Posts by: jamesb


Having a Break

No, I’m not stepping back from brewing. For those of you who weren’t already aware (and those who were – many thanks for the weeks of p*ss-taking) the week after the madness of North Wales Beer Festival I ended up coming off my bike and breaking three ribs. I could barely breathe without swearing for a month. Now as I’m basically a one man band (with a little help from Nicky) there was absolutely no way I could brew and I didn’t really want to put my beers in the hands of someone, however enthusiastic, didn’t know their way around my kit. Anyway, time is a great healer and a month ago I finally managed to get a brew on. This was Induction, a 3.5% “Session IPA”*. I wanted to see if I could get a decent body in a beer of such low alcohol and also pack it full of flavour. I finally got to taste it in the pub last weekend and I think we’ll call that a success shall we? Meanwhile, while Induction was conditioning, I managed to come off my bike again and break my collarbone. Life has such a sense of humour. Another month off. Grrr. Thankfully, although still sore and not quite up to my usual mobile self I’m finally back to brewing and chomping at the bit to get a load of beers on the go. Last Sunday, I manged to do something that we’ve been talking about on and off for months. With the help of Pene Coles, we’ve re-created her Taid’s Garden recipe. This beer was a perennial favourite of mine while getting to know the beer in the area and it was sorely missed by me and many other people when Pene closed Jolly Brewer 5 years ago. Delicate...

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I have a problem.

I have a problem. About 5pm on Saturday I was wandering through town. I’d just been to the butcher for a slab of belly pork the size of a teenager’s head which I was looking forward to eating after slow cooking all day Sunday while I was out brewing. I’d also bought a bag of coffee, Blue Sumatra, a medium but full bodied coffee that I drink every morning during the week to somehow mitigate the monotonous tedium of sitting behind a computer for 9 hours a day. I decided to go for a pint. I walked up to the Royal Oak, my usual haunt when I’m in town. Four Joules ale and an ever rotating guest wicket of a local beer – usually mine, Brimstage, Offbeat or Salopian. The lads had just come back from watching the football at the Racecourse and were in a bit of a raucous mood. I fancied a quieter pint to carried on past. I thought I’d do something different and go to the Golden Glow. It’s located on a street I never really have an excuse to go down. It’s nestled between a shop that sells domestic appliance spares and a shop run by an old dear who sells everything you could possibly want for knitting. The neighbours are shops that sell roll ends of carpet, a greasy spoon that doesn’t do a particularly good breakfast, a bookies and shops that seem to change every time I happen to go down. The Golden Glow is a rare outpost of Holden’s Brewery from the Black Country and named after one of its brews. The pub matches the rest of the street, a little worn out and has definitely seen better days. The Holden’s signature green paint flaking from the sign, the usual story...

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First Brew is underway!

Well May the 4th came and went but July the 6th will be as memorable for other reasons. After months of wrangling with various authorities we finally got the go ahead to start brewing. After a long and tiring day of minor problems (slight re-design of the kit is in order I think) we have 2.5bbl of New Dawn in the fermentation vessel. This isn’t a full size batch but I’d like to see how it turns out before doing a larger one and I’m sure the recipe may need tweaking to get it to it’s very best. The first brew on any kit that you’re not familiar with is always a bit nerve wracking. Did I sanitise that part? Did I remember to do this? Shit, why did that hose blow off? ARGH, why’s that leaking. Is that tank clean enough? The usual. Anyway, 400l of hoppy gorgeousness is currently fermenting away. First sips (by me) will commence shortly. Assuming everything goes well there will be a cask heading out slightly earlier than I’d like to a certain beer festival in Birmingham. I’ll update you all on that when if it happens. Cheers!

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Progress Update

YES, it’s been going on ages hasn’t it? But that’s what happens when you have a full time job and a budget just slightly smaller than a lunch on expenses for your average MP. But here’s what’s happened. For those in the know, it’s the building next door to Sandstone Brewery. I’m nothing but a little cheeky. This had the advantages that I already know the landlord and the services and it’s only ten minutes from the house. And the brewery kit was in storage in a shipping container on the same site. With a bit of gentle persuasion (or watching me struggle pathetically with the communal pallet truck) the storage site owner jumped into action with the forklift (Cheers Richard). A visiting wagon driver was bribed with beer to pick up the extremely heavy old milk tank from my garage and help me lug it inside. This is the same tank that almost broke the Blueball Brewery van when we picked it up from a farm in deepest Shropshire (Cheers Alex). Once safely in we then had to demolish the existing office and prepare the unit for a brewery.  First in was the most important thing – the floor drain. Four days of backbreaking work on extremely old and thick concrete. Thank Deus for power tools. Next up was to build a cold room. Despite arguments on the contrary from fellow brewers I won’t name that consider a coldroom a novelty and not a necessity; experience has taught me differently. Then the most expensive outlay of them all – CASKS. The colours even match the unit. We came across the talented Matt Jeffs who helped us out with our logo, branding and pumpclips. If you need anything doing then he comes highly recommended. He can put up with...

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The death of a local

Sad isn’t it?    

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Hello world!

Welcome to our new website. Although we’re still working hard to get the brewery up and running (not to mention the mountains of paperwork that even a small operation like this needs to complete in order to open and run) we’re still busy brewing test batchs on the pilot kit. But not only that. Back at the end of February James took some time out to travel down to Pontyclun, the home of Pixie Spring and Hopcraft Breweries to brew up a collaboration beer with them and Art Brew. Having spent extensive time communicating via e-mails, texts and carrier pigeon [1] both John and I arrived early and waited for the boys to arrive. Eventually they turned up and we made a Black Belgian IPA coming in at a very sessionable 6.0%. The beer is doing the rounds at the moment. If you’re local to us then it should be available at Kash very soon. Here’s what to look out for: And here’s a gratuitious photo of James digging out the mash tun.   You can read Gazza’s write up of it all over on his blog –     Cheers.   [1] Might not be entirely true. We sort of winged it on the day.

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