Friday 25 April 2014

End to a busy week....

Massive thanks to Dean Roberts who has been a huge help during the past two weeks in helping us brew and generally keep going... cheers mate!

We have two more beers in the FV at the end of this week as we're not brewing next week; "Oceanic", a 4/5%-ish pale with Galaxy and Nelson Sauvin and "Five Seas" an old-skool US-hopped brew with Cascade, Centennial, Cluster, Columbus and Chinook which should come out around 3.8%.

Anyone in Edinburgh next week can come say hello to Gazza at the Hanging Bat where he's doing a meet the brewer on Tuesday evening, not sure if this is sold out though as it's a ticket-only event.

Today was a big racking day with 60 casks filled... as you can see here.

Today's racking.

Dean with his dinner - Galaxy.

Dean digs the mash...

Friday 18 April 2014

Smooth as a smooth thing...

First off, Massive thanks to Dean Roberts who answered my pleas for help and has been an absolute star this week in the brewery as I knew he would be; we've brewed together before and he knows how to brew and, even more importantly, likes the sort of beers I like so we think the same way!

We managed to get two brews in this week, both went smoothly without any incident and, touch wood, no problems of any kind!  The first is a rebrew of Simcoe Plus as we always like to have at least one of the "plus" range in stock at any time and Mosaic+ has only today all gone.

The other was a collaboration with the lovely Sue Hayward of Waen brewery; it was a true collaboration as we had no plans or preconceptions what to make, all that was decided on the day, and the result was a 4%-ish dark beer which doesn't really conform to any of the usual styles!  It uses German Special W malt which is a Belgian-style fruitcakey tasting malt along with Roasted Barley and a few others, and for the hops we kept it European with Polish, Czech and German varieties providing the bitterness and flavour.

As it's not slottable into any style we've called it "Whatever" and it'll be around in a few weeks' time, so look out for it, or whatever...

Sue mashing in

Monday 14 April 2014

A bit of help!

Whilst Tom is recovering from his operation for a few weeks Hopcraft Towers will be host to long-time collaborator with Gazza in brewing / travelling / drinking Dean from Newton Abbot; we'll be brewing up some hoppy delights with Simcoe Plus making a welcome return on Wednesday, albeit in version 2.0 mode, and the following week we have two beers to plan... now where's that Farams hop catalogue?

On Thursday we'll also be host to Sue and Paul from Waen brewery and will be making... no idea as of yet, but I'm hoping we can stick a load of hops in it!  This is part one of a "two-way" collab so when we're up in Mid Wales we'll be brewing up something along their style, probably with some sort of fruit in it.

So, please bear with us for the next month or so, I promise we'll do our very best to keep it as "situation normal" as possible!

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Collab in Manchester

Last weekend Gazza did a low-key keg launch and meet the brewer at Port Street Beer House in Manchester where, as well as keeping the pontificating mercifully short and not mentioning Thatcher once (surely a record?), he stayed all evening and chatted to various beery types about beer, music and lots more besides.  If you were one of these people and Gazza hasn't got back to you despite promising to, then just drop us an email at and the situation will be remedied!

On the Monday it was over to Rob Hamilton's Blackjack brewery under the train/metrolink arches on the wonderfully named Irk street (I know the river is just over the road, but I still like the name) and it's gloriously Lowryesque cobbles where, along with various luminaries from Port Street, we concocted a very hoppy amber brew with Ella, Galaxy and Citra which should be pretty damn good in a week or two!  This beer is destined for the Port Street chain - so look out for it in the Beagle, Chorlton, and Common Bar in the Northern Quarter - although it doesn't have a name as yet.

This week sees no brewing at Hopcraft towers owing to Tom having to be away, but we've sufficient stocks backed up in the FVs and CTs which will be casked/transferred in the next few days.  We're hoping to be able to brew next week dependent on getting someone in to help out, a certain someone who knows what they're doing... I'm waiting on confirmation of this at present but hopefully we will be fine, so please bear with us during the next few weeks if we don't answer the phone / get back to you straight away.

Brewing at Blackjack.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Another brew in the FV

Today we brewed yet another new beer, this time a 4%-ish extra-pale ale with mainly European hops assisted by a smattering of punchy American ones!  As is normal it's not yet got a name although "All this and More" is being banded about.

With a simple malt bill of Low-colour Maris Otter, Wheat and Caragold to let the hops do their thang, German Brewer's Gold and Mandarina Bavaria and French Triskel teamed up with American Mosaic and Cascade to give what we hop will be an interesting brew!  We've kept the bitterness down to enable the hop character to come through as much as possible and I'm pretty interested to see how this one turns out!

There's no more brewing at Hopcraft Towers now until next week when we'll probably be re-brewing Prince on Bengal IPA (recently named by someone I don't know on Twitter as "The best IPA in Wales!") or maybe, just maybe, knocking up something new... we've not decided yet so you'll just have to watch this space...

As we've already said we're off to the lovely Port Street Beer House in Manchester on Sunday for our meet the brewer / keg launch before brewing a collab at BlackJack on the Monday... should be an interesting weekend all round.

8kg of lovely hops!