeks; it's one brew only so when it's gone, it's gone!

He lives 300 doors up the road...

Thursday 14 November 2013

A new heat exchanger!

We've finally got our new heat exchanger fitted and working and it's a beast too!  It's specified for a 15 barrel brewery - to give us ample expansion room - and it should cut our transfer time to FV from 2 hours to about 45 minutes once our new Lowara pump arrives from Italy (don't ask, it's cheaper that way).

Just to be sure, however, we gave it a blast today with our 29th brew, "Lucifer Juice", which is an amended version of a testbrew we did about 6 months back using the blackcurranty, spicy and even musky Experimental 366 hop.  This version is a lot weaker at 3.8% or so, but will keep the big fruity hop characater which made the original testbrew a success.

Today marks a milestone (of sorts) in that, for the first time since we started brewing back in June, we have all 4 FVs full of beer!  OK, one is being transferred to tank for dry-hopping tomorrow, but the fact is they're all full and the picture below proves it! (if you believe whiteboards that is...)

The board never lies...

Our new heat exchanger, fitted (and used) today !!

Monday 11 November 2013

Prospector and Biscotti Porter.

Prospector, the beer we brewed instead of Deliverance last week, is now on chill and smelling pretty damn good, it'll go into tank this week with some Centennial T90 pellets to give it a final citrus blast.

In FV3 we have a very unusual brew in the form of Biscotti Porter!  Yes, you heard this right... it's a pretty standard porter (apart from the exotic German malts!) but then we added almost 5kg of coffee beans to the copper and that's not all; once fermentation is complete we'll add lots of natural vanilla and almond extracts to give it - hopefully - a flavour resembling a biscotti!  We've already done some tests of flavouring addition amounts and we'll do a final one with the finished beer before we commit the little bottles to the tanks... but I'm sure it'll turn out lovely!

One other less positive message is that Craftwerk, our Euro pale, seems to have developed some very unusual flavours in cask and therefore some have been condemned; these are our first ullages and we're very unhappy about it, mainly because the yeast seems to be to blame and we only used it under duress with no US05 available... never again! 

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Today's lesson... always check the recipe !!!

It's good advice, people.

Today we were - or thought we were - brewing Deliverance APA, a revised recipe of the old Pixie Spring beer, although on testing the OG (original gravity) we discovered it was 5 points below what we'd been expecting.  Investigation of the recipe revealed we'd cocked up and used less malt than we should have... quick as a flash we amended the dry hopping and so "Prospector" was born!  Well, it's golden and uses American hops.... 

In FV on chill we have "Bosun James Gray" which is named after one of Gazza's ancestors who sailed with Captain James Cook (at his request, too!) on all of his voyages of exploration around the South Seas.  In his honour we've brewed a pale ale stuffed full of South Sea hops such as Waimea, Pacific Jade, Topaz and Sticklebract; it'a a right old Aussie / New Zealand mashup and, although it's not the kind of beer brewed back in the 1770's, I hope it lives up to the name of my ancestor.

In tank sitting on dry hops we have Bang Tidy (on Brewer's Gold), Craftwerk (also on Brewer's Gold) and The Boss (on Citra)... all have been disgorged tonight - the pellets dumped out of the cone on the tanks - and let me just say The Boss has brought a massive smile to my face; mangoes and cat's piss, anyone?  As kids today say, boom.

Thursday 31 October 2013

Flattering.... and our 25th brew!

Well, kind of...  we're sending out pallets of beer to several wholesalers next week and it's quite a boost that a beer distributor wants to sell our beer!  I know that's how it works, but it still feels good and affirms what we think about our own beers.

We brewed a new pale ale today, our 25th brew since June, a mere 4 months ago! It contains Waimea, Pacific Jade and Topaz so should be full of lovely fruity flavours although, just to make sure, we will dry-hop it in the tank with more hops, Sticklebract to be precise!  It doesn't have a name as yet although Gazza's ancestor was the Bosun with Captain Cook back in the 1700's on one of his South Pacific adventures so that looks like a good starting point for a name, what with all those South Pacific hops!

We've also been casking up beer today including our "production" version of the beer which started it all last year, "The Boss".  This was a collab between Tom and Gazza in the wheatsheaf cellar and started off this whole brewery business!  Version 2 has been improved with less bitterness, more (and better) hops and vastly increased drinkability....

Version 2...

Thursday 17 October 2013

Gazza at Indy Man Beer Con and other stories.

Well, I was there.  Sadly, only for about 4 hours, but that was enough to convince me we need to be there in force next year at all sessions.

So, what was so good about it then? Surely all beer festivals are the same?  Well, no.  For a start it's not run by CAMRA (the beards and guts society) so good beer - IN WHATEVER DISPENSE FORMAT - was on sale with no "tutting" if you asked for keg.  Then there was proper coffee, the food looked amazing (sadly it had been packed away by the time I'd done my meet the brewer) and the venue... well, if you like Victorian tiled grandeur then you'll really love it!  It's an old swimming baths if you didn't know, one which has been saved from destruction and turned into a kind of events venue.  OK, it's not in the nicest area of Manc being near Chorlton on Medlock and Mosside, but I've seen much worse!

But most of all there was the obvious love for beer by staff and visitors alike, and the customers were of a demographic CAMRA would pay for; in the main, young people (irritatingly young...) who were there to drink good beer without the shackles of the dispense police.  So refreshing in it's attitude and so well run you'd never believe it's only in it's second year, I'm ordering everyone to visit next year!

This week we're flat out trying to brew / cask / condition some new beers to replace the ones we've been sold out of!  No sooner do we release a list then they're all gone which is a great position to be in but very hard to keep up with... but we are so happy the beers are having such a good response from pubs, drinkers and wholesalers although you've seen nothing yet; we honestly think the beers are improving brew by brew and can't wait to get stuck into some more in the coming weeks.

Today we brewed a new version of "The Boss", the beer which started it all back in 2012!  This new version has a different hop profile although the malt is very similar and the ABV is the same as the first one which is bound to cause confusion!  We've also transferred "Ta Moko", our South Pacific hopped black IPA, to tank and added lots of lovely Waimea pellets to them which should impart a mellow melon-esque fruitiness by next week.

Tomorrow we brew the latest batch of Tidy Bitter which will be ever so slightly different than the last one with the use of Saaz hops instead of Bobek for a test... apart from that it's the same!

Finally, here are a few photos as is customary....

The ex King's Arms in the middle of a dodgy estate (not as dodgy as it was, mind) in Chorlton on Medlock... this is where Brendan Dobbin brewed the beers which changed my outlook on beer forever.

Gazza doing a "Meet the brewer" at IMBC.

This is the room we did the MTB in; Victorian tiled splendour or what?!?!

A general view of one of the halls at IMBC

Our latest beer to go into conditioning tanks today...

Wednesday 9 October 2013

New windows and Napoleon....

That's two things you don't often hear in the same sentence....  or title, even.

We've had a window fitted into the base of our copper (which is surrounded by chimney bricks to keep in the heat from the gas burners) so we can keep a close eye on said recalcitrant burners which have recently been going out at far to frequent intervals - the thermocouple cuts them out when it shouldn't - and, anyhow, it's nice to look at a roaring fire!

So where does the French emperor come in, you may well ask?  Well, he's featured on the clip of the beer we've transferred to conditioning tank and dry-hopped (Polaris, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade and Amarillo!) today; "Napoleon Complex" is a beer small in ABV but big in attitude as are the people the condition describes... Google it and see for yourselves what I'm gibbering on about!  The name fits the beer perfectly in our opinion and it's shaping up to be one of our hoppiest brews to date... we really need a hop accountant!

Next up is our European IPA with all Euro hops and then, as we've only got a bit left, it's time for the next brew of Tidy Bitter but this time we're going to start mixing things up a bit; as well as half the brew being casked as Tidy in the normal way, we're going to stick the other half in a conditioning tank with a load of hops and see what comes out; this will be a regular thing when we brew Tidy in the future to add a little interest and also to see what happens with different dry hops... didn't take us long to get bored brewing Tidy, only twice, and even then we amended the recipe between brews!

I'll have a thin crust margherita please chief...

Two brews this week... hopefully.

When I say hopefully it depends if we can get a few bits of kit sorted out first, to pick two out of the air our gas burners under the copper and filter plate in the copper, both guilty of making our brewday today into one massive ballache.

But hey ho, it's in the FV now and orders for the beers keep rolling in faster than we can make it at present (we're not complaining, honest!) which is why we need to brew again this week; and hopefully Thursday will be the day!

So, what did we brew today?  "Ta Moko" is a Black IPA (and to those who don't like the term you know what you can do... complain to the Americans who thought it up!) using mainly New Zealand (Waimea) and Australian (Topaz) hops to produce a lusciously fruity yet toasted and bitter beer of big complexity.  South Pacific hops are rare in Black IPAs so we thought we'd give them a go and see if their more subtle soft fruity flavours come through.

Tomorrow we're casking up the latest brew of "Mosaic Plus" and doing various bits of paperwork before, hopefully, brewing "Eurocentric" on Thursday which is another IPA but this one is a more boring colour (golden!) and uses entirely European hops, rare in an IPA, but we think we can make it happen...

Then, on Friday, Gazza is off delivering to Derbyshire and Sheffield, brewing with Steel City, then driving across the Pennines to Manchester to drop off more beer before a mini Meet the Brewer at the Indy Man Beer Conf at the Victoria Baths in Chorlton on Medlock.  Coincidentally, the venue is dangerously close to the original home of Brendan Dobbin's West Coast brewery; for those too young to remember, Brendan was a pioneer of foreign hops in the UK and whose beers changed my life on numerous occasions with his use of hops and made me what I am today... and that's a total hophead before anyone says anything else.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Two testbrews for London!

Tomorrow is one of our trips down the M4 to London and we're taking a couple of special beers with us for the Snooty Fox in Canonbury's "Good Libations" beer festival which is being held from 24th to 27th October.

We've brewed two specials with wort from New Dawn Fades but, as we added different hops and (in one case) yeast, the results are very different indeed!

"Saison du Renard" is a 5.1% Saison with a simple Magnum and Saaz copper hopping with the French Saison yeast giving a very dry, grassy, peppery character with big fruity hops from the Mosaic pellets used as dry-hopping... us and our Mosaic, eh?

"Hop Secret 2" is, as the name suggests, our second brew of this nature using a hop so new it doesn't even have a name yet!  This one is from Eastern Europe (and different to that used in the original Hop Secret) and goes by the moniker of CF118... expect spicy, grassy flavours and even hints of pineapple in the finish.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Hop Torpedoes!

Well, what else would you call them?!?

These steel contraptions are filled with leaf hops then are placed into our conditioning tanks for a week to allow the lovely lupulins to infuse into the beer much in the same way a teabag works... if you had a six-foot stainless steel one.

We've long wanted something to allow us to dry hop with leaf hops in the conditioning tanks; we measure the T90 pellets directly into the tanks but leaf hops block up the outlets and just about everything else so, after various experiments with muslin bags and suchlike, we've had these made by our friends at AJP stainless in Hereford, home of the Wobbly brewery, especially for our 700 litre tanks.

We've not tested them in anger yet but they should work a treat; we'll let you know which beer has used them so you can judge their effectiveness for yourself!

Friday 27 September 2013

A kind of meet the brewer....

Last night we were at the White Gross, Groeswen, where we gave a talk on the difference between Ale and Lager.  Yes you heard that right... a talk on factual stuff, not stuff we've made up 5 minutes before!

Well that's not necessarily true as we only wrote the script (for script, think A4 page with major points to discuss) an hour before we arrived at the pub but, given our woeful state of preparation - I blame the brew we'd just completed for hogging our time - it went pretty well, or at least no-one obviously nodded off of shouted obscenities so that's judged a success in my eyes!

For the occasion we'd brewed a special lager of our own!  Well, it had been brewed a few months back by a visiting hotrod builder (Ben) from Oakland, California, on our mini-kit, but we thought this would be the ideal opportunity to release our first, and maybe only, lager onto the world...  suffice it to say our beer went down well although you try explaining to a roomful of people with varying levels of beer knowledge that the beer on tasting is a hybrid San Francisco "steam" beer crossed with a double-decoction mash European lager... that was fun!  There was another lager on tap, I won't name names but it tasted like cider; nice!

In other news, we've re brewed Mosaic Plus due to popular demand, have delivered beer to the Thames Valley and the rather good Hope at Carshalton and have more beer off to Birmingham and Bristol tomorrow.

Friday 20 September 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates....

... But we've been mad busy brewing, selling and delivering beer!

Our two latest are now in cask; the "nuclear Armageddon" series shows why you shouldn't watch the news whilst thinking of beer names! In our defence "Preemptive strike" is dry-hopped with the new German Polaris hop (giving a bizarre grassy, sweet oily melon-like character) and "Bikini atoll" is hopped mainly with south Pacific hops with the glorious Nelson sauvin being the star of the show.

We've just brewed "Prince of Bengal", a 5.5% golden brew, to I s new recipe and we're pretty happy with the ,preliminary tastings.

Also in the tanks is an amended recipe of Gazza's favourite Steel City beer "New Dawn Fades" which is stuffed full of citra and calypso hops for a fruit cocktail of a beer!

More news soon and we promise to update more frequently next week... The Facebook page gets more frequent updates if you really want to know what's going on!

Monday 9 September 2013

Just the one brew this week....

After two weeks of mad brewing (to build up some stock after we were virtually cleaned out) and equally manic delivering it's just the one brew tomorrow, a revamped Pixie Spring beer; "Prince of Bengal IPA"!  This golden 5.5% brew has plenty of hops to keep the hopheads dosed up but enough malty body so normal drinkers don't get too scared by it!  

Last week here at Hopcraft Towers the theme was "nuclear armageddon" (proof, if more were needed, that watching the news isn't good for you or beer name creation!) with "Pre-Emptive Strike" (German Polaris hops) and "Bikini Atoll" (mainly New Zealand hops) being sent to FVs 1 and 2 for your delectation in a few weeks' time.  

We also casked up "You Love Us", our mad-hoppy 5% pale brew with a name which simultaneously pays tribute to one of the finest Manics tracks as well as poking fun at those who don't like us... oh, and it could also be construed as "You Love US" seeing as all the hops are from the US; clever, eh?

Also in the conditioning tanks is "Graveyard Eyes", our porter, which received a hefty dose of mental Sorachi Ace hop pellets and is currently being disgorged of said hops; I suppose reading this you'd imaging a scene a la Francais but the sad reality is Gazza crouched under the tanks with a very large bucket getting splashed with green goo.  Livin' the dream...

Sunday 1 September 2013

Another mad week at Hopcraft Towers!

Well, it looks like it's going to be another one!

After hitting our 6-month brewing targets within 9 weeks we're already considering upping our batch size to 12 barrels for beers we feel will be more popular and also brewing twice a week, every week, and maybe trying to deliver some beer to more local customers rather than sending it all over the country.

In the last week we've sent beer out to Boggart (Manchester) and Pigs Ears (London) wholesalers, delivered a full vanload to London (Pelt Trader, Snooty Fox Canonbury, Southampton Arms and Brodie's King William 4th) plus a bit of local stuff, this week we're planning a run to Reading, Euston Tap then up to Derbyshire and Sheffield as well as squeezing in a couple of brews plus the trip up to the brewer's jolly that is the Charles Faram hopwalk in Herefordshire!

This week we're brewing a special with the interesting new German hop Polaris called, appropriately, "Pre-emptive Strike" along with another as yet un-named hoppy pale beastie which will have all manner of hops utilised such as Mosaic, Citra and Nelson Sauvin... "noms", as they say on that there internet thingy.

We still welcome - nay, encourage - feedback, so if you've anything to tell us then try or, if you're particularly enraged about something and want to tell it to our smug faces then come on down the brewery and let us know... honestly we love to talk to people about beer and brewing and, if you do manage to find us in the confusing maze known as Coed Cae lane industrial estate, we'll try and make you feel welcome with beer whilst we listen to your point.  Then try to sell you a T-shirt.

So, cheers to everyone for their support so far; it's been a great start and we intend to get better with each brew; the first half-dozen were decent enough but we're now getting into our stride with the brewing and let's just say you've seen nowt yet!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Tomorrow's brew is....

.... "Graveyard Eyes", a modern porter hopped with some lovely American hops and finished off in the conditioning tank with Sorachi Ace, the mad hop originally from Japan, which imparts flavours of coconut, orange peel and dill and works a treat with chocolatey porters!

Later this week we're also going to be casking up Tidy Bitter v2 and transferring "You Love Us" to the conditioning tanks with a generous dose of Amarillo dry hops, and inbetween that sending pallets out and delivering a full vanload to London!

Thursday 22 August 2013

Brewing again!

We've actually brewed twice this week in what seems to be a futile effort to keep up with demand for our beers; first off was Tidy Bitter version 2 (very slightly tweaked) and today saw the turn of "You Love Us", a massively hopped golden brew with buckets of luscious American hops being piled in with Columbus, Citra, Chinook, Centennial and Cluster all making appearances.

Speaking of appearances, Gethin from the excellent Coach pub in Bridgend was here to help and learn some brewing lore, although whether we passed any on is debatable!

Next week sees pallets going around the country and us heading off along the M4 on another jolly to London where we'll deliver another vanload of beer to thirsty customers all across the city... and maybe try a few ourselves whilst we're at the superb King William 4th which, as any fule kno, is the home of Brodie's beers out in Leyton; proper east end that is.

Next week also sees us brewing another dark beer, this time it's the turn of "Graveyard Eyes", a modern take on porter brewed with German, New Zealand and American hops, but it's the totally bizarre Sorachi Ace hop which should steal the show with it's character of coconut, dill and orange peel... honestly, it has!

Now that's a hop charge....

Deep hop bed or what?

Gazza and Gethin prepare to add the aroma charge to "You Love Us"

"How many hops?!?!"

The hops for "You Love Us"

Tidy bitter looking... well, Tidy!

Saturday 17 August 2013

Some photos from the "meet the brewer(s)" last week.

Our "meet the brewer(s)" at the City Arms, Cardiff last week was a big success; all 8 beers went down well and we had plenty of good feedback - cheers everyone!

Some photos from the event are below...

Written in lights!  well, almost...

Keg?  You're worse than Hitler...

Four of our beers flank SA!

The pumps...

And the stillage with Tidy bitter and Redneck.

Cheers for the camera...

Now gurn!