Sir Terry PratchettPosted March 12, 2015 at 5:38 pm
I was immensely saddened just now to hear of the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett, one of the UK’s finest authors. I’ve been a huge fan of his since I first read Strata many years ago (before I even thought of studying strata as an archaeologist!), and have devoured his writings ever since.
Six or seven years ago, I was approached by Paul Kruzycki at Ales by Mail to bottle some our infamous Ysbrid y Ddraig for him, to go under the label of Jimkin Bearhugger’s Invalid’s Restorative. Since then, we have become more involved in the trans-dimensional collaborative brewing with the many characters of Sir Terry’s Discworld, and last year became the main producer for all of the Discoworld beers. We even won a contract to supply all JD Wetherspoons with the Modo’s Midden. The range has now grown to 9 beers, and we’re really proud of the association and the honour of being involved with this.
Sir Terry’s untimely death is properly an embuggerance – he shall be sorely missed… Our condolences go to his wife and family, his friends and all who had the pleasure of knowing him and his writings.
His death was announced on his Twitter account this afternoon.
The first tweet was composed in capital letters – which was how he portrayed the character of Death :
“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER,” it stated.
“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.”
January CollaborationPosted January 30, 2015 at 6:57 pm
We’ve had a great fun day here with Mike Labbe of Lord Hobo Brewing Co, Boston MA and Robert Wessel (another American friend of ours) who both descended yesterday to come and join forces for a very special brew…
First we (well Vincent, Lead Brewer at LHBC) played a lot with Water Chemistry, and sent over a shopping list to perfect our already beautiful water. The we mashed in – Marris Otter Pale malt courtesy of Warminster Maltings and a huge percentage of Malted Oats.
Then more hops – a gentle 50ish IBU of British Progress for bittering, followed by vast amounts of Ella and Vic Secret hops for the aroma – and what an aroma!
A novel game played with flow rates and temperature has made the brewhouse smell absolutely stunning, and the wort is just bursting with these tropical fruit flavours.
We’ve just pitched the yeast, and we’re all salivating at thought of trying this 5.5% beer as soon as its ready!
Some will go to the States, but most of this will be availble in UK bars – get your orders in quick!
What we did in the Summer…. (and beyond)Posted December 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Well, its been a while since the last post (and the last post explains a lot of that!)
Following on from the last post, Duncan has made a good recovery – arm, leg and ankle are fixed, and his foot is on the mend, but now requiring a lot of the added metalwork removing at some point in the New Year…
What have we been doing, rather than posting here?
First was the WAles festival in the Millennium Stadium – a great new event in conjunction with the WRU and CAMRA. We were delighted to find out that all of our core range of beers had made their respective finals in the CAMRA Champion Beer of Wales competition, and the Three Beacons was judged to be the Best pint of Bitter in Wales, and will go head to head with the best Bitters the rest of the UK can offer at Olympia next Summer for a tilt at the Champion Beer of Britain title. In the meantime, the Giraffes did strike and most of the beers on our bar sold out!
Next up was the Brecon Jazz Festival – the entire brew of our Jazzy Beacons sold out in the run up to the Festival – we promise to brew more next year! – and the weekend went really well.
The following week saw a huge number of Welsh Drink producers represented at the Green Man Festival – a fantastic music event held on the Glanusk estate. The cask beer and cider bar was a huge success, with several re-orders, and we look forward to working with Mike and his team in 2015 and beyond.
Ludlow Food Festival, held in the magnificent surroundings of Ludlow Castle was one of our best events yet – three years to the day from when we first launched the beers. The entire weekend’s stocks when before the end of Saturday, but fortunately we were able to restock and keep everyone happy! We’re looking forward to next year’s event already.
Abergavenny Food Festival was another fabulous event, again massively exceeding our expectations – many thanks to all of you who joined Simon at the stand and enjoyed a pint or three… Staying with Abergavenny, their Christmas Market a couple of weekends ago was another great event – a really good atmosphere, very well attended and a lot of fun – apologies to those who were hoping to pick up Mini-Casks in the afternoon – all that we took had sold before midday! We’ll have more for next year…
On to beer news – in June we set up was we believe was a first – a trans-dimensional collaborative brew : we linked up with Ankh-Morpork, foremost city of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, specifically to the Unseen University’s Boathouse Brewery, where we worked with Modo, the Head Gardener of the University, to create Modo’s Midden – a 4.5% Golden Ale brewed with a lot of Pioneer and Northdown hops – Modo is particularly keen to use a lot of hops, and all of the Brewery’s spent hops are fed to his somewhat sentient Compost Heap, which seems to keep it happy!
This beer sold very successfully across the JD Wetherspoons estate, as well across our more regular customers.
In fact, the concept worked so well, we’ve since linked up with more members of the Discworld’s Brewing community to recreate some of their most famous beers :
Bugarup Blonde – a 4.0% blonde cross between a lager and an IPA, originally created by Archchancellor Rincewind and Nielette at the (in)famous Roo Brewery in Bugarup.
Bledlows’ Silence – a 5.5% IPA – the Bledlows are the fearsome Porters of the Unseen University – they take Tradition extremely seriously, and are frankly put out by the comings and goings of the University’s lecturers and students – in fact they feel the whole place would be much better without them all! This heavily hopped IPA provides them with solace when they can retreat into their Lodge.
Hix’s Darkside – Dr John Hix, head of the Department for Post-Mortem Communications (definitely not a Necromancer…), has put aside his budding Thespian career and status as the University’s Resident Evil Wizard in order to create this contribution to the Boathouse’s repertoire – a seriously strong, evilly dark and decidedly drinkable 7.0% Oat Stout.
These 4 beers can often be found in casks, as well as in gift packs of bottles from www.alesbymail.com. There are 5 other Discworld beers that are also available in bottles from Ales by Mail – Ricdully’s Revenge, Founders Ale, Black Hogswatch, the Invalids’ Restorative as well as a contribution from the Assassins Guild – Taking the Dark…
In November, to celebrate the Celtic New Year, Buster was one of six Celtic brewers who met up in Cornwall to create a new collaborative beer – Celtic Cross. Born of many conversations, (mostly at the superb Celtic Beer Festival, held in St Austell Brewery’s old cellars each year), this event saw the coming together of brewers from all over the Celtic World :
Roger Ryman of St Austell Brewery representing Cornwall
Buster Grant of Brecon Brewing representing Wales
Fergus Clark of Inveralmond Brewery representing Scotland
Daire Harlin and Pat Hurley of Bru Brewing in Co Meath, Ireland
Flo Vialan of Purity Brewery representing Brittany
to create a 4.5% Red Ale on St Austell’s magnificent Brew plant. The beer also included ingredients from the Celtic nations (Cornish Saffron, Welsh Apple juice, Scottish Rowan berries, Irish Shamrocks and Breton Wild Garlic) which added a little spice and mystery to the brew! The beer was launched at the Celtic Beer Fest, where it went down a treat. Next year, the Isle of Man will be joining us all, hopefully here in Brecon for the next instalment of this!
The program of Seasonal Ales for the Year have been really well received, and the list for 2015 has been finalised and will follow in another post soon…
One other piece of news – Arran Peel joined the team in October, working with Buster in the Brewhouse.
In the meantime, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support, hope you’ve enjoyed the beers, and wish you all the best for Christmas.
TriskaidekaphobiaPosted June 15, 2014 at 9:33 am
On Friday night, our General Manager, Duncan Ward was involved in a motorbike accident in the West Midlands. Unfortunately he has broken his arm and fractured and dislocated a foot.
He is currently in Stoke General hospital, recovering well, but will be out of action for some time…
If you are in the area, and would like to drop in to visit, (bearing Staffordshire Oatakes…), give us a call and we’ll let you know which ward he’s in.
I’m sure you’ll join us in wishing him a swift and full recovery.
And another busy weekend…Posted May 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm
After several weeks of mayhem… sorry – SIBA festival, Royal Welsh Show, brewing marathons… A relatively quiet, (by comparison), weekend…
Tonight, Duncan will be heading to the Wyndham Arms in Bridgend to give a little talk and tasting (might be some Choc-y-wocky on offer if I stop typing…). He’ll be there from 7pm ish
Buster will be cleaning casks, racking and preparing the Trans-Dimensional portal…
Oh yes, and its the WAles Festival next week in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff – www.gwbcf.org.uk for more details… We’ll all be there on our bar with a great selection of beers :
Ysbrid y Bannau
Genesis 2:ii – Imperious Beacons – the last firkin!
Genesis 3:i – Dark Skies – the last firkin!
Genesis 3:ii – The Chocwork Orange – maybe the last firkin!
Come and join us for a pint – and watch out for those pesky Giraffes…
The Dark comes…Posted April 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm
Dark Beacons is nearly here!
Just finished filling the racking tank so the beer will be ready for May… Whilst this is a traditional Welsh Dark, rather than a British Mild, it is still very much a part of CAMRA’s Mild Month of May campaign – a great excuse to revive this once great and widely available style of beer. Dark burgundy in colour, (as you’d expect) this is a remarkably light and refreshing beer, with a subtle balance of hops, coffee and roasted notes…
Even better news is our friends at Flying Firkin are offering this and the Copper Beacons this month – so please get in touch to place an order.
Obviously this and all of our beers will also be available direct from the Brewery as well as via Tanners Wines, Templetons Wines and LWC.
A Bright new week….Posted April 7, 2014 at 6:56 am
After a long rest, one of our original brews returns for 1 month only – Bright Beacons is back!
Brewed with Low Colour malt and a healthy selection of British hops, this straw coloured Best Bitter packs a good hoppy punch and plenty of flavour.
Available at your local, or direct from us at the Brewery.
Choc-y strikes GoldPosted April 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm
After a fantastic victory in Sheffield at SIBA’s BeerX and National kegged beer competition, more Choc-y-wocky is in the Fermenter!
The win at SIBA was completely unexpected, and vindicated the decision to enter the growing craft keg beer market. Buster was even more cheerful, as it was an early birthday present for him! Nigel Barden (as in Simon Mayo’s BBC Radio 2 show, etc) was extremely complimentary when he read out the results, and was kind enough to remember the beer when he visited the Drinks Wales stand at the F&D EXPO show two weeks later…
The Choc-y-wocky has been a great sucess, and has already made it over the Irish Sea to an event in Dublin, as well as selected bars and pubs within the UK. With more brewing, there will be a lot more available both locally and nationally – the SIBA national Gold Medal should certainly help drive interest…
Delivery Day…Posted March 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm
Just back from delivering a van load of Welsh beers to the Burton Beer Fest – if you’re in the area of Britain’s historical Brewing Capital, Burton upon Trent, be sure to drop in to Burton Town Hall for a pint or two whilst the festival is open later this week – it looked to be a great setting, and is the home for one of the last casks of The Chocwork Orange!
Also dropped some beers off at our friends at Titanic Brewery, so expect more Welsh-ness in the Midlands!
February…Posted February 17, 2014 at 8:10 pm
Still haven’t worked out where all the time is going…
At the beginning of the month, Buster was over in Dublin with Drinks Wales at the Alltech International Craft Brews Fair – a fantastic event with lots of great beers and food – we even managed a Wales vs Ireland beer match! Unlike the game afterwards, at least this match finished honours even…
Since then its been mostly trying to catch up – thanks to our friends at JDW and Purple Moose, clumps of Daffodil (and Red Beacons) will be popping up all over Wales next week!
The Six Beacons has currently sold out (as has the Three Beacons and the Daffodil!), but worry not, more is brewing as we speak, and should be available next week…
We’ll also have a presence (and a good selection of Welsh Beers) at the Luton Beer Festival this weekend – if you’re in the area, come across to the Hightown Sports Centre for a brilliant time! http://www.southbedscamra.org.uk/luton-beer-festival.php for more details…