Brewing up with Brewsters

I like hanging around breweries. I like chatting to brewers about industrial process, science, recipe formulation and marketing. And I'm more than happy to drink beer whilst chewing on a piece of pork pie. So that's how I found myself on a train to Grantham, goggling out the window at the Vale of Belvoir and the castle on the horizon, to go and spend a day with the merry bunch at Brewsters.

Sara Barton and her team have been producing cask, keg and unfiltered bottled beers since 1998. Originally based in Stathern, Leicestershire, they now brew up the road in Grantham on a ten-barrel plant once used by the Finch & Firkin brewpub in Liverpool.

On the schedule was another batch of beer bound eventually for a major pub chain's beer festival. With ideal timing, I arrived just in time for a mug of tea and a bacon cob. Which leads me onto this point of clarity - I wasn't there to brew a beer. I didn't formulate the recipe, calculate the amount of malt and hops required, connect and disconnect pipes and clean and clean and clean. I won't be around to check the fermentation, nor to rack it into casks.

I was there to be a brewer's sidekick. To do those stints of manual labour that allow someone with brewing skill to be useful elsewhere. In this case it's their Head Brewer Richard Chamberlain who demanded that I come help him brew said he'd put up with me hanging around the brewery as long as I got my hands dirty.

Dirty? I can do that.

So, Here's What Scooper Did:

- stabbed a bag of Galaxy hops with a screwdriver to break them up

- stuffed my hands into bags of hops for a lupulin manicure

- raked out the mash tun

- made my paunch look even sexier than usual by donning a rubber apron whilst cleaning out the copper

- drank aged Porter with mackerel pâté sandwiches and a chunk of pork pie

- watched Rich do a bit more cleaning...

- whilst I drank his Pale Ale straight from the fermenter

How will the day's beer turn out? Well, the wort tasted good and there's all the signs that the finished product will turn out to be the 4.8% tropical fruity wonder that was planned. 

In the meantime, if you ever happen to be anywhere near the village of Granby in Lincolnshire call into the Marquis of Granby pub. I'm not saying the Brewster's Hophead in there is great, but I'd put it in my top one of Hophead experiences.

Many thanks to Sara, Sean and Rich The Beer Pimp for a great day. 

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to go to the marquis when I was down in barnstone a few weeks ago, but time was against me (4pm opening...)! (so I went to colston bassett for stilton, a bottled beer shop and the York Tap instead)