This time last year we were mourning the demise of the Brewdoo Homebrew club and Chester Brew Crew, and celebrating the creation of the Cheshire Brew Crew! A year! Doesn’t time fly when you are drinking having fun?
After the success of last years competition this January we decided to set it up again and Recipe Roulette II was born! The same rules and randomly picked ingredients as last time but this year, thanks to the interest of the Black Lodge Brew Club (@liv_homebrew ), we have increased the participants for 2017 to 20 entries!
Ben: Simcoe & Chilli
Neil: Hallertauer & Chamomile
Guy: Citra & Oak Chips
Charlie: Saaz & Salt
Chris W: Pioneer & Grains of Paradise
Nick W: Centennial & Peppercorns
Mark: Galena & Fruit
Dave: Amarillo & Star Anise
Ed: Goldings & Chocolate
Simon: First Gold & Coriander Seeds
Lol (Liv): Northern Brewer & Cinnamon
Ken (Liv): Fuggles & Cardamom
Andy (Liv): Galaxy & Orange Peel
Ron (Liv): Cascade & Tea
Pete (Liv): Chinook & Coffee
Damian (Liv): Ahtanum & Juniper Berries
Steve (Liv): Motueka & Heather Flowers
Andrew (Liv): Sorachi Ace & Vanilla
The competition will be judged at the March meeting on Thursday 30th March and the prize pot up for grabs currently includes donations from Malt Miller, BrewUK, Cellar Bar and a goodie bag from the guys at Grainfather!
Once all the messing about with the competition entries was out of the way we could crack on with the main event! Beers! Another brilliant selection was brought in this month with Charlie yet again making a strong push for the unofficial ‘longest beer name’ award with his Imperial Salted Vanilla Smoked Milk Stout! We also welcomed Dave who was joining us for the first time this month and brought along a lovely citrusy IPA hopped with Olicana – not a hop I or many of the group had used before, and a Robust smoked Porter he had brewed on his Grainfather system. Both were very nice beers – he can come back next month!
It was an extremely close run thing voting for the Brew of the Month as the quality of this months selection was so high. Ed’s Black Double IPA just pipped everyone to the post (by 1 vote)! Congratulations to Ed on another quality offering!
And that was January done! We’re back at Cellar Bar on February 23rd to see how everybody is getting on with their competition brews! See you there!
Clearly there is no better way to spend a cold November evening than getting together with a bunch of like-minded people and sink a few good beers! That certainly seemed to be the case this month as we had 10 people down for the November meeting bringing with them an amazing selection of beers.
Top Rope Brewing: ‘Born to Lose’- New England Session IPA
Amongst all the beers above, Charlie pushed the boat out again with an amazing Zadar Croatian Honey & Maraschino Imperial Stout – where does he get these ideas from?? I brought along my 2015 Russian Imperial Stout that was now 18 months in the bottle (and significantly better behaved than the gushers we tried to sample last November!) and Mark supplied two Saisons – the first was a Rye Saison full of spicy peppery notes and the latter was a tropical New Zealand Saison crammed with fruity hoppy amazingness! It was a tough call to pick an overall beer of the night, but I think the Tropical Saison just about got the most plaudits in the end!
December’s meeting falls in the week between Christmas and New Year so the exact dates will be confirmed nearer to the time!
Like all good brewing magpies the lure of the shiny copper brewery we saw last month at Brewhouse & Kitchen meant that instead of holding our own normal evening, we postponed for a week and attended the B&K Homebrewers session instead.
The evening was hosted by Matt, the Head Brewer of the Chester site, who gave us a full run down of the setup there and their plans for the future before joining us for a good ol’ beer tasting session!
Welcome to newcomer Ed who brought along 3 beers which he had brewed for his wedding earlier in the year! All three were excellent beers and the general consensus was that the Blood Orange IPA was the beer of the night.
Back to normal for Novembers meet. Cellar Bar, 24th November, see you there!
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!