The Bloke from Hull writes...
In early November Dale Palmer from the Imperial Brewery at Mexborough contacted me asking if I would come along to the brewery to collaborate with him to brew a couple of beers for his club’s “New Brewery” beer festival in December. One was to be a Christmas beer brewed on the main kit whilst the other was to be a special on the pilot plant to celebrate the life of my late partner Maggie.
I originally got to know Dale as I sometimes called into the club for a few pints whilst breaking my return journeys to Hull when visiting my Mum in Sheffield. The club soon had a brewery and it was a pleasure to call in to try the latest creations. One in particular sticks in my mind – Hop Monster which most certainly lived up to its name. It was a beautiful beer not for the faint hearted but definitely a must for hopheads like me. Wowee!! Thereafter I additionally attended Dale’s regular new brewery beer festivals at the club and was only too pleased to sometimes assist with information to secure new and interesting beers.
And so to brew day: Wednesday, 19th November, 19. We had discussed possible recipes previously but not finalised anything and so we made it up there and then, although, I suspect that Dale’s experience guided us towards something suitable as opposed to the tangential offerings my head had dreamed up.
In decreasing quantity order, Maris Otter, Lager, Vienna, Caramalt and Crystal Rye malts were added to the hot liquor in the mash tun and sparged for 75 minutes. The resulting wort was then transferred to the copper. Hops were then added at various intervals for bittering and aroma, namely Columbus, Simcoe, Chinook and a substantial quantity of Topaz.
After a 60 minute boil the wort was transferred via heat exchanger to the fermenting vessel where the yeast was pitched in. A small quantity was diverted off to the mini kit for the one-off Marvellous Maggie where more hops (Mount Hood, Nugget, Perle, and Warrior) were added to make something rather special.
After a busy day with Dale all there was for me to do as quality controller was nowt but retire gracefully (a first time for everything) and wait for the beers appear at the Imperial Beer festival a few weeks later.
The day of truth duly arrived on December 6 and with trepidation at first, I ordered one each of Spirit of Christmas and Marvellous Maggie. I need not have worried. Both weighed in at 6% ABV and fittingly packed powerful punches with the latter being a right hop bomb of a beer. A fine tribute indeed!
Later that month, the Spirit of Christmas appeared on the bars of some more of my favourite drinking establishments – most notably The Chequers Micropub in Beverley, The Butchers Dog in Driffield and The Market Place Deli in Doncaster.
Thanks to Dale for coming up with and executing the idea (rather than me) and for his patience.