Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Brewery to Bar - Brewing a Champion Beer

I was recently was given the opportunity and great honour to assist with the brewing of 1872 Porter at Elland Brewery. Here’s what happened.

With an amazing range of beers and the 1872 Porter in particular, it was a bit of a long shot that I approached Brewery Manager, Mike Hiscock in mid March to visit the brewery and possibly assist with the brewing of their Champion beer. Unbelievably he agreed and it came to pass that on Tuesday 24th March 2015 I arrived down at the brewery ready for action.

Head brewer of around two years Michael Wynnyczuk had already been very busy at his 10 BBL plant, having begun the brewing process before 7a.m. He had begun the mashing process. A specially selected range of chocolate, brown, amber and Maris Otter malts were added together with brewing sugar to provide its fantastic flavours. Later Target and Northdown hops were added.

I had first met Michael when he was the brewer at Burley Street brewery in Leeds. We both recalled this and it was great to meet him again especially under these circumstances. I thanked him for allowing me to interfere. All the usual processes took place, mashing, running off, boiling and final transfer to the fermenting vessels where the house yeast was added. Oh – and not forgetting the cleaning. It was like being a kiddie in a sweet shop. Was it really happening? It sure was. Michael gave me the gyle number (2358) and it was then watch and wait time for about two weeks to then go and sample the beer.


In the meantime Elland brewery had, as winner of CAMRA's Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2015 for 1872 Porter, requested that their recent National CAMRA award be presented at the Junction pub in Castleford. And why you might ask? Well Maureen and Neil are great supporters of the brewery, the Junction is the Wakefield CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year and because they only serve cask beers from the wood. And so on the 9th April 2015 I arrived at the Junction for the presentation event and asked Neil if I could take a peek at the cask in the cellar. And woo hoo! It was batch 2358. My favourite beer - in my favourite pub - in the wood. Neil even allowed me to pull my pint. I asked to be woken up from my dream but apparently it was all true and I have the photos to prove it. A reet honour indeed!!


Thanks to all the guys at the brewery for their hospitality, to Michael in particular for putting up with my witterings and of course Maureen and Neil at the Junction for indulging my madness. King George had nothing on me.
David Litten

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