21st August 2013
Our new style 9 pint mini-kegs have arrived and looking great. Available online shop from our shop in Yattendon – only £18.50 filled with Good Old Boy or try our monthly special ‘Isambard’s Steam’d Up’
28th July 2013
Everyone had a great time on the last Brewery Tour, so much so we are now running tours monthly! For available dates and booking visit the online shop or call us on 01635 202968
Delivery Drivers Wanted
BREWERY DELIVERY DRIVER
West Berkshire Brewery are looking for full time dynamic and proactive drivers to join our fast expanding distribution team. As a Brewery Delivery Driver, your job will include delivering beer to our thirsty customers, lifting heavy weights up to 50kg, handling cash and being a great ambassador for the brewery.
Successful candidates will have at last 1 years’ experience of professional delivery driving, a full clean UK driving license and an appetite to achieve.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to join the team, then please send your CV including a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do have a passion for beer? Would you love to sell beer? Is this your dream job?
Then contact us – West Berkshire Brewery is a fast growing company and we are looking to recruit new sales people to join us at the most exciting time in the life of this multi-award winning brewery. We are just about to move into our brand new state-of- the-art £5m brewery. Our plans are to grow our full range of beers including our classic cask range as well as our new Renegade brand. Then we are going to add more and varied beers to our portfolio.
We want people who can take us to the next level. We have roles for sales people in London, Bristol and the Midlands. In addition we are looking for a National Account Manager to look after a growing interest from the big boys. If any of this sounds like you, then get in contact with me directly at email@example.com
West Berkshire Brewery PLC,The Flour Barn, Frilsham Home Farm, Yattendon, Berkshire, RG18 0XT
Brewery Expansion Update
One of the first things you’ll see as you enter the brewery is the Mill Room (above) where we prepare the grain. The platform next to it will be at the same height as the brewing platform. There will also be offices here and a lab on the same level.
The new kitchen! On the right is the pass for the café and the offices/bathrooms/showers are behind.
The Kemtile! This is the flooring throughout the packaging line and brewery. It’s easily cleaned, hygienic and easy to replace if a tile gets cracked! Although you’ll still have to deal with the wrath of Will…
The view from the shop/café. You’ll be able to see barley as far as the eye can see, we’ll make it into beer in the future! Just outside you’ll walk through double doors and out into the beer garden. Plans are looking like we’ll have hop bines growing here to keep with the beery theme.
Gas for the boiler!
The view from the sales office looking
The bricks here (below) are portholes between the retail area and the cellar, where the beer will be racked.
The packaging line (left)! You’d probably be sat on the packaging line to get this view, looking down to the warehouse. Underneath is the view from above the cellar. Looking towards the shop/café.
Equipment starts to arrive on 1st May. It’s all happening so quick and visibly changes every day, we’ll keep you posted!
Expect video evidence of the 30 lorries arriving with all our equipment!
Mild Month & A Short History
Our Maggs’ Magnificent Mild was one of the first brews we did. The story goes that Morrell’s Brewery closed and subsequently stopped producing their Mild, and so Jack Macaulay from The Bell Inn, Aldworth asked Dave Maggs to make one himself. To which Dave replied ‘OK’ and there you have it! Our most award winning ale was named by Jack himself one lunchtime in the taproom of The Bell.
Maggs’ Magnificent Mild – Deliciously dark mild. Full of roast malt flavours coupled with a smooth mouth feel and a gentle sweetness. Almost black in colour. Notes of roast and caramel on the nose. Malty taste with a balanced bitterness. On offer in the shop and online from today and throughout May for Mild Month. £1.50/Bottle – £8/Case of 6 – £15/Case of 12.
Although nowadays we don’t see Mild around much, it’s still got a place within the beer world. When you think of Mild I’m guessing it conjures up images of mature men, perhaps coal miners and working mens’ clubs. You’re right about at least one of those, coal miners and labourers did drink it after a hard days work! Mild originated in Britain back in the 17th Century, or possibly even earlier, as a malty ale. It tended to be a ‘young beer’ or an ale that hadn’t been aged thus it didn’t have that stale tang you found oftentimes. The modern ABV is relatively low, nowadays a Mild is around 3-3.6%, but when it was first brewed it was considerably higher at 5.5-7%. Breweries used to brew three or four different Milds, they would range from strong (XXXX) to weak (X) until the ABV dropped in the late 19th Century during the first world war. At this point in time breweries dropped the ABV of Mild to concentrate on making stronger beer and make more profit (strong beer was exempt from price controls during the war). There was a strong decline in the late 1960’s and Mild nearly disappeared, but a few breweries still made it and still do. It’s becoming more popular again as a style of beer, helped along by Mild Month in May, something that was started by CAMRA.
It doesn’t have to be dark, there’s also light Mild. It’s much the same but lighter in colour, there is somewhat of an overlap between weak bitter and light mild. The classification of a Mild or Bitter changes depending on what people are drinking and what’s in fashion at the time. Modern day Milds have a low gravity (ABV) , are ‘mildly’ hopped, dark and malty. Although they can be lighter in colour and stronger! They can range from a dark amber to almost black, they have a light body, a subdued hop character (although they can also be quite bitter) and a malty, roasty flavour. They may even have a slight toffee/butterscotch flavour (diacetyl) but for this style of beer that isn’t unsuitable.
Food pairings for Dark Mild:
Food Pairings for Light Mild:
Comté/Hard, Nutty Cheese
Mild is something to savour, with a light body and smooth mouth feel, the aromas should bring you malt and roasted barley. The taste could be caramel, malty and/or roasty with a delicate sweetness and possibly a light hoppiness. You’re sure to find something you like, get experimenting today!
Private Brewery Tour
Myself (Marketing assistant Katy) and Head Brewer Will, were lucky enough get a private tour of Pilsner Urquell in Pilsen recently. Will won the tour last year when he brewed Wheaty McWheatface for Imbibe Live. We were absolutely blown away. The passion, history and sheer love of the brewery from the local inhabitants was astounding, and getting to venture into the hand carved cellars and pour our own unfiltered, non-pasteurised pilsner from an oak barrel was definitely a high point. Not to mention all the beer we got to ‘sample’! I’m going to share some images of our adventure, along with some words about the brewery, the beer and Prague itself. I hope you enjoy!
As we exited the car we were immediately hit with the familiar yet different bready waft of malt that you get near a brewhouse, our wonderful guide Eva told us she never gets tired of that smell and I have to agree. There’s something quite comforting about the aroma, almost homely! The understated entrance on the left was constructed in 1892, commemorating 50 years since the beer was first brewed on 5th October 1842. When the impressive gateway was undergoing some recent work, they found a time capsule under one of the stones containing some ‘gossips’ from the late 1800’s. Unfortunately they made little sense in the present day so it was decided to add some from this era and replace it, until someone else uncovers the secret in years to come.
The next leg of the tour is the visitors centre, where you are shown a short but informative video on the history of Pilsner Urquell whilst standing on a revolving floor. Most disconcerting when you end up facing the other side of the room without any physical sign that you’re moving! The first room is full of historical artefacts, from hand written records to the goblets that once held Pilsner Urquell from which influential figures have quaffed. You are allowed a peek into the lab where experimental flavours are created. For example we tried a tasty IPA in one bar, which is only available there! After this we were shown the immense packaging line. It is enormous and mesmerising to watch. It’s so quick and so intricate it’s amazing that everything doesn’t just crash to the floor! The bottles can be re-used a certain amount of times and this is monitored by high tech cameras, if an unsuitable bottle is detected it is removed from the belt. Each bottle is sprayed with water before filling to ensure any impurities are sealed to the glass, away from the beer. This is the same for most of the bars we went into. To make sure the beer is at it’s best, the glasses must be hand washed and then kept wet or spritzed before filling to make sure it is ‘beer clean’. (Note: If you’ve ever noticed a little pocket of bubbles in your glass, your glass isn’t ‘beer clean’).
Floorplan of the Pilsner Urquell packaging line.
Then, the bit we’d really been waiting for…the brewhouse!
After a gentle walk through where the ingredients come from and why Pilsner Urquell is still brewed in the traditional triple decocted style, with direct gas fire heating, you are led into the ‘old’ brewhouse. See Will to the left peering longingly into one of their disused kettles. You can feel the history here, the care and attention that’s gone into years of traditional brewing. It was quite overwhelming and nothing like what I anticipated. Even more overwhelming was getting to see where the beer is brewed now. It.Is.Huge. It looks more like a bath house than a brewery. The sun shining through the massive glass windows straight onto the gleaming copper and spotless white tiles had me in awe. Not to mention that the brewing process hasn’t changed since 1842!
A quick guide to triple decoction mashing: malt goes into the mash tun with water. Portions of the mash are drawn off, heated over open flames and then returned the the mash vessel. As you might have guessed, this is repeated three times in total. The flame is what creates the characteristic caramel sweetness in the beer.
– All of the malt used comes from Czech farms and is steeped, germinated, kiln-dried and ground in the Pilsner Urquell malthouse.
– Only locally sourced Saaz hops are used.
– They use ‘the h-strain’ yeast which is a descendant of the original brew and stainless steel cylindroconical fermenters.
Our favourite place during the tour was definitely the cellars. At one point in time, every household in Plzen was allowed to brew beer. You might think that’s great, but it yields a huge variation in quality! After having to dump 36 barrels of undrinkable beer in 1838, the local residents decided to build a new brewery, a state of the art one, with practises including the production of pale malt. It was then that the tunnels under the brewery were started. After four years, Pilsner Urquell was born, and still uses the same ingredients and methods to this day.
‘Control’ casks are kept in the cellars. Fermented and lagered the original way in resin-coated wooden casks. The sheer amount of work that went into hand carving the 9km of cellars is breath taking. Three generations worked on these tunnels. The only sound you can hear is the gentle drip of water, as the majority of the cellar tunnels are below the water table. It’s a place to ponder. To pour and drink from an original barrel, the unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner in the cellars created by local residents over 100 years ago.
A Few Facts on Pilsner Urquell:
– Pilsner Urquell means ‘Pilsner from the original source’.
– They produce 10.1 million hectolitres/year, 95% of which stays in the Czech Republic!
– There are different ways to drink it, three main ones being Hladinka, Snyt and Mliko.
– The National theatre and the Cathederal gave money to the brewery to help completion, as did the local residents, much the same as modern day crowd-funding!
Places to visit in Prague:
Lokal – Simple food paired with great tasting Pilsner and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. You can’t go wrong here, and if you’re a gent, you really have to check out the bathroom!
Maitrea – Great selection of food, with the usual beer (Pilsner Urquell & Kozel) plus some other more unusual offerings such as Hemp Valley Beer.
U Tri Ruzi – Beautiful beer, you can watch them brewing whilst you sip.
NUBEERBAR – A little out of the way but a great little craft beer bar with nibbles and flights.
Beer Geek – A tram ride away, but worth it for a good selection of craft beers, on tap and bottled. Also try the chicken wings!
U Fleku – If you only visit one place, go here. The oldest brewery in Prague. Simple and traditional. Beer, food, music and atmosphere. What more could you want!
Brewery build update
The build is taking shape! The windows and glass walls are going in and it looks awesome. There’s so much natural light! The wall running parallel to the shop, café, kitchen and offices is almost all glass, looking out onto the beautiful surrounding countryside and beer garden. You’ll also be able to go straight out to the beer garden from the café/shop for summer evening drinks and events. From within the shop/café you will be able to see into the brewhouse and packaging line via another glass wall, so you can check out where all the magic happens (and possibly ogle the brewers if that’s your thing…)
Above right and below left, is the packaging office being built. As you look out of the door (as illustrated by Will and Tom) you will be facing the packaging line and brewhouse. The malt store will be next to the packaging office. There’ll be a mezzanine floor so the enormous tanks can be filled, with a lab for evil experiments and an office for plotting…Not really, the lab is for culturing yeast and fancy beery science experiments and the office is for, well, use as an office.
The above right photo is the view standing in the shop/café. You’re looking down into the kitchen and offices, on the left of this is the brewhouse and packaging line (plus lab and office above).
I hope this gives you a little more insight into where everything is and how far we’ve progressed so far. Things are changing almost daily at the moment so look out for more updates. The Kemtile flooring will start going down in April ready for the equipment installation in May!
Thanks for your continuing support, we can’t wait to show you around the finished brewery!
On Saturday 1st April we will be at the Foinavon Festival at the Compton Swan.
Come and join us for a day of family fun and entertainment with Foinavon Festival Beer brewed by us!
Newbury Racecourse Beer Festival
On April 21st and 22nd our beer will be at the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Weekend at Newbury Racecourse.
Beers available will include:
We have two FREE TICKETS to give away so keep a look out on Twitter and Facebook for more information on how to win those!
If you miss out on these don’t panic, because up until 8th April you can get half price Grandstand Tickets with the code Beer17.
See you there!
CraftBeer Rising 2017
This year at Craft Beer Rising we had an absolute blast, made some new mates and drank some awesome beer.
We commissioned Ali Hamish Campbell to do us an original piece of artwork right there at the show, we gave him full discretion and we weren’t disappointed.
CBR is a great place to meet people and geek out about beer, Will and Tom went to the Goose Island tasting event and had a proper geek out with their brewer Dave, drinking Bourbon County Brand Stout 2016!
Thanks to everyone who played ‘flip cup’ or (when we ran out of cups) ‘bottle flips’ with us! We couldn’t believe how many of you got the bottle flips on the first go! Secret talents… Definitely going to have to come up with a new game for next time, suggestions welcome.
We got to showcase some new recipes!
The Tropic went down a treat, we had people asking for it all weekend! The Snake Oil, Magic Potion and Rye Porter were also popular. It was great to have such a good selection this year including our core range West Coast Pale Ale, Craft Lager and soon to be re-added India Session Ale V2. What would you like us to brew in the future? We’re starting a sour this Friday 3rd March. It will be part of the pilot range, more details to follow.
Thank you so much to everyone who tried our beers, chatted with us about beer, played games with us and generally just enjoyed the weekend with us. Already looking forward to next years shenanigans. Hopefully if you couldn’t make it this year, we will see you next time.
CBR17 Beer List
Just a brief post letting you know what to expect from us at this years Craft Beer Rising. We’re excited to unveil some new recipes, and some that we’ve tweaked for even more deliciousness. As well as our expanding core range, expect a Vienna Lager and a Red Ale in the near future… Enough about that! Here is a list of the beer we will have on and the tasting notes, so you have an idea of what’s going in your mouth.
One of our core range. This uncompromising lager is crisp, refreshing and clean. Lagered for six weeks and loaded with Progress and Fuggles Hops for masses of flavour. Pale gold in colour with a grassy aroma and a gently spiced taste. Best served cool.
This APA is inspired by the great craft beers of the US West Coast. Buttloads of Cascade, Summit, Columbus and Chinook Hops result in a big, fat hop bomb of a beer. Light Copper in colour with a tropical fruit/grapefruit aroma and a bitter/citrus taste. Serve cold.
Our ISA V2 will be part of our core range, we’ve been perfecting the recipe and we think we have it down. All the flavour of a big hitting IPA without the knee-trembling ABV! (4.5%) Brewed with Mosaic and Citra hops, this beer provides a smack of tropical fruit with a well balanced bitterness. Oats provide a full body to support the intensely hoppy flavour.
Snake Oil 7.5% DIPA. Available soon in keg and can but for now we will be taking a pilot batch of it to Craft Beer Rising. Hoppy as hell, masses of stone fruit and over-ripe mango on the nose. Biscuit and crisp bitterness in and around the mouth.
Tropic Like It’s Hot 4.8% Pale Ale. It’s a pineapple explosion in your mouth with coconut undertones thanks to the Sorachi Ace hops. It’s light, fruity and crushable.
Griff’s Magic Potion is a light session IPA full of new world hops Galaxy/Bravo & Waimea. At 3.7% you can keep on drinking it. (I’m aware it says 4.5% over there…ignore that.) Predominate malty flavours using Vienna/Marris Otter malt and Wheat, with subtle hints of fruity flavours to tickle the pallet into submission.
Smoked Rye Porter 5.6%. Does exactly what it says… Roasty caramel malty goodness with a hint of umami.
That’s all of our keg list, but we’ve still got a little more for you! We’re taking the West Coast and Craft Lager in bottles but also some of our pilot range that we only make in small batch. Once it’s gone it’s gone…unless we make more, which could happen.
Red Eye PA 5.8%. Our collaboration with Farmageddon created this hoppy Red IPA. It’s packed with Columbus, Galaxy and Centennial hops. The aroma starts with burnt orange and passionfruit followed by sweet malt flavours and a dry resinous finish. This beer collaboration started with a bromance at last years CBR! We popped on over to Northern Ireland, ‘tested’ many brews, had a lot of fun and ended up brewing this full-on beer which then went on to win Best Beer of Ireland at Belfast Beer Fest!
Spartacus Pale Ale 5.1%. This started as homebrew recipe and has evolved from there. It’s the perfect mix of tradition and progression. A new world twist on a classic ESB. Expect a ‘darker’ pale ale and a full malt flavour with new world hops creeping in for that fruity floral punch in the mouth.
Terry Couldn’t Handle This is a 5.1% Chocolate Orange Milk Stout. This was a bit of an experiment and had us worried for a time but it turned out great! It’s sweet, dark and full of body with hints of chocolate and orange. We used Marmalade, cocoa nibs and orange zest in the brew.
Once in a Blue Moon was brewed on Christmas day! A 4.8% blueberry IPA made with Mosaic/Vic Secret hops and real blueberries. (one made it’s way into a bottle, if you find it you’re the winner! Of a blueberry…) It’s piney, fruity, bitter and hoppy.
Hopefully we’ll see you there! Tickets still available.