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
THE LIFE & TIMES OF BRIGHT BEER
Ever wondered why your Polypin of delicious bright beer only lasts a few days?
You’re about to find out…
Lets begin at the FV (fermenting vessel). At this point your beer has already been through a fair few processes, i’ll give you a (very) quick run down of what they are.
– The malt has been milled and added to the Mash Tun, where hot water is added to create the sweet wort (pronounced wert).
– From here it enters the Lauter Tun, a vessel that removes the grain from the liquid.
– Once all the wort has been separated it’s then boiled in the Kettle for varying times, depending on what style of beer is being brewed, hops are added in stages, early additions to add bitterness, late additions for flavour and aroma.
– Here at WBB we have a dual vessel which acts as both Kettle and Whirlpool, so once the boiling is complete, the Whirlpool then gathers all the hop matter.
– Next your beer is cooled, sent to a fermenter and yeast is added.
Woohoo, a beer is born!
Once in the FV, ale is usually fermented for a week and then conditioned for a further week before being racked into cask. You’re left with a firkin of live beer!
When you order draught beer from us, we take the beer from a live cask which as well as mouth-watering beer contains yeast and enough residual sugars to keep the yeast working, this is what creates the natural carbonation. Even when the cask is sealed up, the beer inside is still evolving and continuing to ferment. We don’t filter, pasteurise or add preservatives to our cask beer, so it’s always best enjoyed fresh and at a suitable temp, for bright beer that’s three to five days from delivery/pick up and a temp of 12 degrees celcius.
As we tap the live firkin, the beer inside is exposed to oxygen which if left for too long can cause the beer to spoil, and this is why we highly recommend that you enjoy you’re bright beer within 48 hours and at the absolute maximum of five days.
Real Ale is a delicate, natural, living product that needs love an attention to be enjoyed at its best.
We’ve had so much going on what with the brewery build, we thought we’d just do a quick post with all the info you might need on the new beers lined up for the rest of 2017, because there’s quite a few! So here we go…
First up, available from December – It’s our classic Christmas brew Yule Fuel. Available in bottle 5% and on draught 4.3%. This rich and hearty winter ale is brewed with plenty of caramel sweetness to balance a full berry-fruit hop flavour. It’s the perfect beer for long winter evenings by the fire. If you don’t have an open fire, check out Fireplace For Your Home on Netflix, ok so it’s not quite the same…
Up next we’ve got the long awaited Bounty Hunter 4.8% available in both 500ml bottle and cask. Bounty Hunter is a big full-flavoured milk stout with a rich mouthfeel and smooth finish. Cocoa nibs and toasted coconut flakes add great bitter chocolate and coconut flavours, this is the grown up version of your favourite desert island inspired chocolate bar.
Need another dark wintery beer? You’re in luck! How about a very limited edition Barrel-Aged Tamesis Extra Stout V1 6%? Black as night with golden highlights, this barrel aged stout is a creamy rollercoaster. Its velvety smooth texture and medium bitterness intensify flavours of caramelized dates and roasted coffee beans. After 6 months maturing in bourbon barrels, this beer is slightly on the drier side, with a gratifyingly warm mouthfeel. Available in 500ml bottles, wax sealed for cellaring ease and a limited amount on draught only from our very own Taproom.
Let’s not forget our Renegade product range! If you’re thinking ‘these dark beers are all well and good, but I like an altogether lighter yeasty beverage sir/madam…’ then don’t panic, we’ve got you covered there as well…
It’s hoppy, it’s fruity and you can drink it again and again (crushable, for those that weren’t sure what that meant) It’s India Session Ale! All the flavour punch of a big hitting IPA, without the knee-trembling ABV. Brewed using the finest US hops Mosaic and Citra, this beer provides a smack of tropical fruit with an exceptionally well balanced bitterness. Oats provide a full body to support the intensely hoppy flavour. Available in 300ml can, 330ml bottle and keg.
Into lager but always thinking ‘there’s probably more to beer than this’? Your answer is Vienna Lager 4.8%. Our modern interpretation of a traditional Vienna Lager delivers a complex hop aroma with an equal amount of maltiness. We use toasted malts for a characteristic residual sweetness and add New World hops for a contemporary bitterness. Expect understated sweetness with more than a hint of hops. It melts in your mouth.
Last but not least, if you’re feeling a bit more hard core this Christmas we’ve got Limited Edition Snake Oil DIPA, available in 440ml bottle and keg. Hoppy as hell, masses of stone fruit and over-ripe mango on the nose. Biscuit and crisp bitterness in and around the mouth. At 7.5%, casual merriment is sure to ensue!
You can get all our bottles and cans right here at the brewery, and also order any cask beer in either 9 pint mini kegs, 18 pint mini pins, 36 pint polypins or even 72 pint firkins! We also offer Free Delivery in the local area on a Friday, so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home.
Well I think that’s enough for 2017, ta ta for now!
WBB TAPROOM & KITCHEN
PART-TIME STAFF WANTED
It’s an exciting time for WBB and we are looking for enthusiastic and capable people to join our team.
West Berkshire Brewery are seeking passionate individuals for the launch of our new onsite Taproom and Kitchen.
We’re looking for experienced, friendly & flexible Bar and Floor Staff to join our team.
You must be confident working within all aspects of hospitality, with a friendly, helpful and strong work ethic. Previous experience preferred, but not essential.
We are seeking candidates who:
-Are passionate about great beer
-Will deliver our customers with exceptional service, with clear communication and the ability to build a friendly rapport
-Are fun and friendly with a hard-working, team orientated attitude
-Are able to maintain a safe, hygienic working environment and to be tidy, organised and personable.
An exciting opportunity offering a competitive salary with complete training and bonus potential.
To apply, please send a copy of your CV to
New Brewery Update – We’re Moving!
I know we’ve said it before, but the big move is imminent!
Even for those of us who’ve seen this process through right from the beginning, walking into our new home is absolutely awe inspiring.
From the new shop, bar and kitchen area, with its re-claimed wood and polished concrete floor, to the insanely shiny new brewery kit and packaging line you can view through the huge glass wall from wherever you are in the retail area. Come and relax in the West Berkshire Brewery Taproom & Kitchen, we’ve got everyone covered, from a freshly brewed fairtrade coffee to a hearty Good Old Boy burger. We’ll eventually be opening the bar and kitchen throughout the week and also offering event space alongside our ever popular brewery tours once a month. Look out for news on next years tour dates and the Taproom & Kitchen opening date. There’s still spaces available this year on the November and December tours but book on quickly!
Click on the link below to take a virtual tour around the new shop, Taproom & Kitchen, brewery and packaging line. We can’t wait to show it to you first hand!
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!