Saturday, 11 January 2014

A look at the year ahead...

Since we started brewing in 2008 we have seen massive changes in the brewing industry & some of it is hard to absorb when you're on the inside & things move so quickly, back then no-one was talking about the word 'Craft' not many brewers were regularly dry hopping core range beers & kegged beer from small brewers was nowhere near being entertained.

How times have changed, six years on the British brewing scene is eclectic & diverse, cask, keg, bottle & can, IPA, Saison, Sours & more. The explosion of small breweries with their energy & endless creativity have thrilled & delighted those looking for exciting new beers & equally frustrated others.

2013 - We went from strength to strength.
I think we are now coming to the end of this frantically paced period of change & hopefully we'll see all brewers settling into the serious business of putting consistent quality at the heart of everything they do, but by the same token not relinquishing the originality which has fueled the great new found interest in beer.

We have put in some extra QC procedures & equipment at the brewery this year to ensure you are enjoying our beers a their best, we are determined to have our best year yet & build on the quality we achieved last year & go a step further.
Sabertooth, our new US IPA, low IBU's Big Hop/Malt Character
2013 was our best year to date, two new team members added, new equipment, more capacity & a lot of fantastic new beers not least 'The Devil Loves' *HOP* series, Mokko Milk Stout & Pacer our session keg pale ale, which have proven extremely popular.

We will be posting a monthly blog detailing what's happening this coming year, which leads me onto some changes in our range for 2014. Sadly, Resistance Dark Mild & Cohort are being retired, making way for 'Sabertooth' IPA 6.9%, 'Mokko' Milk Stout 6.0%. & seasonal 'Klooster' Belgian Wit 5.2% (April - October).

Our range in 2014 will now consist of the following:-

Zenith Pale Ale (Cask) 4.0%
Pacer Pale Ale (Keg) 4.1%
Barista Espresso Stout (Cask & Keg) 4.8%
Teleporter Ten Malt Porter (Cask & Keg) 5.0%
Oregon West Coast Pale Ale (Cask & Keg) 5.5%
Klooster Belgian Wit (Keg) 5.2% (Seasonal April-October)
Rouge Red Ale (Cask & Keg) 5.8%
Diablo IPA (Cask & Keg) 6.0%
Mokko Milk Stout (Cask & Keg) 6.0%
Sabertooth IPA (Keg) 6.9%
Maelstrom DIPA (Keg) 9.0%

This months new beers include:-

Huldra - Smoked Porter 5.4% - A smoky US style Porter brewed with Rauchmalt & Perle, East Kent Goldings, Mount Hood & Willamette hops.

Piha - Cask Pale Ale 3.9% - A riot of Kiwi hops such as Motueka, Pacifica & Nelson Sauvin, resulting in a sessionable pale ale with bags of dry hopped character.

Here's to 2014 being a positive 'pint half full' kind of year.
Here's to a great 2014 for us all, brewer, publican & most importantly the drinker!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

IndyManBeerCon - What the HELL is Craft Beer Video.

What the hell is craft beer? Debate at Indy Man Beer Con 2012 from Asta Films on Vimeo.

Incase you couldn't make it to IndyManBeerCon here's the video of the the discussion that took place that night. Have a watch & I think you'll be surprised how much common ground there was...

IndyManBeerCon - The Movie

Indy Man Beer Con Manchester 2012 from Asta Films on Vimeo.

Ok, so it's not quite a movie, but the interviews & the production of this video follow-up to IndyMan yet again shows how these guys are 'Raising The Bar' (no pun intended, honest!) when it comes to world class beer events.

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Independent Manchester Beer Convention


Independent Manchester Beer Convention
Friday 5th and Saturday 6th October 2012 / Victoria Baths, Manchester

-- IMBC announces cask list, food stalls, events and pop up tastings --

Under four weeks to go, Indy Man Beer Con fever is reaching boiling point, our full CASK brewery list has been announced and will proudly feature beer from : Beavertown, Black Jack, Brodies, Burscough, Buxton, Camden, Cantillon, Darkstar, First Chop, Gadds, Hackney, Hardknott, Harviestoun, Hawkshead, Ilkley, Kirkstall, Liverpool Craft, Magic Rock, Mallinsons, Marble, Quantum, Red Willow, Redemption, Sierra Nevada and Tyne Bank! 

The extensive KEG room includes stalls hosted by the brewers themselves, these will include : Brewdog, Thornbridge, Magic Rock, Tempest, Hardknott, Lovibonds, Summer Wine Brewery, Camden Town Brewery, Ilkley Brewery with more beers selected by James Clay and Portable Street Beer House.

With plenty of beer on offer, you will be needing something to soak it all up, we have specially selected three of the finest food merchants around. Joining us for IMBC will be South Indian restaurant Sindhoor, serving up the finest cuisine around. Dirty Dogs will be dishing out the dirtiest hot dogs in the north and finally The Great North Pie Company will be presenting a special cold cutting pork pie, made exclusively for the festival. Don't forget the five course meal we are putting together with Aumbry especially for IMBC, a matched meal with selected beer from Port Street Beer House, only a few tickets remain for each night.

We have also put together a series of exclusive events for IMBC, these include Meet The Brewer with Kjetil Jikiun (Nogne 0), tasting events from Summer Wine and Red Willow, plus we will be hosting out flag-ship talk: 'What The HELL is craft beer?', featuring special guest James Watt (Brewdog), Zak Avery (beer boy) and many more, details are available via our blog.

Pop up tastings will be occurring throughout the festival with exclusive beers form Nogne 0 and Schneider, we will also be encouraging all the IMBC keg brewers to hold food matching on their stalls, keep an eye out for spontaneous little events.

Finally we have invited our friends 'Ping Pong Club' to host one of the rooms, they will be bringing their huge table and you will get the chance to have a few games of ping pong, in the same room we will have live music on both nights from Former Bullies, playing from the Bob Dylan / Neil Young songbook. Amazing. IMBC is HERE!

Tickets are available online :

£6 -- IMBC lite session (12pm - 4.30pm)

£9 -- IMBC later session  (5.30pm - 11.30pm)

£45 --  IMBC Max session (5.30 - 11.30)
which includes a meal with Aumbry paired with beers from Port Street Beer House.

Friday 5th  / Saturday 6th October 2012 - Victoria Baths, Manchester -

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Dr. Paracelsus' Bombastic Indigo Elixir

"Every little hair on my neck knows more than you and all your scribes."
After the huge success of KopiKat it's time to turn our attentions to a new project, this one is an idea we've had swimming around since October, another unique off-the-wall offering from our grey matter.

Here's the story. Dr. Paracelsus born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December 1493 – 24 September 1541 was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist.

A man credited with much in his short life, he had an extremely self confident manner often labelled arrogant & verbose, a few of his quotes included:-

"It's the dose that makes the poison"

"Every little hair on my neck knows more than you and all your scribes."

Many books mentioning Paracelsus cite his often arrogant speaking style, which the following passage illustrates:

I am Theophrastus, and greater than those to whom you liken me; 

I am Theophrastus, and in addition I am monarcha medicorum and I can prove to you what you cannot prove...

I need not don a coat of mail or a buckler against you, for you are not learned or experienced enough to refute even a word of mine...

As for you, you can defend your kingdom with belly-crawling and flattery. How long do you think this will last?...

Let me tell you this: every little hair on my neck knows more than you and all your scribes, and my shoe buckles are more learned than your Galen and Avicenna, and my beard has more experience than all your high colleges.

In some schools of thought it is said the the word 'Bombastic' originated from his middle name 'Bombastus'. A word that would carry the facets of his character.

So how does this the relate to what we're going to brew?

Dr. Paracelsus' Bombastic Indigo Elixir.

Yep, I'm hoping it will be a mouthful in more ways than one.

To stay true to Paracelsus' character the beer with be outrageous with a raging personality with influences of alchemy & botany.

The beer will be 8% & will involve the following ingredients:-

-Special B Malt
-Liquorice Root
-Black Cardamoms
-Turkish Pepper
-Bramling Cross Single Hop

Think a rich deep reddish ale , deep dark forest fruits, dark malts, liquorice, sweetness & fruity hops.

And just to make things interesting some of the brew is destined for a 1997 Bowmore Whisky cask for ageing.

We'll be bringing Paracelsus to life next month...

*Brilliant artwork above done by our brewery assistant, Tom.*

Sunday, 22 April 2012

KopiKat - The Back Story

So you're probably aware we brewed an Imperial Vanilla Coffee Stout six months back & many of you have tried the un-aged version in a bottle of which we only have a few remaining.

It's time to give you the full lowdown on this beer brewed back in October as it's time for the aged version to emerge from their catnap in two Scotch Whisky barrels where they have been purring away for six months. One a Caol Ila & the other a Clynelish barrel. Tomorrow they are being packaged for bottling & keg for our launch of the aged versions at our ambitious MTB at Cask on May 5th.

The beer brewed back in October with the help of avid London beer & food guru's @rickfurzer & @danielvane the beer took shape in the form of a double mash brewday, which involved a very early start, a monster grist & a few kilo's of world class coffee.

The idea for the beer was born back on IPA Day last year when we had an epic 'IPA Dinner' at the Dean Swift in London, designed by Rick, Max Chater (now Head Dog at BrewDog Nottingham) & Momo their talented head chef.

Some KopiKat wort with a Madagascan Vanilla Pod.
The malt bill was made up of 9 different malts, ranging from Pale Maris Otter to Roasted Barley & almost everything in between, the hops used were Chinook for backbone & Brambling Cross for flavour (no need to over-complicate big stout hopping) added to the boil was a good weight of Muscavado sugar, we had a mammoth four hour boil on this beer to make sure we hit all our numbers.

At flame out we eagerly waited for the temperature to drop sufficiently as not to damage what we were about to add. In went a large bunch of Madagascan Bourbon Vanilla Pods & as soon as we hit the desired temp in went the mammoth blend of world class coffee.

Civet Cat.
Kopi Luak or Civet Cat coffee taking pride of place after all it did provide the inspiration for the name, this coffee is the famous variety who's beans pass through the digestive tract of the Indonesian 'Civet cat', the enzymes in the gut of the cat change the nature of the bean making it less bitter & giving it a smooth flavour. The Kopi Luak, blended with Jamaican Blue Mountain, Old Brown Java & Kenyan Peaberry made up the rest of the blend.

The Kat before being tamed for 6 month
After a carefully timed steep to extract just the desirable flavours of the coffee's we began the transfer of this huge thick coffee fueled wort over to the FV where we used a well known Chico yeast strain as we wanted as full a fermentation as possible so we wouldn't end up with a huge sticky cloying partially fermented mess. I wanted the beer to have huge complexity yet lots of drinkability & the yeast achieved that.

The day in itself passed quickly with Rick & Dan being so enthusiastic mash tuns were dug & cleaned quickly, beer racked, hops were weighed & different blends of the coffee where passed around for our approval, the conversation flowed & verbose opinions exchanged over many quality beers Rick & Dan brought along.

Barreling day.
It was a great day & in the days after, communications were eagerly exchanged on the progress of which had become affectionately known as 'The Kat' we got a real sense that this was more than just a beer but a story, especially as Dan very kindly agreed to commission the artwork for the finished aged versions as he is a very talented artist. Huge thanks to Rick for securing the freshly emptied oak barrels for ageing the beer in & for his attention to detail & his well renowned super human palate capable of deciphering sauteed squirrel bollocks from twenty yards.

Great beers shared amongst friends.
They sometimes say beer is about the people who make it & drink it & I couldn't agree more in this case. It is just such a pleasure to share something we had such fun, creating & nursing, with you. If you can't make it to Cask on May 5th, the two aged versions will be available in May.

Here's to many more beers like this we can share with you, because when you drink them you are a part of the story too!

We can't wait to hear your feedback on the barrel aged versions as of tomorrow the Kat is out of the bag...

Dan's Artwork.