Jul 23

Why having no time or money is a good thing

We are 3 years into our beery adventure and we still have no time or money. We reckon that is a good thing. It all started with a stall selling interesting bottled beer at a local farmers’ market. We had no idea at the time that it would lead to us brewing but here we are with our own cask ale starting to go out to pubs. It is still enjoyable and exciting and I put that down to our rules for growth.

We said from the start that we would grow organically. No cash injections or loans allowed. We don’t put any money in that we don’t earn from sales. It has served us well. It means that we are not heading down a pre-ordained path but have the flexibility to follow where the adventure leads us. It keeps us lean and every bit of profit is important to us. Good margins are vital but then you also learn about the importance of cashflow. Overheads can kill you so we have to keep them to almost nil. We want no pressure on us to service a loan each month. We have no budget for advertising but we don’t need to advertise far and wide. We just work on building up a core base of customers close to home who care about us and vice-versa. At the moment we pretty have much sold everything before we brew it. Our biggest issue is keeping up with demand.

CeAiGMLWoAABQ_8.jpg-largeWe keep heading off to Morrow Brothers to buy another firkin (We now own 6 and a half) and you get the feeling that  people who have been in the business a long time think that we are doing it the right way. Slow and steady. For people like us who have not spent years in the brewing industry it is important to enjoy meeting people and learn from the ground up.

We have a limited amount of time too. I think that this is just as important for creativity as financial constraints. We devote about 3 Sundays a month to the brewery. It makes you be organised and focus on what works best. Do we brew 3 times a month and sell all out to pubs in firkins? Do we brew once and sell bottles on 2 markets? Do we brew twice and do one market with the rest going to pubs? Do we brew 3 times and just sell bottles on Eebria? We are pragmatists and look for the things that work best but we also follow the fun. This whole thing is meant to be enjoyable and living the dream.

This discipline of limited time and money is good for us. When we deviate from it, we become flabby. We had a phase where we hit every market we could. We made decent money but it masked inefficiency, left us worn out and the fun and enjoyment went.

We are progressing step by step. Every brew allows us to add a bit more equipment and refine our methods. There will come a point when we move from brewing under a gazebo (We really do – everything under one tiny roof) to a unit somewhere but there is no rush. We won’t jump to that until we know we have enough customers to make it work and we have the know how to avoid the many blind alleys you can head up.

When I started blogging, the best piece of advice was to keep writing and find your voice. It starts to emerge after 100 or so posts and your blogging identity slowly forms. I think that it will be the same with beers. We will keep brewing and down the line our true identity will come out slowly. We can allow that to happen if we take it steady and don’t force the issue. It is at that point when you can start to build a brand that is genuine and will stand the test of time. It would be too easy to spend a fortune on branding and it jar with what we eventually become. 

For now, I am still getting a buzz when I walk into a place and see our beer on. I hope that never goes away.

Cheers – You can check out our beers here and find out where will be next here. 

 

Chris

 

 

Apr 18

Living the dream.

I was standing at the bar at Bolton Beer Festival having a chat with Matt from Rammy Craft. The subject had turned to the part of the process that we enjoy the most. Brewing is creative. You start with raw ingredients and try to turn them into something wonderful. It is a buzz and I can see how in the commercial world, it can easily get lost. What starts out as a passion could easily become humdrum as you produce the same beers month in and month out. The reason we love Rammy Craft so much is that there is always something new to try. It never gets dull.

It is important to us to keep hold of that thing that started us off. The thing that you go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about. Keeping hold of where it began.

For me, it was watching the first series of River Cottage with Hugh Fernley Whittingstall. He had sold up and moved to the country to see if he could live off the fat of the land. I enjoyed everything about it. It was the episodes where he added value to his produce and sold them at farmers’ markets that lit the flame. I wanted a bit of that.

I started to visit local farmers’ markets and Hoghton Tower became a favourite. I dreamt of giving up the 9-5 and running my own stall. It was about a combination of local produce and the buzz of turning raw ingredients into money. I remember chatting to someone at work 12 or 13 years ago about my dream to run an artisan bread stall. I knew nothing about baking bread but I loved the bread we came home with and it seemed like a way in. Little did I realise at the time, that it would be beer that gave me the chance to grab a bit of the good life. 

Fast forward over a decade and yesterday was Hoghton Tower market. We have been running our beer stall there now for close on 3 years of years. I spent the day chatting with the friends and regulars we have made about life in general and about our latest beer.

It is easy to forget the important things in life. This is the bit that I enjoy. I am living the dream. Standing on my own stall at Hoghton Tower as a local producer. Turing raw ingredients into something they will take home and enjoy and making a few bob along the way.

For other producers, the buzz is in building a brand. Taking one product, making it consistent and sending it far and wide. I get that too but it isn’t the same for me. Not at the moment anyway.

Dreams change and there may come a time when it loses its shine but what shouldn’t change is the excitement. The butterflies. Look for them and follow them. The humdrum is necessary but only if it allows you to fan the flames of that original excitement and keep it alive. Long may it continue.

Cheers

Chris

Feb 19

A proper Dubday afternoon

It all started with a chance meeting with the DUB boys in Bunburys a couple of weeks ago. I had just ordered my father-in-law a pint of DUB Tropicana (great name) when I noticed them at the bar in DUB hats and fleeces. It was good to finally meet them all and have a chat.

It is almost 3 years since our first market stall at Hollands in Bromley Cross. Our friend Steve told us about a mate of his who was creating custom made kit for small brewers. Pallet Brew was the name. We went home and googled it. I have watched those videos a few times. When Pallet Brew’s Lewis began to brew as DUB we sort of followed their progress from a distance. It is inspiring to a couple of brewers like us to see how it can be done.

We had a good chat and loosely said that I might call down and pick up a few cases for our stall so it was good to finally get down into the industrial units near Raikes Lane, Bolton and have a look round.

12745514_1552569905055415_866452154537897262_nWalking in, it is hard not be a bit jealous. DUB’s 10 barrel set up is lovely bit of kit. As nice as you would expect from someone with a background in putting kit together. Four 2200 litre fermenters dominate the centre of the unit. They may soon be dwarfed by containers twice that size. Brewing twice in a day will allow for a 20 barrel fermentation. More than enough for going on with!

Sitting in the corner is the original 200 litre kit. Again, it is beautifully put together. It is till used regularly for smaller runs and serves 3 smaller fermenters.

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200 litre kit still in regular use

I had gone down to pick up some DUBkin, their pumpkin ale. Alex roasted 20kg of pumpkins at home before adding them to the mash tun. Cloves, ginger and assorted spices went into the fermenter. Pumpkin pie in a bottle. It was my kind of drink. Deep, spiced and smooth.

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Alex with a glass of delicious DUBkin. Took 20kg of roasted pumpkin in the mash tun.

Lewis shouted over “Has he tried the sour?’ and Alex disappeared again and came back with 3 glasses. A light sour and a dark sour. The light was spot on. Not too crazy with just the right amount of bite. My sister described her last Citra sour as alcoholic fruit juice. Close your eyes and taste. It works for me.

The light is called DUBday and the dark DUBnight.

The dark sour was full of Chinook and again wasn’t overpowering. The trick came when you blended the two. It just worked. Looks like there are plenty of suggestions for a name for the blend. I would go for ‘DUBday Afternoon’.

We then cracked open a bottle of our own Holy Citra. I wanted to see what Alex thought. Good first reaction. Good Citra hit. Nice balance. He agreed that we could get the aroma up a bit more with some dry hopping. We will have a play with that one.

Chatting on the way out, I talked about not allowing any cash injections into our brewing. We just reinvest what we make and Lewis said that he was the same. Just grown organically. It is good to see that it can be done.

12733368_1552569965055409_8908743879666474846_nNice fellas, all of them and I will be back. Probably bump into them in Bunburys too. DUB are opening their first outlet in Horwich soon with plans for a second in the pipeline. The local scene has a good feeling about it at the moment. It is a nice thing to be a part of in our own small way.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.

Cheers

Chris

 

Feb 17

Hopstar – In the heart of Darwen’s community

Hopstar Brewery from Darwen is one of the staples of the Lancashire Beer Circle. We have got to know brewer Natalie well and she often drops us a few cases off as she is out and about delivering. A thing that she loves to do.

Hopstar was born out the hobby of beer lover Barry Tyson back in 2004. Barry has a strong belief in only using the best ingredients and pretty soon was supplying the Black Horse in Darwen with his 2.5 barrel plant housed in a garage.

Natalie from Hopstar joins us at Houghton Tower

Natalie from Hopstar joins us at Houghton Tower

Things grew from there and in 2008, daughter Natalie came on board to do some driving and she slowly started to learn the art of the brewer.

2010 saw Hopstar move into a little unit in Darwen with a 6 barrel setup. Natalie took over the reigns full-time and Barry opened up their brewery tap, Number 39 where there is always something going. The best way to keep in touch with Number 39 is through their facebook page here.

Last time I spoke to Natalie, she was brewing around 50 barrels a week and you get the sense that it is being out and about meeting landlords and publicans that she really loves. She supplies over 100 outlets altogether. A bit of a difference from her childcare background but not a change that I think she regrets.

The thing we love abut Hopstar is that it feels rooted in Darwen and you can sense the locals are proud of their beer. There have been a few other brewers cuckoo brewing at Hopstar and Natalie does a great discount for those locals returning bottles.

Natalie has been a great help to us in our short life so far. She gave us advice on boxes and labels and often stops off on her travels to drop a few cases with us. Who knows, she may even let us do a bit of voluntary work with her over the coming year. I get the feeling that may start with washing bottles.

We sell all the varieties of Hopstar that Natalie bottles:

Lancashire Gold  (4.0%) A light beer with a good combination of malt and hops. Maris Otter Premium and Crystal malts makes a well balanced body with an English and two American hops giving great taste for this session beer

Lush  (4.0%)  Because the hop is the star. Our original copper coloured ale brewed with lashings of tasty Amarillo hops. Full bodied and very moreish.

Chilli Beer  (3.8%)  A fruity, hoppy beer with a tongue tingling subtle hint of chilli and heat that bulids towards the end of the drink. Infused with the fruity flavours of one of the hottest chillis, but less of the heat.

Dizzy Danny (3.8%)  Best seller on cask. Golden coloured hoppy and fruity. Crisp smooth malt finish.

We would love to get hold of Hopstar’s Smokey Joes and you will be the first to know if Natalie does a run in bottles.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.

Cheers

Chris

Feb 17

Less haste and more speed

We are now almost 3 years into this beery adventure and a year into brewing commercially. We do this in our spare time and sometimes we just get caught up in real life  and the months slip by.

Today was meant to be a a brew day but my son was ill. A change of plan and we made it into a strategic day instead. It is good to stop for a moment and do the things that will move us forward properly rather than just spinning plates.

2 big pots of coffee, one or two specially selected educational beers and 7 hours later, we have moved things on. We should do it more often.

Today we:

  • Finally got round to speaking to a supplier, getting a few questions answered and ordered a 300 litre temperature controlled fermenter. It will be here the day after tomorrow. We went into this venture with a golden rule. No cash injections. We are going to grow steadily and reinvest what we make. It makes us lean and we watch the pennies. The fermenter will be our most significant investment and comes from cash earned over the Christmas period. We had been dithering and worried about then using the rest of our kit but you have to think about what you can do rather than what you can’t. It is possible to fill that fermenter with the kit we have so away we go.
  • Updated our brewing and HMRC records. We just needed to sit down and do it. We pay our taxes each month but it is good to get hold of it properly.
  • Designed a new series of labels. Good fun and took ages. 2 heads are better than one. It helps stop us going off on one.
  • Stump500ml label 17.02.16Spoke to a couple of new breweries about getting a few cases in for our Lancashire Beer Stall. This is one of our favourite things to do. We started by championing Lancashire beer and we will continue to do so.
  • Sorted out our work and storage spaces ready for the fermenter to arrive.

The pressure to brew, brew, brew is always there but sometimes you need to let go for a moment and find a better way. 

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You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.

Cheers

Chris

 

Feb 17

Will the Holy Citra please stand up

What is it about Citra that draws me in for more? No doubt about it, I am a sucker for Citra. We created a single hop Citra as a test brew over Christmas and have been trying it out on folk since.

Signs were good when when I passed Phil a glass after just 2 weeks in the bottle during a family gathering. His response was something like

‘Oh…I reckon that is a Cloudwater. If we can brew something like that we will know that we are on a winner’.

I am paraphrasing slightly but the gist is there.

We had been out to Thomas St a few weeks before and judged the beers we had against a spectacular 6.8% Cloudwater IPA we had on keg. I think my grin said it all. I had done this test brew whilst he was away and he didn’t know it existed. Sneaky but fun.

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Our own Holy Citra is on the left.

We poured into matching glasses and then blind tasted one at a time. At 3.8%, the Mallinsons was big on Citra aroma and gave a good hit on first taste then slid away into a dry finish. The Hop & Leifde was balanced and well rounded. No crazy hit but it just kept on giving. Mellow would be an apt description. The Holy Citra was bang in the middle. Not as strong on the nose but well rounded and a satisfying finish.

In order of preference Phil went: 1) Hop & Leifde 2) Holy Citra 3) Mallinsons Citra.

It was closer for me. I went 1) Holy Citra 2) Hop & Leifde 3) Mallinsons. I preferred a slight bite as opposed to the mellowness of the Hop & Leifde.

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Of course, I am biased and I think that the Hop & Leifde is a more accomplished beer but for drinkability, I kept reaching for the Holy Citra. It was born out later in the evening.

We added a bottle of the Belmont Midge (Our own 6.3% American IPA) to the mix. We sat putting the world to rights and forgot all about the tasting as we got into education and the general state of the country. I had 4 glasses in front of me and I just kept reaching out absent mindedly for a drink.

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Holy Citra has vanished – From Left to right. Belmont Midge, Holy Citra, Hop & Leifde, Mallinsons Citra.

It was our own Holy Citra that went first and I wanted another. That figures, I guess because my aim is to brew beers that I like to drink and I think that we are well on the way with this one. Watch out for it soon in bottles and it may well be the first of our beers that goes out there in cask.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.

Cheers

Chris

 

 

Feb 14

Monsters to the left of me, Scotsman to the right.

Torrside Brewing have come across my beery path a couple of times in the last fortnight and I have enjoyed it each time. We pretty much go for Lancashire beers but for Torrside, we will happily make an exception.

It started with a tweet from Daryl at Bunburys about a Rauch-Off between a cask Torrside and a keg DUB. Bunbury’s patrons would vote on a Thursday evening on their favourite. I arrived a day late and tried both.

Daryl handing over a Torrside Franconia. It got my vote.

Daryl handing over a Torrside Franconia. It got my vote.

Twitter folk will know that I enjoyed both and the Torrside took it for me on the night. The smoke was more subtle and provided a deep ale that was suited to cask rather than keg.

Then I read the excellent Beers Manchester blog and a big, big statement. It was referring to Torrside’s American Barley Wine ‘Monsters’. To quote:

A simply magnificent achievement!

To put in simply, without undue hyperbole, this is quite possibly the bottle of beer that has made the biggest impact on my tastebuds in the 3 1/2 years I’ve been sharing with you. The last beer that made as near an impact as this, was a 2/3rd of Human Cannonball by Magic Rock. The beer that effectively started me blogging.

It’s THAT good.

Praise indeed. It made me sit up and notice. Read the whole post here.

On Daryl’s shelves were a few bottles on Monsters. After reading Beers Manchester, how could I refuse?

We are going in. We may be some time!

We are going in. We may be some time!

I tweeted the guys at Torrside before heading in. I said we may be some time and that was the truth of it. Monsters is an American barley wine and at 8% has already developed a bit of a reputation. First sniff and I was struck by how remarkably similar it was to our 6% Holy Imp. I stayed quiet and watched Phil. Exactly the same reaction. The taste though was a departure. It is sweet but not overpoweringly so. Whenever Bareley Wine is mentioned, it is difficult to get away from the ghost of Whitbread Gold Label. My grandmother and father both used to come back from the corner shop with a 4 pack. For many people, their first bad alcohol experience was with pernod or some such and they cannot even look at it without going queasy. Mine was with Gold Label and I have stayed clear of Barley Wine since. Monsters has put me well on the road to Barley Wine rehabilitation.

We cracked open a bottle of our own Holy Well 8.5% Scotsman’s Stump and drank it alongside. We were doing a fair bit of blind tasting during the evening and you can see how short of glasses were were getting.

Monsters to the left of me Scotsman to the right.

Monsters to the left of me Scotsman to the right.

The stump is a dark Scottish style ale named after an infamous point of Winter Hill where a traveller was murdered long ago. It is deep, sweet and malty but tasted dry in comparison to the Monsters.

Torriside are based in New Mills and are made up of 3 experienced home brewers. They are appeared here in an article in the Buxton Advertiser.

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From Buxton Advertiser -The Torrside team of, Nick Wright, Chris Clough and Peter Sidwell.

I ended up back in Bunbury’s with my father-in-law and Torrside No Frills was on cask. Deep and worth drinking followed by a Lost Time on keg. Light and fresh wheat beer. Very good.

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For a couple of brewers like us, Torrside are a great inspiration. We enjoy their beer in cask, bottles and keg. We like their labels and the way they have built up a variety. We know that when our regulars come knocking, they are looking for new and interesting things as well as looking for those one-offs that are a bit special. Above all, Torrside are 3 home brewers who show it can be done. Long may it continue.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.

The Lancashire Beer Circle is a Facebook group aimed at connecting Lancashire Brewers with Lancashire people. The chat is warm and friendly. Come and join in, you will be made very welcome.

Cheers

Chris

 

 

Feb 10

First stop Wigan Central

Patsy from Prospect Brewery was one of the first people we got to know when we started our beer stall. We would head over to Standish on a Thursday or Friday and enjoy the buzz of the bar plonked in the middle of the brewery. It was like a gentleman’s club and would slowly fill up and by the time we were leaving would be a hive of end of week laughter. We would get comfortable on a settee and then leave with a few cases and 5 litre mini-casks for the stall. My dad would still be sitting in the corner if we hadn’t escorted him out. Patsy has always been generous with her advice. We still wash our casks and prime using the ratios passed on during a bit of a chat. We often see the Prospect van over in our neck of the woods. Probably on the way to or from Bank Top. Patsy told us that she hit lucky when learning to brew and came out with the excellent Silver Tally on her first run. That’s the way I remember it anyway. Clementine is still one of my favourite Christmas beers and I try and save one for Christmas day.

12729386_1548842115428194_1648367745371848364_nI had never been over to Wigan Central before and it wasn’t what I expected. The picture in my head was much grander and Wetherspoony. I think it is the name. What I found was much more cosy (A good trick in a Railway Arch) and personal. I really need another visit by train so that I could spend the afternoon in there. I felt like I needed to take my time, get settled in a booth and enjoy. This trip was a bit more rushed. There was a good selection of cask from far and wide. Nothing mainstream and only one Prospect that I saw at first glance.

I ended up with a Mallinsons Lucky Number. When faced with a row of pumps, the choice can be overwhelming. I plumped for it because something pinged in the back of my mind. I was reading a beer blog. I can’t remember which one and the author was at a festival and the main reason he gave for selecting Mallinsons out of the pack was that ‘it was Mallinsons’ and that it was as good as he expected. I wasn’t disappointed. Lucky Number was smooth and slightly warming. It was in sharp contrast to the Red Rum from Madhatter that I had just had on keg. It was cold, hoppy and cut through the evening well.

Wigan Central has a wall of beer known as the ‘beer library’ and I drank whilst perusing. I am always looking for Lancashire beer and came away with bottles from Liverpool Craft, a gluten free from First Chop and an interesting Citra dry hopped beer from the Netherlands.

12688191_1548841995428206_4957946145547773911_nWe often get asked for gluten free beer on our stall and I am interested to try the First Chop on my wife and the Citra will be good to compare with our single hopped Citra Session. This one bitters with Saaz and then dry hops with Citra. They use a pils malt and a little caramalt as opposed to our simple Pale Malt version. Good to compare and have a play with.

One thing that is noticeable is the growing number of bottled strong beers of 10% or more. I didn’t pick one up. I went for beers less than 6%. 4s and 5s. I didn’t do this on purpose, i just went where my hand took me. Sometimes, you just want something light, fresh and interesting.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.
Cheers
Chris

Feb 08

Beer Nouveau and the Manchester Body Snatchers

Having picked up a couple of interesting bottles from Daryl at Bunburys, I settled down to a Beer Nouveau Body Snatcher. We sold quite a few Beer Nouveau when they were being produced out of a Prestwich garage and going over there to pick up and have a chat was always a pleasure. The smoked, Marx and Engels went down well with our regulars so I always pick up a new Beer Nouveau when I see one.

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Descibed as a Manchester bitter it piqued my interest and led me to the excellent ‘Where the Boddies is buried’ post on Boak and Bailey’s beer blog.

Our own quest to brew a definitive bitter has been an ongoing one. I first started to drink bitter back in the late 80s in the Salisbury (Manchester). I went through many pints of Wilsons (90p) and whatever else was on. It looks like I arrived at a time when the style was changing. I was listening to Dave Sweeney on BBC Manchester a few weeks ago talking about styles and regions. I feel like I should be wedded to the pale, hoppy beers that dominate the session scene in Bolton and surrounding areas but I crave something a touch darker and dryer. Boak and Bailey explain why.

The Beer Nouveau Body Snatcher aims to capture the Manchester bitters of old. The sort that is best drunk whilst watching the Sweeney or in an episode of Life on Mars (Series 1. Don’t bother with the rest).

It is dry and bitter and you need more than one.

This Manchester Bitter recipe on Brewtoad shows that I am on the right lines and have instinctively headed the right way. My proportions need a tweak here and there. Pale and Black malts and EKG to hop. A final gravity of 1.006 is the challenge in order to get that dry finish that brings you back for more.

You can keep unto date with our brewery and stall news by following us on twitter and liking our Facebook page.
Cheers
Chris

Feb 08

Bunbury’s Rauch off and a dash through Chorlton

February arrived with a summing up of the last couple of days of January. Ended up in the Wilton Arms on Belmont Rd, Bolton on Saturday evening. They always have York brewery Guzzler on in the Wilton and I made enquiries as to the link. It turns out that the Wilton is owned by Mitchells of Lancaster who also own York Brewery. Turns out that I have been in quite a few of other Mitchell’s pubs in the Carnforth area as well as one or two in York. We are planning our next work’s do for York. May will mark our 3rd birthday trading at Farmers’ markets and a York should provide a good beer playground for a couple of days. I was in the York Brewery Tap over the new year and I am looking forward to heading back and exploring the city. In the meantime, my father-in-law happily dug into a pin to Guzzler. 3.8%, light and fresh. Good and reliable pint from their 20 Barrel plant near Mickelgate.

 

We then started on the Bank Top Flat Cap and Coniston Blue Bird. Most of our meal was then taken over with lively debate on county boundaries. We only sell Lancashire beer on our stall and include Coniston within the Lancashire boundary. We only recognise the proper boundaries which run from the River Mersey to the Duddon. Coniston Old Man is the highest point in Lancashire. Not a lot of people know that.

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Coniston and Bank Top. Lancashire beer side by side

I ended up sending a case of Park Utd ale up to the north east. The lady who took them had come back for more and said that it was delicious and reminiscent of the beer she used to drink up there with her dad as a young woman.

Park Utd are a local junior team playing within the Halliwell area at Smithills. They have a long a distinguished history with old boys including Julian Darby and Terry Connor. My son now plays for them and Park was a beer we bottled to help raise a bob or two over Christmas. It was nice to send them over a healthy donation which will could help towards their planned tour this summer. Looking forward to it myself. I will be searching for little breweries in Ireland before we go. 12313990_670355646440713_8682035159189418346_n

 

On Sunday afternoon, I popped in to the Unicorn Coop in Chorlton. It is many years since I have been in and it was bustling. It reminded me of an organic store we go in when visiting family in Geneva. Funnily enough, quite a few of the beers seemed to be the same. The pool of organic beer seems to be small. As always, I was looking for something local and the nearest i could get was a Liverpool Organic Imperial Stout.

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Across the road, is the Marble Beer House and it would be remiss not to pop in. Quick half of an Earl grey IPA on draft whilst settling in and then a Antipodean on keg. I thought I might grab a bottle to take home and asked for a Wild Beer Ninkasi. The till rang up at £10.35 for a 330ml bottle. £10.35. One for another day.

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A bit of brewery business during the evening. It is a year since we received our license to sell online and the bill to renew came from the council followed by a BACs payment to Matt at Rammy Craft for the 8 cases I picked up a couple of weeks ago. We are slowly updating our systems to keep our brewing records online. Slowly, slowly but getting there. It will make life easier when we finally submit our accounts.

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A colleague at work said that she had found a new pub that I might like. We went round the houses a bit and eventually it turns out that she has become a bit of a regular at Bunburys on Chorley Old Road. People seemed to know that Daryl is putting on a pin of Manchester Imperial Stout from Rammy Craft. ‘The strongest beer ever sold in Bolton’ is how they described it. I am not sure that is true but it is good. We have sold a few bottles of 24% Rammy EisBeer in our time. Freeze distilled in Ramsbottom and the key ingredient in Rammy Bombs.

Called into Bunburys on Friday. I was a day late for Daryl’s Rauchbier-off between DUB and Torrside. I still had half each and settled down after a long week at work. A good place to just sit for a while.

Daryl handing over a Torrside Franconia. It got my vote.

Daryl handing over a Torrside Franconia. It got my vote.

I enjoyed both smoked beers. One on keg and one on cask. In the end, the Torrside would have got my vote. The smokiness suited the cask rather than keg and was subtle and more in the background. I would have happily settled in for a few but I needed to get on, picking up a couple of bottles for later.

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Bunburys – A good place to sit down for a while and choose a couple to take home for later.

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Cheers
Chris