Peakender

This weekend I took a little jaunt up to Bakewell for Thornbridge brewery’s annual Peakender festival. The rain tried its hardest to dampen our spirits on the Friday night, but plenty of people still turned out to listen to the bands and the meet the brewer sessions. We had the pleasure of catching Emma Inch’s tasting session with Dominic Driscoll of Thornbridge brewery. Highlight for me was their Serpent collaboration with Brooklyn brewery, although I found myself alternating between Green Mountain and Lukas for most of the weekend.

The festival is billed as family festival and it was really good to see people in the industry attending with their families. The event as a whole is a very relaxed affair, much less beer geeky than a lot of festivals, and very much in keeping with the chilled out surroundings of the dales.

On Saturday we wandered up to Thornbridge brewery itself to have a nose at all their shiny kit and grab a bottle of Serpent for ourselves. The packaging line they have is absolutely incredible, it’s no wonder the quality of their small pack beer is so good. In the evening we caught the end of a typically raucous Yeastie Boys meet the brewer, with Stu leading a Conga line of people, Pied Piper like, back to his car to get some samples of their new beer.

On Sunday we’ve made our escape in the van to a quiet site in the Dales where I’m sat writing this with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, trying to distract myself from all the work I need to do. Tomorrow we’re off for a visit to Round Corner brewery in Melton Mowbray on the way home - expect another blog post and some photos tomorrow!

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James Hayward
THANET BEER FESTIVAL.
 
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We had a fun weekend at the Wintergardens in Margate for Thanet CAMRA's Easter Beer Festival. Helen and James helped out with CAMRA's learning and development stand introudcing people to the differences in flavour percieved when beer is served in cask and keykeg, as well introducing people to a whole range of brewing ingredients. The idea was well received by attendees and gave us a good opportunity to meet plenty of new people.

 
GREEN HOP.

We are very excited to be brewing our first ever Green Hop beer next week. We will be brewing an amber ale using fresh Kent Grown Bullion hops. 

This brew is particularly special to us as it will be named for our friend Alan Pretious who passed away at the turn of the year. Alan was a dear friend to all of us at Iron Pier and a big supporter of us when we were setting the brewery up. Alan was particularly a fan of red ales and darker beers so we are using a fairly malt forward base, made up of Marris Otter, Oats and some speciality Crystal Malts.

The hops themselves will be from Hukins Hops in Tenterden. We would expect the Bullion to display notes of oranges, dark fruits, and often a little pine as well. We are excited to see what this years harvest will bring and will update you with photos on the day.

 

James Hayward
FYNEFEST AND OTHER DAYS OUT.
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It’s been a busy week at Iron Pier - happily I've been well out of it and instead I've been drinking beer at Fynefest in Scotland! This is the second year I've been and the festival was even better than it was last year. Beer highlights came in the form of a farmhouse saison from Bionoc from Italy that was hugely drinkable, Fyne ales/De Molen's Cold Brew Mills and Hills collaboration, and Deya's super refreshing Raspberry Berliner Weisse. 

Sadly I had to be back in the brewery Friday to prepare for the St Christopher's Food Festival at Green Street Green. I did however manage to drop in on some Manchester breweries on the way home. Staying near Torrside brewery, who's crazy Tikka Spiced Pale collaboration with Bexar County was surprisingly drinkable, we took the train into Manchester to have a look around Cloudwater Brewery and dropped into Track and Blackjack as well. 

Cloudwater Brewery

Cloudwater Brewery

James Hayward
TAPROOM, BREWERY AND WHOLESALE.
 
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It’s been a whirlwind couple of months at Iron Pier. From out initial Taproom launch and first brews in January to getting our first wholesale pallets of beer in from Moor beer, its been an exciting couple of months. We've had some teething problems with our brewkit but we've been able to put those problems behind us thanks to local company Lynx Engineering.

The first brew of our Bitter sold out really quickly and we're coming up for our third brew of that beer. Our English Pale and American pale have been selling really quickly too, with local pubs coming back time and again. Being a bit bigger, our Porter has been getting some attention from the beer geeks out there which is good. 

The Taproom is working well as a place to showcase our beer and has gained a regular crowd on a Friday and Saturday night. We are currently brewing some small batch specials just for the Taproom. These will include another Sour beer, a single hopped Ernest Saison and possibly also a Banana Stout (brewed without using Bananas...)

The wholesale side of the business has proved popular, allowing people to take a range of beers from ourselves, Moor Beer, Gadd's Ramsgate Brewery and Brightside Brewery. 

We're off to sell some beer to some pubs, hope you all have a good week!

 
BEER AFTER CHRISTMAS?

Soooo... We managed to get some beer out before Christmas thanks to the generosity of the good people at Bexley Brewery. Our English Pale went out to a limited selection of stockists before Chirstmas and was generally well received. We also managed to get a brew in on our own kit before Christmas, which was much less of a success. There were various issues with the equipment during the brew day, which were largely surmountable if frustrating. We put the beer in cask just after Christmas, however due to some issues with the fermentor design (which, considering how much experience our supplier has is massively frustrating) we didn't feel the beer was suitable for sending out to the world at large. We have kept a few casks to see what happens with them, but have had to dump the rest of the batch as it would be irresponsible to send beer out to customers with an unpredictable yeast count in the cask.

Our supplier will be coming to rectify the issues with the brew kit next week and hopefully that will allow us to get back on track with the brewery side of the operation. We also have a couple of additional tanks arriving early January,

Whilst this has been happening we have been working hard to get the Taproom ready for customers. We were aiming for a pre Christmas launch, however due to the brew kit delays, we decided it would be better to focus on getting the taproom in a more complete state before opening our doors to the public. We are currently on track for a mid January opening and will be serving out English Pale and some experimental beers. We also hope to have some beer in tank by then to show you during brewery tours.

 

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James HaywardComment
BEER BEFORE CHRISTMAS?

Unfortunately we have hit some delays waiting for the burner to be fitted to our brewery, luckily however, the good people at Bexley Brewery have come to our rescue and allowed us to brew beer at their place this week. Its been interesting trying to shuttle samples back to Iron Pier for lab tests (in a lab thats lacking a wall or two at the moment) but all seems to be progressing well with the beer, which should go into cask early next week. An English Pale brewed using a variety of hops, including Admiral and First Gold, the initial results are promising.

The plan for the coming weeks is to get the Taproom to a point where we can open the bar with our English Pale, plus a few beers from some of our friends, before Christmas. If we are lucky the burner will be fitted next week and we can begin testing the kit with an eye to producing beers for launching after Christmas. 

 

Those of you that attended the Pigs Ear Beer Festival (East London and City CAMRA) this week may have had the chance to try a collaboration between ourselves and 40FT Brewery. DeeperHood is a stout brewed with Tamarind and Coffee Husks. 

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James Hayward
AN OVERDUE UPDATE.

Its been quite a long time since we've updated the blog. A lot has happened recently and we are getting closer to being able to announce an opening date. The brewery is now in place and we are waiting on the burner being delivered for the kettle before we can get the whole thing commissioned. We are still hopeful of being able to brew beer on site sometime before Christmas.

 

 

James Hayward
PROGRESS.

We've been working hard over the last month to get the brewery building into shape for the floors to be laid, which will happen next week. Walls have been knocked down, drains installed and kitchens moved. Electrical circuits have been removed and new ones installed, not least of all for the large cold store chillers.

In the background we are also in the process of having our pumpclips designed for our first few beers, T shirt logos designed and our new temperature controlled van should be delivered in the next couple of weeks. 

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We begin work next week on building the insulated walls and ceiling for the cold store. We will also install the brewery's electrical control systems and installing the Glycol cooling loop for when the fermenters are installed later in the month. All this is working towards being up and brewing sometime in November, and also wholesaling other peoples beer alongside our own, with the Taproom opening sometime before Christmas.

 

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FIRST DAY
 
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We have some keys! First day was spent drawing up a plan of attack, but expect some photos of our progress in the coming weeks. Our 24hl brewhouse is on order and the modifications to the building will begin soon. Insulating the cold store is the first thing on the agenda so that we are ready to have the chiller unit installed in a couple of weeks time. Walls need to come down and floors need to be laid, all in time for the brewery to be delivered towards the back end of the year.