Real Brewers – Ben from Rivington Brew Co – Shall I compare thee to a foggy day?

Rivvy (Rivington Brewing Co) ‘Never known Fog Like It’ is a bit of a phenomenon on our farmers’ market stall. We pour samples for our customers on a regular basis. The most common reaction goes something like this.

Customer: – ‘What is that? – It looks… (wrinkled face)’

Us: – ‘Foggy? – Give it a smell’

Customer – ‘Crikey (or insert your own expletive). It smells….er (puzzled face)

Us – ‘Full on? – Give it a taste’

Customer: ‘Whooah – That’s amazing. It tastes er….(shocked, happy face)

Us – ‘We know!! – How many would you like?’

Customer ‘Give us 6. Will you be here next month?

(One month later)

Us: Morning. Good to see you. How are things?

Customer: ‘Never mind all that…have you got any more of that Fog?’

We have pretty much had everything Rivvy have bottled on our stall and enjoyed every one. Consequently,  we have been up to visit Ben at Rivington Brewing Co quite a bit and he has been very generous with his advice and time. When we did our first 5 cask run of Holy Citra, Ben added it to his mailing list and it went out straight away and was a great help.

Our customers like to stop for a chat and find out about the people behind the beers they buy and so here we go with the first in our series of real brewers

Real Brewers – Ben from Rivington Brew Co.

Holy Well Brewing (HWB) – Hi Ben – We come across to see you so often that it seemed high time that we caught up and asked a few questions so that our customers can get to know you a bit better. Lets’ get the kit bit out of the way first. What size kit are you on?

Ben – Currently brewing on a 2.5bbl kit – planning to move to a 6bbl in the next year to 18 months.

HWB – What did you brew your first commercial beer on?

Ben – Little 1.5bbl – it got maxed out pretty quickly!

HWB – If you could have one bit of kit next, what would it be?

Ben – Whirlpool & Hop Gun.  We will definitely be getting a Whirlpool on the next kit, will have to see about a Hop Gun.

HWB – And…do you have one small bit of kit that has been with you from the start that you couldn’t do without?

Ben – PH reader and Refractometer

HWB – How has the amount of time that you spend in the brewery morphed over the years?

Ben – Still do it alongside a day job, however that will reduce in hours until I go full time at the start of next year.  Currently taking up a lot more time, even just admin, ordering, delivering, duty etc. so definitely need the extra time!

HWB – What does a typical week for you now look like?

Ben – Typically the week and evenings are for admin and deliveries, try and brew on Friday and/or Saturdays, but fairly varied based on what needs doing!

HWB – How do you and Mick divide your time?

Ben – Mick farms full time so tries to get involved on brewdays, and well help kegging in evenings etc.  I do the brewing, deliveries, admin etc. hence me reducing my hours to spend more time on the brewery!

HWB – What bit of the process makes you tick? What gets you out of bed on a cold, morning?

Ben – Seeking to improve every beer every time we brew it, new or existing.  New styles, more understanding, and good customer feedback – it will never get tiring seeing someone enjoy our beer!

HWB – Our friend Hannah has just had a few bottles. She loves your labels. How do they come about?

Ben – Majority are very last minute.  There is no real recurring theme, just what we think of just before the deadline!

HWB – Tell us about the first commercial pint you had pulled? Where, what, who was with you? How did you feel?

Ben – First bottles sold were at Barrica Wines for a tasting event.  I was away so Mick did it.  A lot of worry about feedback, what they were like etc. but real pride in people picking up the beers!

HWB – We love your tag line ‘Best served cold and enjoyed with pals. We agree. Beer is a social drink. Do you have a person or type of customer in mind when you brew?

Ben – We want to make our beer accessible to all – however it is usually the modern progressive beer audience that enjoys our beers.  That being said we’re increasingly seeing all walks of people drinking our beer that we wouldn’t have expected.

HWB – I am pretty sure that you don’t fine your beers. Tell us about that.

Ben – From the start we didn’t want to fine – we loved the flavour of the likes of The Kernel when we first started out, and didn’t want to follow “the norm” in terms of fining locally – its great to see it become more accepted.

HWB – Out there in the beer world, do you have a current brewery/beer/styles that you look at and think ‘Wow’.

Ben – The quality and innovation of the Northern Scene really inspires us – the way Cloudwater have changed the scene and the recognition they have got, Northern Monk and Magic Rock, Track in Manchester are making some amazing stuff, Chorlton’s Sours continue to be spectacular, the variety and quality that Torrside brew.

Further a field the work and styles Little Earth Project are creating is amazing.

After doing a lot of pales, we really want to work on our Saisons and Mixed Ferm beers, the beers that Burning Sky create in the UK are absolutely amazing, and then abroad Fonta Flora and Forest & Main have absolutely blown our minds in terms of taste, drinkability, quality – breweries we want to aspire to!

HWB – You love a collaboration – Any that stick in the mind…any coming up?

Ben – The first with Torrside was brill and interesting, Beatnikz was great despite brewery breakdowns, James at Brewsmith was fantastic to see his attention to detail.

We’re due to brew with First Class, Torrside again and Jim from Beers Manchester.

In May we’re lucky enough to go to Portugal to brew with Dois Corvos for Manchester Beer Week!

HWB – We get lots of requests for ‘Fog’. It is a bit special. We now compare other beers against it as a benchmark. How did it come about?

Ben – When Magic Rock and Cloudwater first brought out New England/DDH style beers in Autumn 2016 they blew us away and we wanted to do one.  Did some research, and brewed us Fog!

HWB – Tap Beneath the Trees sounds awesome. What do have planned for this year?

5 dates this year:

5/6th May

26/27th May

16/17th June

14/15th July

25/26th August

Got some incredible street food, more beers, collabs – can’t wait!

HWB – Any plans for the brewery over the coming months or years that you can share?

Ben – A bigger brewery within 18 months!  More capacity on the current kit, permanent Tap Room and some Saison and Mixed Ferms!

Thanks for spending time answering our questions, Ben. We will be over for Tap Beneath the Trees. – Chris & Phil 

Keep an eye out for more Rivvy beers on our stall and you can find out more about Rivington Brewing Co at the website here and follow them on twitter here.

Cast Iron Roasted Coffee

I am still on my journey to learn more about coffee and received the second bag chosen by the Coffee Roasters through my letterbox. This was a gift from my children for my last birthday. I love it. The gift that keeps on giving.

I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I saw that it was another Ethiopian Yirgacheffe but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is delicious.

The Roaster – Cast Iron Coffee Roasters (Sussex)

Cast Iron facts:

  • Family run business operating out a Sussex workshop producing high quality speciality coffee
  • Output is seasonal and therefore they use beans from producers from around the globe.
  • Aim to get coffee to customers mail order within 3 days of ordering. Roast date is stamped on the bag.
  • Philosophy based on showcasing each bean to provide a coffee that is true to its style.

The Coffee – Rocko Mountain Yirgacheffe – Ethiopia

I had been expecting something similar to the last Yirgacheffe that I tried but this was far from what I found. A little group of us stood round in the staff room at work with a small cup each. Strawberry jam was the overriding impression we got. Uncanny.

  • Natural pressed coffee coming from smallholders based around Rocko Mountain in Harwich Worada, Yirgacheffe.
  • It is an heirloom varietal. A bit of a catch all for the thousands of cross pollinated varietals found in Ethiopia. Delicious.
  • This is the 3rd year that Cast iron have produced this coffee and it is one of their favourites.
  • Cast Iron say that it is like a strawberry starburst sweet. I thought that it tastes like a strawberry cream chocolate from a box of milk tray.
  • All in all, a really pleasant drink to keep going back to.

This made me want to get more from Cast iron. They do have a subscription service but for now I am going to let the Coffee Roasters continue my education. Looking forward to the next one.


Away day to Winsford

My second away trip of the football season saw me following Darwen AFC  away to Winsford in the North West Counties League. My first ever visit to Winsford which lies an hour or so away down to M6.

The Pub – The Red Lion (1 Wharton Road CW73AA)

I had checked Untappd to find a pub or two in Winford where I might find interesting, local beer and The Red Lion didn’t disappoint.

It had beers on from 3 Cheshire Breweries including Front Row and Bear Town from nearby Congleton. There was a mix of regulars on stools at the bar and folk stopping off to eat. There was a family inside playing boardgames. A pleasant hubbub without feeling cramped. I sat outside on the terrace overlooking the River Weaver.

A good place to while away half an hour with a good book and a beer. I would have no hesitation in returning here.

The Beer – Pause (Chocolate Stout from Front Row Brewing, Congleton)

Difficult choice. To go for the Bear Town Pale or the Pause Stout from Front Row. Both made locally in Congleton. I plumped for the stout as we have our own Big Bertha stout out in a couple of pubs at the moment and like to keep abreast and compare things. Front Row began in 2012 and Pause is their 4.5% Stout and one of their original 4 beers.

It poured with a superb head and I made my way outside to sit overlooking the River Weaver. It was canalised very early and was the inspiration for Lord Bridgewater. A good place to sit. The Pause was quaffable and soon slipped down. I could easily have stayed for another but I was determined to head off into Winsford and find something to eat.

The Pie – Home made Steak Pie (JD Finney & Sons 232 High Street CW72AU)

I turned right out of the Red Lion, crossed the river Weaver and headed up the hill towards Winford looking for a pie. I couldn’t believe my luck.

I passed JD Finney & Sons chippy with a big sign in the window advertising their home made pies. It was the custard tarts that caught my eye and I bought a large one for later.

I had a chat with the woman behind the counter. They are rightly proud of their traditional pies and I grabbed a steak pie to eat on my way up to the ground.

The Ground  St. Luke’s Barton Stadium (off Kingsway, Winsford)

A few minute way to the Barton Stadium. First impressions is that ground is big and wide. Probably harking back to the days when it also had a greyhound track.

Winford started life as Over Wanderers in 1883 playing in the Welsh Combination. After financial difficulties, the club reformed around the time of the first world war. The ground is named after chairman R.G. Barton who led them through that period as they became a founder member of the Cheshire League.

I was straight into Deb’s cafe for chips and a cup of tea. £2.50 well spent. Then over to the far side of the ground to settle in amongst the crowd behind the dug outs.

The banter was good, pretty clean fun. Mostly centred around our manager’s enthusiasm for the game. Game ended 2:0 to Winsford.

Next up: Trips to Glasshoughton Welfare and Runcorn Linnets

Artisan Roast – Edinburgh

As we up our production a little (to a mighty 10 firkins a month!), it seemed prudent to meet regularly and plan the things we have coming up. It gives us a chance to stop once in a while and make best use of our time.

It seems obvious but when time is limited, it is too easy to just get sucked into the ‘doing’ without a schedule or a plan. It can lead to drift and we know from experience that we do much better when we stop and get a pad out now and again.

Enter our monthly ‘bored’ meeting. No beer allowed. We do need a pick me up to get us through though. Coffee and whisky seemed to be in order.

My children bought me a coffee subscription recently. Having been through lots, they settled on the Coffee Roaster’s service because each month the coffee came from a different roster around the country. They know that as well as wanting to try something new, it is hearing the stories of small artisan producers that makes me tick.

So here is the coffee from official meeting number 1.

Artisan Roast (Edinburgh) Trigonomtry Blend


  • Made from blend of 50% Yirgacheffe washed (Ethiopia), 30% Yirgacheffe natural and 20% Irmas Pereira (Brazil)
  • The Yirgacheffe is grown between 1700 to 2200m and is considered the best high grown coffee in Ethiopia.
  • These are SHG (Strictly High Grown) coffees as they grow slowly due to altitude. This allows longer period for flavour to develop.
  • Yirgacheffe’s have a bright acidity, clean tastes with floral aroma.
  • Yirgacheffe is considered to be the birthplace of coffee. Arabica grow best in climates similar to Ethiopia.
  • Imas Pereira is in the Mantiqueira Hills named after the Pereira sisters.
  • Natural process leads to a complexity in sweetness, heavier body, deep flavours whereas a wet process is cleaner, higher in body and more crisp.
  • Artisan Roast are in Edinburgh and Glasgow and were the first coffee sent through by The Coffee Roasters to perk up our ‘Bored’ meeting.

You can read more about Artisan Roast here.

Our coffee subscription is through the Coffee Roasters. You can find out more here. 

Barngates Brewery

I have been gradually ticking off the Wainwrights over the years (The Lakeland peaks not the beer) and Black Fell was next on the list. It was opportune that one way of ascending begins from The Drunken Duck. I have been aware of the Drunken Duck for years but somehow have never visited so this seemed like too good a chance to miss.

After a quick climb to the summit, I settled down outside the Duck and watched the world go by for a little while.

I was introduced to John who brews at the attached Barngates Brewery and immediately got brewery envy. He was just about to start digging out the mash tun so was glad of the chance for a chat. He was really generous with his time and I learnt a lot.

5 Barngate facts:

  • John has been brewing about 20 years and began on a 100 litre kit. A little like us. We have some way to go!
  • He regularly brews 6 cask ales and 3 keg. You can get then all on the bar at the Drunken Duck.
  • John had just got back from the Great British Beer festival where The Red Bull Terrier had just won Silver. Top job.
  • The success of the Goodhew Stout (very good) has meant that the Guinness has now been removed from bar.
  • The Drunken Duck is a good place to begin the walk up Black Fell. You can get a bit of guidance from the bar. Head down the Skelwith road for 6 minutes and turn left at the gate.

You can find out more at the Barngates website here and the Drunken Duck website here. 

Mr Duffin’s Coffee

The wonders of coffee are still new to me but I am loving it. Wherever I get the chance, I pick up a bag and Mr Duffin’s has already become a favourite place to stop on my way in and out of the Lake District. I now combine it with a trip to the More Artisan Bakery. A day to the Lakes seems a bit incomplete without.

I have been stopping off at the Mill Yard in Staveley for years. First for the excellent Wilf’s cafe and then for the Hawkshead Brewery and More. Mr Duffin’s is now on that list. The Coffee Den sits on the main street just as you enter the Mill Yard and is well worth a visit.

I picked up a bag of’Juicy’ Gossip’ and they were ground for me ready to bring home.

  • Artisan Coffee roaster Steven and his 15kg Giessan coffee roaster can be found in the Coffee Den shop on the main Street In Staveley.
  • Steven produces single origin coffees and some blends of his own.
  • Pick a bag of whole beans and they will grind them there and then for you to take home.
  • Steven (Mr Duffin) uses 100% Arabica Speciality Coffee Beans.
  • Steven used reputable importers who work directly with the farmers to reward them for their high quality coffee production.

I chose a bag of whole bean ‘Juicy Gossip’ and had it ground for French Press. I use a French press when sharing coffee at work and an Aeropress at home.

  • Juicy Gossip is a medium bodied blend of Peruvian, Brazilian and Rwandan beans.
  • I drunk it black and will not pretend that I am skilled enough to provide a meaningful review. This is all about a learning process with me at the moment. It was smooth and I could imagine it becoming a go to coffee. I think that is the idea of blending. To produce something well balanced and moreish.
  • Tunki Beans (Peru) – Named after a bird from the Peruvian Andes. Located in the South East of Peru on border with Bolivia. Farmers are members of Aymara and Chechua Tribes and are all cooperative members. Tunki has a velvety chocolate texture with nutty flavours and hint of lime acidity. Grown at 1300-1800m
  • Fazenda Pantano (Brazil) From a farm which is hailed as Brazil’s most sustainable farm run by Wagner Ferrero. Pulped natural, yellow bourbon. 1100m in the Cerrado Minas. Certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Chocolate, Malty, nutty.
  • Nyungwe (Rwanda) – High altitude coffee. Big bold flavours that goes with milk. Nyungwe is also the name of a washing station owned by the Rwandan Trading company sitting at about 1700m

You can find out more about Mr Duffin’s Coffee at the website here. It is well worth the slight detour into Staveley. 

Caldera Coffee

Caldera Coffee from Much Hoole, Preston. 

It is a great pleasure to get to know the other traders at the farmers’ markets we travel around. We have been doing Hoghton Tower since the beginning and feel like it is our home market.

I am developing my appreciation of good coffee and it was good to meet Dan from Caldera Coffee at Hoghton last month.

Dan’s journey was similar to ours. It started with a gradual appreciation of high street coffee, followed by an awakening of how good coffee can be when produced by someone with care an attention. He was easy to spot with his coffee grinder and coffee bean sacks.

Following a bike crash, Dan had time on his hands and began roasting his own coffee using beans from local importers. A caldera is the larger void created when a volcano collapses in on itself. Dan likened it to the void in his pocket once he began roasting. We know the feeling.

I believe beer is for sharing and using as the start of a conversation. Good coffee should be the same. I was looking for something to take to work and share with a couple of blokes during the week. We stand around in the staffroom, sniffing and sipping. It starts a chat and we spend most of the time grinning.

I took with me a Columbian Cenoic and a Malawi. Both ground and suitable for a french press. We spent a bit of time chewing over the various techniques when using an Aeropress (the kids bought me one for christmas). Good to talk to someone who knows their business.

The Columbian was robust enough to handle me adding a drop of milk without losing its flavour (sacrilege according to the other two).

The Malawi suited a little milk to bring out the chocolate in the background. Excellent.

Heading out to the market and swapping a few bottle of our beer for a couple of bags of coffee adds to the experience and is what market life is all about. I will be back for more.

You can find out more about Caldera Coffee on their website and follow them on twitter here. 

Message in a Bottle

It is Children in Need time again and it brings to mind the advice of the late, great Terry Wogan. He famously said that he hadn’t got millions of listeners, he only had one. He was in a studio and imagining broadcasting to a single person listening to their radio. I experienced that day after day. It always felt like he was talking just to me. 

I once heard an author discussing their finished novel as a being like a message in a bottle. They write and send it out into the world. They don’t know where it it will end up or who will read it and they wrote with that single, mystery person in mind.

Beer Bottle in Sand

If ever an analogy was true it was that one. We sell our bottles and they head out into the world. It got me thinking about the person on the other end. The person who ends up opening it up. Who do I imagine them to be and what message am I trying to send them?

When I am thinking about a beer to send out, I do have someone in mind…or rather a pair of people. Beer is a social drink and I imagine it bringing people together. A drink to chat over. It gives me a lot of pleasure when someone comes to the stall looking for a beer to take home to their dad or a close relative. It happens a lot. We sell most of our beer on Sunday morning and I imagine a bottle or two heading off with the customer as they go and see their family in the afternoon. I want it to come out of the bag, raise a smile and be a bit of a talking point. Something to share and bring people together. It might be something instantly recognisable and easy drinking or it might be something more challenging to share and widen experience. To learn about beer together. 

Way before I started brewing, I used to visit my grandad whilst he was living in sheltered housing in Halliwell. I would often take him bottle of beer and it brought us together. It was the starting point of a conversation that might head off in any direction as we stood next a big world map he had pinned to the kitchen wall. I knew that he looked forward to it. I get an immense amount of pleasure when people come and take a bottle or two for the same reason.

My single Wogan listener/drinker is that person who takes a bottle with the intention of sharing it and brightening up someone’s day. My message in a bottle is that beer is a social drink best drunk with friends and loved ones…make it local, make it interesting. Learn about beer together. Let it start the conversation and who knows where it will end.  Long may it continue.



P.s. After a few beers last night and contemplating standing all day on a market in the snow,  Phil says ‘Stuff that (paraphrasing), I’m brewing for Zak Avery.’

To keep up to date with our beers, like our facebook page and follow us on twitter.

Cloudwater’s banging bass and chill-out room

I am very old and was around in Manchester at the end of the 80s as rave was picking up a head of steam. The bass would get you and become addictive. Sometimes, you might need to step out for a minute or two before your brain exploded. Now in my late 40s, I get the same thing with hops. I am addicted but sometimes, I need to step outside for a moment. We picked up 3 beers from Cloudwater which took me back. 

We first became aware of Cloudwater on a trip to pick up some beers from Wilson Potter Brewery in Middleton. We were chatting about the number of new breweries springing up and they said that there was rumour of a big one just about to get off the ground in Manchester. Fast forward a little and we were picking up beers from Marble and chatting with the newly opened Chorlton Brew Co. when we heard that Clouwater had opened.

We didn’t come across their beers until a beery day trip to Thomas street. We had many beers that day and were rather smitten by Marble but the beer of the day was undoubtably a 6.8% Cloudwater DIPA on keg. It cut through the fug of the late afternoon and stayed long in the memory. One of those beers that you then compare others against. It hit me between the eyes, was clean as a whistle and was head and shoulders above everything else. 

We then started to read about it online. It seemed that the Cloudwater DIPA was becoming a bit of an internet sensation. Since then, we have picked a bottle or two up whenever we have seen them.

One of the good things about Cloudwater are the visitor sessions and Phil and I found ourselves wandering around Piccadilly at 10.30am one Saturday morning in August looking for the brewery.

14925561_1685453088433762_4825687021403730396_nThe place where the magic happens is an unobtrusive building and we spent a pleasant couple of hours finding out about the brewery, chatting and sampling straight from the fermenters. An impressive set up. One thing I like about Cloudwater is the apparent lack of secrecy. Both in the brewery and on the bottles, everything is listed. We came away with some inspiration and made our way through the bustling Manchester Pride crowds to Beer Nouveau and Alphabet before the Gaslamp, Brink and home. A good day.

We like to keep our stall fresh with a few interesting beers so I headed back over to Manchester to pick up a few cases. The place was busy. Cloudwater have no trouble selling their beer and there was plenty of evidence of a good throughput and beer heading out. I came away with:

Cloudwater Brew Co – Centennial Eldorado – 4.5%vol – Session IPA

A nice session IPA sitting next to our own 4.4% Holy Citra. Thought it would be good to compare a couple of unfined IPAs with a west coast character. No doubt that the Centennial poured much more pale which had me reaching for the bottle and looking for the grain bill. Some caramalt in there but clearly less than the Citra. A little wheat too. The aroma was proper cloudwater. It is so distinctive with this having more citrus going on than usual. Our Citra compared well and wasn’t lacking aroma. First taste had a good light carbonation. Juicy but not overpowering. I can’t think about centennial hops without the 1978 TV series coming to mind. Set in Colorado, Centennial spanned 2 centuries.  Almost 40 years later, mention centennial and I get flashbacks. Sunday afternoon murder and intrigue stuck in my 9 year old mind. Happy days.



The term ‘session IPA’ got us wondering. We called our Big Bertha Stout a ‘session stout’ and knew what we meant. We called it session because it was quaffable. It wasn’t just the strength but the drinkability. Could I sit and spend the afternoon drinking this? Yes, I think I probably could. I often need a bit of light relief during in the midst of hoppy IPAs but this wasn’t too much. Light, lemony hops coming through to the finish.

Cloudwater Brew Co – Vic’s Secret – 6.5%vol – IPA

Next up was the 6.5% Vic’s Secret named after the hop. Pictured below sitting next to a bottle of our own Belmont Midge. Clearly more full on than the earlier, lighter session IPA and the Cloudwater aroma hits you straight off. Some Citra in there too which was good to compare with the Midge’s dry hopped Citra aroma.


The Vic’s Secret is definitely an IPA rather than a DIPA. A good definition to make. It has tons of hoppy character but it doesn’t hit you like a sledgehammer. For drinkability, the Midge stood up well. Not as complex but a deep bitterness that kept us reaching for it.

Cloudwater has such a distinctive aroma that one whiff transports me to the northern quarter. I am a bit of a hop head but I sometimes need something a bit different before I take a deep breath and head back in. The third beer of the trio was perfect.

Cloudwater Brew Co – Sorachi Grisette – 3.5%vol – Grisette

I imagine this lovely, light grisette as the perfect antidote to those emerging from the northern quarter in a hop fuelled fug. Dry and refreshing and having the same effect as it would on the workers leaving the mines and factories of old. The aroma is again distinctive of Cloudwater but this time because simply because of its prominence. Nobody puts aroma in beer like Cloudwater. This time it promises a fresh spiciness and pours very pale and lively. I reached for the bottle but could find no record of the yeast used on this one. It would be interesting to know whether it was a saison strain or something else.


I have had a bit of a soft spot for grisettes since selling an excellent Partizan grisette on our first ever stall. This was just as good.

We interspersed with a Lancashire vs Cheshire cheese taste off before going back to it. Third sip and the Sorachi came through loud and clear. I have been a sorachi fan since we had a couple of cases of Rammy Craft’s Nihon Hana which is made with Himalayan Pink Salt and for ages, I thought that was what the distinctive taste was. It kept bringing me back for more. The sorachi in this grisette is distinctive without detracting from the light, dry character of the beer. Bang on.

We will be bringing them to our markets over the next week or two. See you there. 

To keep up to date with other brewers that we will have available on our stall, like our facebook page and follow us on twitter.

4 bottled gems from Rammy Craft

Our beer adventures seem to have been inextricably linked to Matt and Rammy Craft. His beers were on our first ever farmers’ market stall and we have been regular customers of his ever since we first bumped into his wife, Lysha at Summerseat Garden Centre about 3 and a half years ago. Matt was ill and she was doing a tasting session in his stead.

Matt kindly sold us his 200 litre mash tun as he upscaled a little. I could sense his pain at letting it go. It had been made with care and attention and had seen him through many brews. It is now doing the same for us and has not let us down yet.

We keep our stall fresh by adding a selection of local beers and Matt’s are invariably interesting. He always has something new for us to try. We have followed his path from part-time to full-time brewer and our first selection was a beer he made to celebrate his 5 years as a commercial enterprise. He called it 5.

Rammy Craft Ales –  5 – 9.3% vol – American Imperial IPA

5 is a beer to respect. It is one of those that is either the first beer of the night or the last. Whichever, we think it is not one that should be lumped into the middle.

5The bottled looks great and sits there daring you. It pours deep and rich with a big creamy head and citrus aroma. No filtered, pasteurised nonsense going on here. The first sip is alive with carbonation and big hoppy hit. As you get into it, vanilla from bourbon, oak chips comes through. This beer packs a punch.

I was passing through Bunbury’s soon after it release and was lucky enough to get hold of a half on draft. I needed a quiet sit down afterwards. We have had a few bottles stashed away and bring them out for special occasions. I have one hidden and it will come out on New Year’s Eve.

The next 3 choices were picked up from the unit in Bury were Matt now bottles his beers. He wasn’t there at the time but messaged me later to say that he thought we had chosen well. We started with one that Matt rates as one of his best ever.

Rammy Craft Ales – Quattrus 5.3% vol – IPA infused with real citrus fruit

The bottle states clearly that this is arguably one of Matt’s best ever creations. Good choice of word. I stood at the bar with Matt at last year’s Bolton CAMRA beer festival and we got chatting about our favourite parts of the process. It is the creativity and the sheer variety of Matt’s output that makes Rammy Craft stand out.


Quattrus is made with orange peel and limes and it pours rich and deep. We gave away lots of samples today on our market stall as the antithesis of our own 8.1% malty, Scotsman’s Stump. It has a great dry bitterness that avoids being sweet and cloying. If this is marmalade it is a very grown up version. 

On to the beer with the lowest abv of the selection.

Rammy Craft Ales – Live and Let Rye 3.6% vol – American style with rye

Pours with a good, creamy head that promises plenty of body for its 3.6%


I have been searching for a tasty rye since having an almost perfect pint from Blackedge Brewery (Horwich) in the Cheethams Arms in Chapletown. This was a little lighter and full of American character. We sold a few of these today. We get quite a few regulars looking for a lower strength beer with plenty of character and this certainly fits the bill. There is lots going on in there. It sent us down the path of thinking of other characterful beers in the same sort of range. Lightweights and Gentlemen (Irwell works – Ramsbottom) came up. I am a fan of Lightweights but this is more my cup of tea. A good choice.

Tea leads us nicely into the last Rammy choice of the evening

Rammy Craft Ales – Citrus Tips – 5.8% vol – Tea infused IPA

This came towards the end of a long evening. To paraphrase Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. ‘That god, I found it last.’ 


Citrus tips is made with lemon peel which comes through in the aroma and infused with tea. First taste is excellent. Plenty of citrus but the tea counteracts it superbly. Smooth, balanced and bitter. In a evening of many beers, this was the best of the night.

We still have a few bottles of each to take with us to market however, I might have less of the Citrus Tips than expected. 

A really enjoyable evening trying a good selection. That is what it is all about for us. Interesting beer. Cheers Matt. Top job. You can find out more about Matt on Rammy Craft’s website.

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