Anyone who says brewing a beer is all fun and frolics has never tried to clean a mash tun. That being said, we did enjoy ourselves last weekend when we had our hand at bringing a beer to life at Brewhouse & Kitchen, Chester.
We were invited to brew a beer with the head brewer Matthew Lloyd on one of their Brewery Experience Days – which literally take all day. Matt makes sure you get your hands and clothes dirty and you’ll definitely break a sweat but it’s all worth it – you’ll be watered and fed during the day and at the end of it, you’ll get your very own 5-litre mini keg of your chosen B&K beer.
It was an early rise for a Saturday (we were expected at 10am) but thank heavens we were greeted with fresh bacon sarnies and some super-charged coffee to kick-start our day. We started with a leisurely lesson on the brewing process and examining the ingredients; hops, malts, water and yeast. Matt made sure we had a sufficient fiddle with the dry ingredients before we measured them, and made a start on the brew.
Brewing a beer:
Cons: Really hard work.
Pros: You get to drink beer all day.
No, seriously, you get to drink beer all day. We were served a constant stream of different beers from the B&K brewery. Obviously they were served in halves because, well, we wouldn’t have been much help after so much beer in the end and Matt would have ended up brewing the beer all by himself. We did totally help.
On a completely unrelated note, if you book one of these Experience Days, you should know that skiving will not be tolerated, especially when cleaning the mash tun. It will result in you climbing into to the said tun to clean it.
Halfway through the day we were served some lunch from a special Brewday menu, which mostly consists of burgers, and then more burgers, with the occasional fish & chips and risotto thrown in. You seriously do not understand how starving you are until you sit down and start eating, so obviously you’ve worked hard. That’s what we keep telling ourselves anyway.
After lunch we hit the brewery again for more beers, and to put the final touches to the beer – and to hash out any questions we had. We had loads, and Matt was ever so patient answering our increasingly tipsy and confusing queries. Thanks, dude.
So what’s the Brewery Experience Day like all in all? It’s bloody hard work, it takes all day (we were there from 10am until gone 5pm) but it’s super rewarding and it gives you a completely different appreciation towards your favourite tipple.
And what did we brew? Ok – we’ll tell you cos we’re friends. The beer recipe we brewed was a collaboration between B&K and Innis & Gunn, and it’s a dark Christmas beer and you can enjoy it once it’s done its thing – which will be aging it at the end of the fermentation in an authentic Jim Bean barrel all the way from ‘Murica.
So there we are. That was our day on Saturday. Give B&K some much deserved love online, OK?