There might have been more straight forward ways of launching and putting our first beers on the bars, but they probably wouldn’t have been half as fun as the week and a half we’ve just had.
First and foremost, I’d like to thank James Campbell, our head brewer, for getting us going with a great selection of beer. Whilst he’d admit we didn’t quite hit every nail as squarely on the head as we’d like, we have made some really good beer, and we’ve made a start that we’re all very happy with and immensely proud of. We asked a lot of ourselves to turn our empty warehouse into a high spec working brewery in the three months from November to February, and even more to make as much beer as well as we managed to in a month before we set out on our launch event tour.
The rest of the team, Al Wall, Will France, and Emma Cole have worked with poise, dedication, and flexibility in getting us organised and transformed from plan to reality. It’s been a pleasure so far!
Will and Dean on the bar at Brewdog Shepherds Bush
The support we’ve had from our friends and peers in the industry has been fantastic. Dean Pugh, manager of Brewdog Shepherd's Bush, was the first in line to show us a load of support and book an event, offering us as many taps as we could fill. Dean runs one of the best beer bars in the country, and arguably the best in London, so his early backing has been very, very much appreciated! We can’t wait to go back to BDSB at some point for another (hopefully rather more comprehensive) takeover!
James Moffat and Duncan Sime worked closely with us to plan out our tap takeover and ‘Meet The Brewery’ in Manchester, offering up the early evening before Port Street Beer House’s first ever Monday night opening. The fun we had welcoming people into our brewery has made us even more excited that it’s only a week and a half until we open our brewery tap (more on that tomorrow).
Then Chris Mair, of The Hanging Bat and New Wave, who’s enthusiastic and positive support we’ve been very grateful for, broke the mould by turning our tap takeover into a Meet The Brewer (only a week or so before a Burning Sky MTB). We thoroughly enjoyed his generous hospitality, and talking through our beers and a little about our brewery and ethos in fine company at The Hanging Bat.
Our next stop in the tour took us to The Free Trade Inn and the warm welcome of one of the nicest bar keepers you could meet, Mick Potts. We hung out in a pub I dearly love, and had the pleasure of meeting a few local beer lovers over a glass of our beer.
Last Thursday night at Brewdog Shepherds Bush was very cool indeed. We hung out, Will took a few minutes of everyone’s time standing on the bar to introduce ourselves, and we all enjoyed a very fun evening in the company of friends old and new.
Sarah Bish of The Evening Star in Brighton, in the midst of a local beer festival, and on a busy Friday night, handed over some of her taps to some of our Spring beers. In the midst her small and bustling bar, we had a great time hanging out, talking to folk about our beer, and soaking up the atmosphere.
Our last stop in London with cellar master extraordinaire Marcus Grant at The Wenlock Arms, where our cask beers were served in superb condition, in a beautiful yet pretty unassuming cask lead pub stocked end to end with great beers, and filled with the fantastic atmosphere only a much loved local boozer can produce.
Last night marked the end of our tour with a wonderful reception from Bruce Gray at Bristol's Small Bar, and an evening of beer tasting and conversation with a fine crowd of beer lovers. We really couldn't think of a nicer way to round out a superb tour!
Now we’re heading back to Manchester I thought I’d share our Spring brochure for those of you that missed it at one of our launch events.
If you’ve not managed to try our Bergamot Hopfenweisse I’ve got some good news – we have a small number of kegs available for dispatch next week, but the bad news is that’s it. Once it’s gone we won’t be able to make it again until next year, such is the joy of working with ingredients that come and go. It’s the beer we’re most happy with, so I hope you get to try it.
Another limited edition beer (a style that we won’t remake for release until Winter this year), but this time one that we only put into kegs as a non-aged preview for our launch events, is our Spring Imperial Stout. Kegged with exactly the same beer that went into an Ardbeg barrel for the winter, it is remarkably drinkable for its strength. It’s not quite as conditioned and may not quite be as full bodied as an Imperial Stout we’d prepare for keg for winter, but it gave any of you that caught it (if you're quick you might still find it) an opportunity to try it before the rest of it spends what might be up to 9 months in wood.
The other two Spring beers that feature malt and yeast over hops are our Table Beer, a quaffable session ale made with Saison yeast, lemon and juniper berries, and our Citrus Gose, dialled right back on the lactic acid and salt to let the seven citrus fruit aromas and flavours through. It looks like we might not get to make another gose this Spring, and that the Table beer may get a different yeast next time, so try these easy drinking ales while you can.
The rest of our Spring line up, from the lightest Pennine Light (a light, traditional Yorkshire Mild) through to our IPA are a range of hoppy beers that gain in aroma, and flavour as they gain in strength, and are immensely quaffable, a little dry, balanced, yet with robust bitterness on the finish. They all feature fresh harvest hops throughout. We really hope you like them!
James and Al leading the second of the Meet The Brewery tours
The feedback we’ve had directly, and indirectly has been great. We’re only thirteen brews in, on brand new kit that has presented us with some expected difficulties, and many surprises too. There’s a lot work to be done to refine both recipe and processes, but we’re happy to have made a good start, and to have had such a good reception! Thanks again to every one of you that came out to one of our events. We hope you had as much fun as we did!
If we get our way, we’ll make a great contribution to British beer, so thank you very much for the kind words, enthusiasm, and your considered, constructive criticism. The best thing about working in this industry are the many lovely people, such as many of the fine folk we've met this last week and a half, that go out of their way to share their knowledge, enthusiasm, positivity, and support – it’s what gives us all the strength and energy to keep pushing forwards, and work hard to match the efforts of those we look up to and respect.