Down by the (Thornbridge) Riverside

One of this year's more notable beery happenings has been the opening of a new brewery for Thornbridge. From a compact and bijou setup in a disused stonemason's shed on the Thornbridge estate, the brewers now get to play in a custom-built facility just down the road in Bakewell. Sorting through some of my photos from this year, I found a few that show how the new brewhouse has developed.

Back in July, en route to the Hall for a brewday, Kelly Ryan gave us a sneak preview of the work in progress. The sheer step change from the plant at the Hall to this massively complex setup seemed audacious.

September saw the official opening. The place certainly looked good all scrubbed up - not that unmarked floors were expected to last. Looking down on the fermenters from the "crow's nest" where the brewing would be controlled, I had a gut feeling that Stefano and Kelly were finally getting the setup they'd dreamt about.

I've since been back to help out brewing a batch of Jaipur - as you sit in the control room above the mash tun and copper there's a constant background rattle of machines grinding into life, accompanied by hissing steam, the click-clack of switchgear and the all-too-often alarm as the computerised process demands attention at a critical stage of the brew.

It's all rather different from brewing on 'Old Faithful' back at the Hall:

As there's a little less for a brewer's mate to do nowadays, I caught up with some technical reading and indulged in some industrial photography. Shooting the orange glow of back-lit wort, tubs of hops and spacecraft-like vessels kept me busy.

There are more photos of Thornbridge old and new here along with some from the official opening.