Been far too blimmin’ long between posts to be honest. Might be something to do with the madness of commissioning a new brewery. Maybe, just maybe.
Thornbridge Riverside Brewery is up and running (and you can read about the opening day on Mark Dredge’s blog). In fact, as I type this now, I can hear our awesome external calandria thermosiphon boiler drawing hot Saint Petersburg wort through it in preparation for a good blast of delicious light muscovado sugar. Believe it or not, this delicious brew isn’t even going to be served at a pub near you. In fact the whole shipment is destined for Christmas Puddings!! How’s that for an ingredient!!
Today is our 15th brew on the new plant and I’m manning the helm without Stef, who is taking a well-deserved break in Italy. However, I have our newest recruit, JK ably assisting me and Matt and Dave are working hard at the Hall Brewery brewing a Wild Swan and racking Kipling.
So far, things have been all about learning, learning and more learning and with our centrifuge commissioned just last week, the next job is the commissioning of our bottling line!
Other cool happenings over the last couple of months have included two medals at the Great British Beer Festival. Kipling, our 5.2% South Pacific Pale Ale picked up a Silver in the Strong Bitter section (which Jaipur won last year) and Lord Marples (at 4.0%) picked up a Bronze in the Best Bitter section. We were absolutely stoked with the awards, especially considering it’s the first award that Marples has ever won!! Both of these beers have been labours of love and we have all been working hard on getting them just right over the last couple of years, so are like proud parents!
Just as exciting is the World Beer Award that we picked up with our bottle refermented Halcyon Green Hop Vintage 2008. This won the World’s Best Harvest Ale at this years competition (and before you ask, no, I wasn’t judging in that category) and Bracia, our Chestnut Honey infused Dark Ale got a Highly Commended in the World’s Best Spiced Beer category. Quite happy it wasn’t put into the Honey Beer category as we would have been up against Jeff Rosenmeier’s Lovibonds Gold Reserve Wheat Wine, which is a brilliant drop.
The Halcyon Green Hop Vintage 2009 will hopefully be completed in the coming months. We have already brewed the beer and are waiting for a massive shipment of fresh hops that we can age it on ready for bottling. I can’t give you any dates though, as we have to get the bottling line working before then!
Also, for anyone out there that’s after a great book, I can throughly recommend Ben Mcfarland’s World’s Best Beers. I just got it online and it’s fantastic (yeah, yeah, Thornbridge made it in there…). Brilliant, perfect and nonrepetitive descriptions of some amazing beers, great format, wonderful photos and some cool guest articles. I especially liked the breakdown of beer and food matching by the experts at El Bulli, really interesting to get the world’s greatest to give their views.
Anyway, back to the brew, almost time for the wort to weave it’s way through the massive pile of hops that are sitting in the hopback, thieved of all their precious jewels of lupulin. I promise some videos and photos will be here soon!