September’s session took a slightly unexpected turn as we were graciously invited to attend the new Brewhouse & Kitchen pub in Chester (http://www.brewhouseandkitchen.com/venue/chester-2/) on their soft opening night! In the place of the old Lloyd’s pub The Forest House now sits a brand spanking new pub complete with a very shiny microbrewery downstairs! We were lucky enough to spend an hour or so chatting with the Head Brewer from the Southbourne site about all things brewing and having a nosy around at the big boys toys all whilst drinking some of the beer that will be brewed on it in the future! Brilliant!
Once all the fun was over and the beer was drunk it was back to Cellar Bar for this months homebrew tasting!
Ben (S): Smoked Chipotle Porter
Top Rope Brewing (Ben J and Neil): Rye IPA
Guy: Green-hopped Pale Ale, Cascade Pale Ale
Charlie: Limoncello Wheat Beer, British Summer Fruit Ale
Andy: Coopers Cerveza Kit
… and that was September sorted! We didn’t get chance to discuss a winter competition so hopefully we’ll pick that up next month. In a change to the normal schedule though, we’ll be holding our October Meeting on November 3rd at Brewhouse & Kitchen to coincide with their first homebrewers evening. It’s a 7pm start too so don’t be late!
Obviously the July meeting turned out to be so cataclysmically brilliant that I forgot to write it up on the website! Ho-hum…
… but anyway! Onwards to August!
August was a very quiet affair with just myself, Charlie, and the Top Rope Brewing guys Neil and Ben who were enjoying their final visit as ‘just’ homebrewers! The small crowd didn’t detract from the occasion though and another brilliantly varied selection of beers were available.
Ben (S): Jasmine’s IPA, Black Jai-P-A, Steam Beer
Top Rope Brewing (Ben J and Neil): Aw Here It Goze, Overkill IPA, Ryecentenial Brown Ale and AB Pale
After the excitement of travelling to Liverpool last month June was back to a good ol’ straight forward homebrew tasting session. Joining us this month were Barry (from http://www.homebrewboat.co.uk), who just happened to be moored on the canal around the corner from the Cellar Bar, Barry (from the boat next door) and Barry’s dog Rico, and also Joshua from Chester’s Homebrew Shop (http://www.chesterbrewing.co.uk).
Proceedings started with the presentation of Charlie’s prize for winning the Liverpool Brewdog competition last month. A bottle of Stone’s Brett aged IPA. Very nice indeed!
The Beer List
Another brilliant selection of beers this month which was headed up by Ben and Neil from Liverpool homebrew club showcasing some of the beer line up for their shiny new commercial brewery, Top Rope Brewing! Good luck guys (but based on the quality of these offerings you won’t need much luck to become successful pro-brewers!)
Ben (S): Hefeweizen and Pilsner
Top Rope Brewing (Ben J and Neil): Orange Soda Goze, Overkill IPA and the 4 Horsemen of the Choc-opalypse.
Neil: 5AM Saint Clone
Charlie: Cherry Kriek, Basil & Chestnut Wheat
Guy: Pale Ale (Fuggles & Bramling X) and English IPA
Mark: Chocolate & Coffee Milk Stout
… and that was June done and dusted. Thanks to our guests for joining in the fun and hopefully we’ll sort something special out for a future meeting.
We’re back at Cellar Bar on July 28th for another ‘mostly normal’ tasting session. See you there!
May saw us cancel our normal Thursday evening session and embark on a road trip to Brewdog Liverpool to enter their homebrew competition. Three hardened drinkers selfless volunteers (Chris, Guy and myself) made the trip and transported a total of five Cheshire Brew Crew beers to be entered!
Ben S: Black Jai-P-A and Orange & Amarillo Saison
Charlie: Barrel-aged Smoked Cherry Imperial Stout
Guy: Russian Imperial Stout and Pale Ale
The lone (due to the other judge not turning up!!) judge Terry (of Liverpool Craft Brewery) took on the daunting task of sampling all 49 entries singlehandedly! It would have been amazing to have been able to get score sheets and detailed tasting notes for our entries, but under the circumstances just tasting all the beers was going to be a mammoth task for one judge! Good effort sir!
The winners of the categories are as follows:
SESSION Cascova Mild, Ben Jackson WHEAT Honey & Chamomile Wit, Alex Monks IPA Mild Rat Brown IPA, Andrew Jardine PORTER/STOUT Barrel-aged Smoked Cherry Imperial Stout, Charlie Houlbrook STRONG English Barley Wine, Ben Jackson OPEN Brown Ale, Neil Rothwell
And the overall Champion Beer was….
Barrel-aged Smoked Cherry Imperial Stout, Charlie Houlbrook
Boom! Congratulations Charlie!
We tasted this beer for the first time back in the January Meeting when it was by far the best beer of the night. It was amazing back then and now four months on it deservedly gets some ‘official’ recognition! We told you it was good Charlie!
Overall it was a fantastic day out. Thanks needs to go to Brewdog for organising and hosting the event and also to Ben (and family), Neil and the other Liverpool homebrewers for making us feel so welcome! Cheers!
And for now, we’re back to normal for June’s meeting on the 30th. (Probably)
The April meet was a quieter affair following the excitement of March’s competition and through some spectacular planning on my part I went on holiday and left the guys to it!
Ben J- American Honey Porter (5%) and Hoppy Brown Saison (7%).
Neil R – Rye Centennial Brown (7%)
Guy- Honey Porter and Milk Stout.
Charlie – Barrel aged Sorachi Ace Saison (no ginger) 5.4%.
Normal service to be resumed next month. Well… I say normal… we’re actually off to Brewdog Liverpool to take part in their homebrew competition!
March saw the judging of our Recipe Roulette competition set back in January. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen circumstances and a couple of last minute drop outs only five beers made it to the judges table. A crack panel of independent judges was then recruited to provide feedback on the entries and after 2 hours of scrutinising each beer the scores were counted and the results announced…
Champion: Amarillo & Orange Saison – 387 points – Ben (S)
Runner Up: Chinook & (Orange) Tea Pale Ale – 356 points – Neil
3rd place: Northern Brewer & Vanilla Cream Ale – 341 – Ben (J)
4th place: Sorachi Ace & Ginger Saison – 328 points – Charlie
5th place: Cascade & Chocolate Stout – 250 points – Chris W
1st place prize consisted of £20 Cellar Bar vouchers, £25 Malt Miller voucher, a Grainfather T-Shirt and 15 packs of Mangrove Jacks yeast!
And the Runner Up took away £10 Cellar bar voucher, a Grainfather keyring and a £25 BrewUK voucher.
Not bad at all! Plus all the brewers got to spend the evening drinking each others competition entries and it’s fair to say that all of the beers submitted were great and the brewers didn’t have a bad word to say about any of them! There were also a selection of other beers brought along by Guy and Mark.
March’s Other Beers:
Guy: Russian Imperial Stout
Mark: American Pale Ale kit, Centennial & Nelson Extract and an AG Best Bitter
Overall our first club competition was a success and went off pretty much without a hitch! Thank you very much to Cellar Bar, Malt Miller, Brew UK and iMake for their very generous donations to the prize pots! We’ll definitely be planning another competition for the Autumn/Winter season… watch this space for details!
Though for now it is back to normal for April, see you on the 28th for a nice simple bottle swap! Cheers!
February’s meeting had the potential to be a quiet one after setting the Recipe Roulette competition last month and arranging for it to be judged next month. Fortunately though we had Mark from iMake come down to give a quick demo of a very shiny Grainfather system. The general consensus amongst the brewers was that it looked like a very well made piece of kit and had as small enough footprint to enable All Grain brewing in even the smallest of flats/sheds/cupboards! At around £650 it was also decent value as parts of the kit (particularly the counter-flow chiller) were very good quality to be included at that price!
Mark, being the fine gentleman that he is, also brought in a great selection of Mangrove Jacks yeasts to add to the competition prizes for next month… and if that wasn’t enough he also came with a couple of bottles of his own homebrewed Mild and Porter for us to taste (and very good they were too!). What a guy!
We also had a guest appearance from Ben Jackson who co-runs the Liverpool Homebrewers Club. Ben brought along his White IPA, an American IPA and also a Milk Coffee Stout. Ben is a Barista by trade so had really gone to town on the coffee he used in the Stout and it certainly made all the difference. A cracking beer and would have got my vote for “Beer of the Night” although this time around we actually forgot to vote for it!
The Beer List
It was another varied selection of beers this month. Charlie went to town and brought 4 different fruit beers. Even through three came from the same base beer each was very different from the others. My Black IPA was a little young but just about ready, Pete’s Hefeweisen was a very nice example and Guy brought along a Pilsner brewed from a kit with a couple of modifications – he wasn’t totally happy with how it had turned out but wanted the groups ‘expert‘ (cough!) opinions as to what may have gone wrong! Lots of advice was given and hopefully we helped him in the right direction. We’re looking forward to more testing in a couple of months!
Ben (S): Black IPA
Ben (J): White IPA, American IPA and Milk Coffee Stout
Charlie: Apple & Grape Wit, Apricot, Passionfruit & Physalis Wit, Raspberry Wit and a Raspbery Lambic
Mark: Mild and a Porter
… and so that was February out of the way, much busier than expected! We will be back on March 31st for the judging of the Recipe Roulette competition, prize giving and of course… more great Beer! See you then!
January 28th 2016 saw the final meeting of the Brewdoo Homebrew Club and Chester Brew Crew (boooo!), but fortunately, otherwise this would have been a very short blog, it also signified the first meeting of something even more awesome…
Cheshire Brew Crew was born! (huzzah!)
Somewhat strangely for the members of both groups a healthy dollop of ‘organisation’ was injected into this meeting. Contact details were collected to allow for easier communication in the future, the new club name was agreed, the inaugural Spring Competition was set and we even still had time left over to sample ten of the best homebrewed beers being drunk in Cheshire that evening! 10! Brilliant!
Spring 2016 Competition
The first Cheshire Brew Crew Spring Competition was named ‘Recipe Roulette’. Each member picked at random a Hop and an Additive. The Hops were fairly straight forwards but the additives came from a very varied selecting which included Coffee, Chilli, Basil, Tea, Star Anise amongst others! It will be down to the participants as to whether they brew a full All Grain batch of their beer, or brew from a kit. They can pick whatever style of beer they wish, with just one specification:
The finished beer must taste of BOTH your ingredients
Luckily for most of the entrants (and our guest judges) there were no truly shocking sounding combinations pulled out the hat, though there are a couple that may prove a little challenging!
Ben: Amarillo & Orange Peel
Neil: Chinook & Tea
Bill: Citra & Star Anise
Charlie: Sorachi Ace & Ginger
Chris W: Cascade & Chocolate
Pete: Galena & Coffee
Chris B: Galaxy & Oak Chips
Lloyd: Fuggles & Liquorice
Greg: Northern Brewer & Vanilla
The competition will be judged at the March meeting on 31st March and there are a selection of prizes up for grabs kindly donated by the folks at Malt Miller, BrewUK and iMake (who make the Grainfather)(it’s not a Grainfather – sorry!)
The Beer List
Of course the main focus of the night was Beer! A varied selection of samples was provided for tasting and without exception they were all great examples of what can be produced from the comfort of your own home!
Ben: Brewers Gold SMASH and Jasmine IPA
Bill: Honey IPA
Pete: Cascade Pale Ale
Charlie: US-Hefeweisen and a Cherry Smoked Imperial stout
Chris W: American Pale Ale (Columbus, Cascade, Chinook)
Lloyd: American Pale Ale (Amarillo, Columbus, Falconers Flight) and a Stout
Pete also brought along a bottle of Brimstage Breweries 1000th Brew Special Edition for us to try. There is no doubt in my mind that the Cherry Smoked Imperial Stout from Charlie was the “Beer of the Night”. It was an absolutely amazing combination of ingredients and definitely something that I have been inspired to attempt in the future. Well done that man!
In the beginning there was beer. Beer was good. – Extract from the Gospel of Beer.
Welcome to the new shiny homepage for the Cheshire Brew Crew.
We are a homebrew club based at Cellar Bar in Chester, Cheshire and have been formed as a merger between two local homebrew clubs the Brewdoo Homebrew Club and Chester Brew Crew. Created initially in 2013/14 we now meet regularly (on the last Thursday of the month, 7:30pm) to share our beers, knowledge, recipes, beers, tips, advice, beers and generally talk all things beer and homebrewing related! The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot there is a recurring theme there!
We are always keen to welcome new members to the club so if you are already an established homebrewer or are just interested in taking your first steps into probably the most addictive hobby out there then please drop us a line or pop down to our next meeting and say hello! Chances are there’s a beer in it for you!