Thursday, April 23, 2015

Welcome to The House of Fun - Brewing a Madness themed beer

Image courtesy of Revolutions Breing Co
By The Bloke from Hull
Was it really 33 years ago that I went to see Barrie, the record man on the market to buy an ex-jukebox copy of “House of Fun” by Madness? Well it must have been and I still have it, complete with picture sleeve and false centre. We always had to say: “got a middle for this mate?” It was released as a one-off single on April 30, 1982 and reached No.1 in the Hit Parade.
Memories of all this came flooding back when I spoke to Andrew and Mark from Revolutions Brewery at Wakefield CAMRA beer festival last November. They had already decided on the names of the beers for their 2015 Rewind Special series and offered me a choice to come and brew one. “House of Fun” jumped out at me as it about sums up my life at the moment. Several weeks later, Andrew showed me the pumpclip design on his phone and at that moment the pub we were in, The Victoria in Ossett, became just that as I had to put my drink down and roll around with laughter.
Based at Whitwood in Castleford, Revolutions make great music-inspired beers, wide ranging in styles and flavours that appeal to contemporary tastes and yet with a nod to the vinyl (and cassette) tradition of my youth. Classic songs, albums and artists are referenced throughout their beer range. Many are 4.5% ABV (including this one) reflecting their love of the 45rpm 7" single - younger readers take note and look on the internet, please.
Revolutions Head Brewer Andrew Helm
Winding on to February 18th this year, the brew day arrived and new apprentice Callum was soon busy weighing out the malts. Carafa 3 was used to provide a less intense flavour than usual to allow the chocolate malt to come through for flavour. Someone had done his homework, Andrew! Other notable grains added were roasted barley, chocolate malt and oats. 
After boiling for a couple of hours in the mash tun, the wort was transferred to the copper for a rolling boil. Pilgrim hops were added for bittering and then it was time for the magic ingredients. Lots of Lactose powder to make it marvellous and 3kg of Cacao Nibs from Peru, the land of footy World Cup legends Hugo Sotil, Teófilo Cubillas and Héctor Chumpitaz. I remember them well – I had the Subbuteo team. A search on the internet reveal that Cacao increases energy, vitality and well being through the release of anandamide, a bliss endowing compound. Who said beer is not good for you.
The wort was then rapidly cooled via the heat exchanger and transferred to the fermenter where the yeast was added to begin the final process (for the time being). A bit of clearing up and then it was refreshment time over at The Junction pub in Castleford where the guys told me that “our” beer was the most expensive beer they had ever made thanks to the fancy ingredients. No pressure then!!
After a week of waiting and wondering, Andrew contacted me to say that it was Ok. Such enthusiasm. He also instructed me to attend the beer launch at the up and coming Robin Hood pub at Altofts on March 11. The news went out and about and as the evening of the big day approached my worrying intensified. However, after one sip at the pub I was happy. 
A bloke & his beer at The Robin Hood, Altofts
The mocha milk stout brewed with my help/interference was pretty good. The Robin Hood was certainly a “House of Fun” that night.
But the story did not quite end there. The following day, I was working at Leeds CAMRA beer festival and our beer was on. Quality control revealed that it was still very good. Quite by chance I bumped into Ian Cheeseright, the pumpclip designer. What an honour! I abandoned my duties for a while as we chewed the cud over a pint or two. 
So thanks guys for making a wonderful beer and involving me. And no – I was not one of those embarrassed teenage lads who frequented chemist shops.
BFH

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