Saturday, 28 May 2011

The launch of Welbeck Abbey Brewery

Welbeck Abbey Brewery Launches!

Tuesday 24th May saw the new Welbeck Abbey Brewery officially opened for real ale production. Bryan Jackson, Chairman of the East Midlands Development Agency, cut the red ribbon on the day. EMDA kindly provided a grant for the purpose-built building under the Rural Development Programme for England which has enabled the joint owners, The Welbeck Estates Company and Kelham Island Brewery, to design and build this state of the art micro-brewery.

(Above: Bryan Jackson, Chairman of EMDA, cutting the red ribbon)

Directors Robin Brown and David Wickett both spoke of their enthusiasm for the new venture, particularly as the real ale industry is booming. This is the newest addition to the rapidly growing ‘Welbeck Project’ which aims to establish a sustainable community in this historic rural estate, centred around the Arts, creative business, rural diversification and education.

We welcomed almost 100 people on the day, including a 50’s double decker bus full of guests from Sheffield which added a great sense of atmosphere and excitement to the day. After the official opening of the brewery, we headed to the Harley Gallery to sample the very first beer – ‘First Brew’ at 4.3%ABV, accompanied by fresh sandwiches from the Farm Shop. It was also Mr Wickett’s birthday, so we shared a very appropriate beer-related cake which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Claire ran two tours of the brewery to explain just what happens to make that delicious amber drink, both of which were well attended by the interested guests.

The beers which are brewed at Welbeck are made purely with Welbeck water, malted barley, hops, and our own fresh yeast. We do not use any refined sugars or artificial preservatives. The recipes are unique to this micro-brewery and are designed by head brewer Claire Monk, who was taught to brew at the award winning Kelham Island Brewery after studying Microbiology at The University of Sheffield. All the recipes and names are inspired by the deep and fascinating history of Welbeck Abbey.

Now that the Welbeck Abbey Brewery is fully up and running, the ales will be available in pubs between Sheffield, Lincoln, and Nottingham from the start of June. If you would like to try some at home, Claire will be hand bottling a small number for the Welbeck Farm Shop each week.

To get in touch and follow the progress of the brewery, you can contact Claire through Twitter: WelbeckAbbeyBry, Facebook: search for ‘Welbeck Abbey Brewery’, or Phone: 01909 512539. (Thats me on the right!)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Impending Brew Day

It seems as though this project has been going on for a very long time indeed, which is true, but I think we’re getting there.

Most of the vessels are in, we’re going to put in the conditioning tank today but once it’s in the right place that’s pretty much it done.

All the stainless pipework is finished and welded, it looks like a maze of pipes and I think it will take a couple of brews to get used to which line connects what to where!

The plastic pipework for the cooling system is being finished today. This will make sure we control the temperature of the beer accurately so that your pint is perfectly clear.

I’ve ordered the pump clips so I’ll put up the picture for you to see soon, and the bottling materials are here too. I’m only going to hand bottle a few a week for the farm shop at Welbeck, so if you want to drink it at home this will be the only place you can buy it. For now anyway!

I’m working in my new office by the way. I had commandeered and set up camp in one of the meeting rooms on the Welbeck Estate, but as I now have a desk/chair/kettle, I’ve moved into the brewery. It’s much better, and it means we’re getting closer to brew day.

Still very busy ringing pubs to get customers, I’m calling Nottingham today which is a brilliant real ale area. Any suggestions, as always, just let me know.