March 21st, 2011Breweries
I never knew there were two 6 o’clocks in a day, neither did the wife, but today is the day I found out when Denzil from Great Heck Brewery told us to meet him at just after 7…in the morning!
Pulling up outside what looked like just another house in the sleepy village of Great Heck, with the odd glance from a passing “local”, my beer companion and I had arrived, not knowing what to expect, on the dot of 07:15 for the start of our days brewing.
Denzil greeted us more like long lost friends rather than mere “internet acquaintances” and was obviously more used to getting up at dawn’s crack as he had already got the hot water tank up to temperature and had his brewing sheet in hand ready to guide us through the process of brewing Heck’s Angel, a golden ale normally around 3.9%.Tags: brewday, brewing, great heck, wakefield, yorkshire
Once upon a time there was a beautiful island paradise. Its gentle hillocks were topped with white fluffs of sheep and from the approaching fishing boats it glinted golden as the sun’s rays bounced off husks of barley in the fields that canvassed the ground.
The islanders rejoiced in the fertile soils and nestled contently in the island’s curves, appreciating its temperate nature and voluptuous harvests. From the mainland, scores of visitors were drawn in by the island’s abundant bounty, and sometimes purely on the effervescent energy the land seemed to glow with.
At sunset a gentle haze hang around the shoreline and dissipated the reflected sunlight that the fisherman watched for. The light receded over the tall hop plants, unrepentant structures of grace and beauty that lined the fields of grain, but was not lost forever. Captured in the crops, that sunlight would eventually reach distant shores, mixed with dune-filtered water and seasoned with the fruit of the hop plant, a broth stirred into life with an eccentric yeast and ready to deploy that same solar energy for the benefit of mankind. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: Dutch, texel, texelse bierbrouwerij, the rake
Once upon a time Britain was an industrial nation. The population were manual workers, skilled or miners, all contributing towards the rise of the Empire.
Nowadays we work at screens, behind partitions, “in services“.
Those grey, growing gas stores, the vast warehouses, the corrugated factories; they’re alien to much of Britain; a spec on the landscape, an irritation to an otherwise green and pleasant land.
These gunmetal structures, whilst reduced in their visibililty, still make up the backbone of everything we do. Power stations are an enigma, distribution centres an eyesore and factories an unkown quantity to sneer at from incoming city-link trains.
Sneer all you want but you wouldn’t be accessing Twitter on your long-haul commute without them.Tags: burton, industry, maltings
Wakefield’s finest are coming to Leeds in the guise of The Hop, the live music and real ale venue of Ossett Brewery’s pub armada. Situated in the Granary Wharf area of Leeds overlooking the reinvigorated quayside, The Hop will sit under two of the previously disused railway arches that are tucked away between the confluence of the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the River Aire. Read the rest of this entry »Tags: brewery, leeds, live music, music, ossett, ossett brewery, Pubs & bars, the hop
Shrouded in uncertainly it’s been a a funny ol’ festive period for Copper Dragon. Since mid December rumours of administration and liquidation have been quietly circulating and the future for Skipton’s growing brewery wasn’t looking bright.
But fresh from the Christmas holidays with their finances restructured Copper Dragon seem to be back on their feet and fighting fit for whatever 2010 can throw at them.
Online business news website The Business Desk and Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus newspaper report that Copper Dragon’s pub business was liquidised in November 2008 throwing the brewery into a turbulent period, during which the administrators were called in on the Friday before Christmas by a high street bank, which is pretty annoying by anyone’s standards. Steve Taylor, the brewery’s founder and MD subsequently took his stake in the company from 75% to 100% after refusing to give up further equity or intellectual property rights.
It’s rarely a good time for a company to go into administration but teetering on the edge of oblivion at Christmas time is particularly unpleasant, with customers looking for mini-pins for parties, pubs filling up for the festivities and staff looking forward to well earned family time. Just getting home in the snow in Yorkshire was bad enough!
So we’re really pleased that it looks like it’s all sorted and that the jobs, brewery, bistro and six of the pubs have been secured, and we look forward to sampling some of the new beers that come out of Skipton’s finest this year.Tags: Copper Dragon, investment, skipton
A nice piece about beer in a tabloid sized newspaper? Surely not.
Ok to be fair it’s this months ‘What’s Brewing’, but I love the story on page 10 about Martin Brunnschweiler.
More than a decade ago Martin went to visit his sister at her pub on the Isle of Man and ended up staying there to set up a brewery called Bushy’s. The paper is a bit hazy on the details (I’m intrigued as to whether he drank the pub dry and then set up because he was thirsty and what he left behind) but I like to think the Martin fell in love with the island, the pub, the atmosphere and the opportunity. His brewery has ties to the nuclear industry (and sounds like it could double up as a bunker should a Dr Strangelove armageddon arise) and the equipment is based on a headache inducing tower arrangement that requires a certain amount of agility from head brewer Curly (yes, Curly!).
The best I can do is that I have on two or more separate occasions walked into a pub and ended up 1) working behind the bar and 2) doing the dishes, but never quite made the leap to brewing.Tags: brewery, bushys, CAMRA, isle of man, Pubs & bars, whats brewing
On the lead up to Christmas me and a few or my more intellectually challenged University mates decided to go for a day out in Nottingham to see if we still had the stamina to managed an ‘all-dayer’. Obviously I knew that the ales were going to merge at some point after lunch and that the details would be difficult to get down. I therefore armed myself with a Cancer Research pen and 2010 Diary and met at the 10am rendezvous, The Bank pub, for beer and breakfast.
The Bank is what I would dub a Weatherspoons rip-off. The breakfast menu was almost identical to Weatherspoons and the range of beers available was similar. I was therefore able to order a pint of Bass to go with my Americano and Large Breakfast. I couldn’t remember whether I’d ever actually had Bass before but I knew that it used to be very popular with my Dad’s friends out of a can. The lightness suited accompanying a large meal and my initial impression was of an relatively sweet toffee flavour but this was tempered by the development of a more peppery body. The existence of these flavours was I think testament to how well the ale was kept and I have since been disappointed when having the same pint at The Wobbly Wheel near Banbury where none of these subtly complex flavours appeared from ‘the same’ pint.Tags: adnams, Ale trail, Bass, bitter, Broadside, Burton Bitter, Castle Rock Brewery, Greene King, Magpie Brewery, mild, nottingham, Nottingham Brewery, Old Hooky, pale, The Bell, The Dragon, The Roebuck
You might have heard of the guy who I managed to draw for the beer swap: Pencil & Spoon’s own New Media Writer of the Year 2009 Mark Dredge. This was a selection of ales to look forward to; a brief glance at his excellent blog shows his good taste and awareness of beers and I had no doubt he would have developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the local market over the year or so of working on his blog.
Kent is his part of the country, and is somewhere I have never been, so it was almost guaranteed that most of these beers I would never have come across.
So here is what I received:
- Westerham Brewery’s Little Scotney IPA (4%)Tags: Beer Swap, east india pale ale, harveys, hopdaemon, IPA, kent, scotney, skrimshander, whitstable
- Harvey’s Star of Eastbourne East India Pale (6.5%)
- Hopdaemon Brewery’s Skrimshander IPA (4.5%)
- Whitstable Brewery’s Raspberry Wheat (5.2%) Read the rest of this entry »
Andy over at Beerreviews.co.uk just posted the first review of the test #beerswap parcel that we exchanged a little while back. In it I packed four fine Oxfordshire (ish) ales including the fantastic Hooky Gold from Hook Norton Brewery.
I didn’t think anything of the Hooky Gold at the time, even admiring it’s shiny green label.
Until last night, when Alan popped over and we were chatting about the blog. We looked over at the original Hooky bottles that used to make up this our blog header, and noticed something odd – there was no Hooky Gold.
But of course there is! Hooky Gold was always in a red label with gold writing. Now the label is green!
When did this occur? How did we not notice?! We don’t mind Hooky, we like the green label, but when and why was it changed?!?!
Does anybody know?Tags: Beer Reviews, Beer Swap, Hook Norton, Hook Norton Brewery, Hooky, hooky gold
It seems so simple, this-setting-up-a-brewery lark.
Walking around the compact, but seemingly organised Leeds Brewery with co-founder Sam Moss, it’s easy to forget that the business has only been in existence for a touch over two years.
Situated on a light industrial estate not far from Leeds’ bustling centre, the brewery is the hub of an expanding local empire that now stretches to three pubs across the town centre as well as the modern and compact Leeds Brewery HQ. The team produces three permanent beers and twelve seasonal beers; one for each calendar month. The beers are on sale across the country and also in Leeds brewery’s three self-owned pubs in Leeds city centre.
Being Leeds residents and big fans of the beers that the brewery makes, we jumped at the chance to take a day off work and visit our very own local brewers. Upon arrival the other half of the management, Michael Brothwell, was busy making an emergency keg delivery in the back of his Ford Fiesta, so it was down to Sam to take us round the modern set up… Read the rest of this entry »Tags: best, brewery, business, leeds, leeds brewery, midnight bell, pale ale, tetleys, West Yorkshire, yorkshire