Tuesday 1 March 2016

A visit to Arkell's brewery

I was at an IBD event at Arkell's brewery the other week. We were there for a tasting of milds, porters and stouts. The ABV ranged from about 3.5% to 10.5% so it's a shame I was driving really. A small sip of the beer and then chucking the rest away seemed a touch blasphemous.

I did get to take lots of pictures though, and it's a wonderful old brewery.

I don't think there's any mythical story about Arkell's steam beer so I guess it was called a steam brewery because it was steam powered and they were proud of their cutting edge technology.

There's a man that doesn't have to drive home

The brewers talked about their beers but I'd forgotten my notebook so no scribbled details I'm afraid, though I do remember that Fuggles featured in a lot of the beers. As it's a very traditional ingredient I'm sure it will appeal to the craft beer fans. In the discussion there was some waxing lyrical about the wonders of Styrian goldings though, something about which I entirely concur.

The beer was had Styrians was Courage Imperial Russian Stout. I found it particularly painful limiting myself to one sip of this as I'd waited so long to see its latest incarnation. One of the brewers doesn't look totally enamoured with the taste though:

We also got to go on a tour, led by Alex Arkell.

The valentine arm caused some excitement, though I'm not convinced about them myself.

The mash tun still had cogs from when it was fitted with arms. In the days before sparging the grist would be mashed several times and needed mixing.

The mill is no doubt an antique. Every family brewery seems to have a hundred year old mill.

There was quite a range of fermenting vessels of different vintages.

The cask filler was new though.

The bottling line was modern too. At one point Arkell's did a lot of bottling, then it stopped completely, and now it's started again and is growing.

 It'll be cans and keykegs next, you mark my words.

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