In 2014 we are lucky enough to have an array of fantastic beers brewed for us by independent microbreweries across the UK. Here in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire we are no different, in fact we are fortunate enough to have a number of superb breweries and bars right on our doorstep. One of which is the Lymestone Brewery in Stone where myself and my trip buddy (we didn’t have to hold hands) were able to spend half a day learning about the brewing process with Brad (and Sparky the dog).
Theory, method and apparatus
Dealing with the finished product of beer every day I surprisingly didn’t know the detail of all the processes needed to make it and I was desperate to increase my knowledge of different beers and what goes into them.
We were shown the processes which on first look seem simple, Heat, transfer, add, filter, transfer, heat… It turns out it is not that simple, the process itself needs to be followed much like a recipe with precise temperatures throughout. I found the most fascinating thing about the brewing process to be the ingredients which also at first seem simple, water, yeast, hops, and malt. However there are an extensive number of varieties of hops and malts which you can mix and match to produce an unfathomable number of different tasting beers using the impressive if not slightly confusing equipment.
We were brewing Stone the Crows
a dark, strong beer with a beautiful aroma and just as well as brewing is thirsty work. We saw first-hand the amount of work that goes into creating our favourite beers, and let me tell you it is not easy. We got to see the glamorous side to brewing, but behind the scenes a huge amount of work was being done to keep the equipment clean and keep the brewery running smoothly.
A million questions and photographs later (sorry Brad) it was time to leave. It was a fantastic trip, more interesting than school and none of the homework but I’m sure we can manage a drink at the bar, thanks Brad and Viv!