Our Brewery Shop & Taproom is now open daily from 10am, Buy Beer Direct from the Brewery, we have our range of individual bottles and Gift sets, MINI 5Ltr Casks, 20ltr Bag in Boxes, 4pint Take home Bottles, along with 2 Cask & 3 Keg beers to drink on site in our Tap room (Temp for now with a much bigger permanent onsite Tap coming soon)
Come and say Hi and Buy Beer Direct from the Brewery 10am- 10pm (please call 01260 274788 after 6pm on weekdays to ensure we are still open)
Now the Christmas season is fast approaching, The Cheshire Brewhouse is getting ready for the push up to the big day by attending lots of Christmas Markets. We want to be part of this special time of year, making sure everyone has a quality drink to help your Christmas celebrations with friends, family and loved ones go with a bang.
We enjoy being out there spreading the word and meeting people.
We really enjoy being out there, spreading the word and meeting as many of you lovely people as possible. With this in mind, we’re scattering throughout the North West to attend lots of Christmas markets and fairs in the coming weeks.
Please do come and meet us on our “The Cheshire Brewhouse” stands, while we’re out spreading seasonal greetings and cheer. We have a huge range on offer, including some award winning bottled craft beers, lagers and some specially sourced ciders. We also have some superb Christmas gift packs for that special craft beer lover in your life or to spoil yourself with.
Our schedule is pretty full on, so if you can, please do come and meet us, we want to meet as many of our customers as possible.
Christmas Market in The Grosvenor Centre, Chester – 28th November to Sunday 4th December
Christmas Village in Elsmere Port from Wednesday 30th November to the 22nd December
Christmas Market, Sandbach, Cheshire – Friday 2nd December
Birchwood Park Christmas Market, Warrington – 15th December.
Dane’ish, our British Hopped Keller bier style pilsner won a SIBA Bronze award in the Small Pack Premium Lager and Pilsners group, We brew Dane’ish using Water drawn from aquifers at the side of the River Dane near Rushton Spencer and use Lager Malt, Munich malt, Wheat and Carapils, then heavily Hop with all British Hops: Pilgrim, Epic, Boadicea and Goldings. Dane’ish is fermented with a true bottom-fermenting lager yeast for 14 days, before being lagered for at least six weeks. When ready, we do our own bottling in-house at the brewery. Our Lager Malts come from Crisp Maltings and Weyermann coupled with the finest British hops from the hop-shires of Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Kent. Finally, we add a generous amount of aroma hops near the end of the boil. Dane’ish has rapidly grown in popularity and is firm, bitter and crisp, but holds a floral and grassy bouquet, making it the perfect partner for many foods, such as with a warming Chilli or Pork with star anise.
The Dane’ish SIBA Bronze award closely follows the two-star Great Taste award from earlier in the year. Dane’ish is a popular product, and seen as a modern classic lager.
Govinda East India Pale Ale
Govinda Chevallier Edition East India Pale Ale also scooped a SIBA Bronze award in the premium strong beers category. Govinda is brewed to an authentic 1830’s recipe, which is followed as closely as possible to the original methods used in Victorian times. Govinda is exclusively made from Cheshire Water, heritage variety Chevallier Malt and masses of British Golding hops. Creating Govinda is a big time-commitment and takes a lot of brewing, with a long brew-day of at least 14-hours. Once fermented, Govinda goes in oak barrels to age for approximately six months, before being bottled in-house, at the brewery. Govinda is a Vegan friendly product, created without adding any artificial ingredients, including fining agents.
The 2016 SIBA North West Beer Competition was held on weds 12th October at The Macron Stadium home to Bolton Wanderers FC, Judges were made up of fellow brewers, supplier associates, members of the press, local CAMRA members and beer enthusiasts.
Beers judged on the day consisted of 175 Cask entries and 82 Small Pack entries.
The Cheshire Brewhouse strives to produce the best beer possible and is on a continual journey of improvement. We are always looking maximise the appeal of our small batch artisan beer. With this in mind, we have taken the decision to make completely Isinglass-free Cask Beer. We have now removed Isinglass finings from the brewing process for our cask beers. However, we have always been fish-product-free on our bottled and keg beer’s.
Cask beer now Isinglass free
We want everyone to enjoy our cask beers, so have made the decision to completely remove Isinglass from all our cask beer, this allows us to cater for vegetarian and vegan customers.
To get to this point, we undertook extensive research and trials to find a suitable process to produce cask beers without the use of Isinglass Finings. The Cheshire Brewhouse is now happy to announce that we now have a suitable process, allowing us to produce a high-quality, Isinglass-free beer.
During the research and testing phase, we found an Isinglass-free process that allows us to produce the same high quality beer that we believe is as good, if not a higher quality in cask. Our fish-free process has produced a beer as bright and visually appealing as it was using Isinglass, and, as an added benefit we, believe that our beers now have a fuller flavour and aroma without the fish-derived, Isinglass, ingredient.
All cask Beers after Gyle 296 are now Isinglass-free and vegan-friendly.
What is Isinglass & Why Do you Believe Your Beer is Better Without it?
No Isinglass means better beer in the glass
Isinglass is a product derived from the dried swim bladder of fish, used to accelerate the clarification (fining) of beer. The Isinglass interacts with the beer, binding the live yeast and other suspended particulates to form a jelly-like mass that settles, allowing the clear beer to be drawn from the cask. Isinglass finings can also remove flavonoids and essential oils from suspension in addition to yeast, we therefore believe: No Isinglass means better beer in the glass. Fining the beer is important in modern beer production, as both customers and Landlords expect a high-quality, consistently clear product.
The Cheshire Brewhouse is proud of our new animal-free process, and we believe it produces an improved product. We wanted to move to Isinglass-free beer to allow us to allow us to produce a completely animal-free range of cask, keg and bottled beer. The Cheshire Brewhouse Isinglass‑free beers directly demonstrate our strong ethics and progressive nature. We believe it is imperative to source ethical, sustainable, local, British ingredients where possible, that allow us to create the best possible natural, live beers.
We hope you agree with us and stock our animal-free products very soon.
In homage to the wave of new-world electronic media platforms, we take a look at the rising numbers of YouTube Real Ale reviews.
In this age of social media, we see apps come: Untapped for instance, and some pass by the wayside. They invade our home PCs, laptops, smart TV’s and smartphones, taking valuable screen real estate.
A growing majority of us use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram to name a few. We reportedly spend an increasing amount of time on social media, not talking to our loved ones. Instead, we are staring through the looking-glass at the overload of cat videos and other interesting content, much of which contains tailored adverts, news and videos, that we have thrown at us, built up from our browsing habits by marketing experts, looking to squeeze a few more pounds from our pockets.
So, I thought I’d have a look around for something different and I found that YouTube, the popular video-based platform, had a healthy community of video bloggers or “Vloggers”, helping to inform us, beer noobs and ardent beer lovers alike, about new to market and existing beers.
We often ponder on how to gain a better understanding of how people choose their next beer. So I’ll ask directly:
Question: How do you get the information you need to decide what your next bottled real ale will be to try at home next?
Please feel free to leave a comment with a short answer underneath.
live reaction: good or bad, to the Real Ale reviewers beer experience.
I wonder how many people regularly look to the reviews from the various Vloggers’ on YouTube for ideas on new beers? We think that it’s a great idea to have independent beer reviews out there, where you can see a live reaction: good or bad, to the Real Ale reviewers beer experience.
From a personal point of view, I try ti strike a balance between trust/risk regarding the investment of my time, while watching each individual Vlogger. How can you reasonably take someone at their word and then shell out for what is effectively a blind-tasting in the hope that they have a similar palette and taste in beer as me? The only obvious answer seems to be “time will tell”… Although, you can always look at how many likes, followers or look at the replies for each reviewers video to help inform your decision.
Opinion is often divisive, so I’ll not try to push mine on you. However, given time watching your favourite reviewer(s), you should gain the required confidence, that they are someone who knows what they’re talking about and are worth the effort watching. You never know, you might even land on a new favourite brew.
From the various links below, I believe that each Vlogger has put in the time and effort to try to be as independent as possible in each review.
After researching and trawling YouTube, I’ve selected a short list of popular reviewers that I believe have a certain amount credibility. They all appear keen and have good numbers of followers and videos.
However you choose to select your next beer(s); YouTube beer reviews are here to stay and appear to be on the rise. I thought I’d bring them to your attention to help you choose a new taste sensation, gain some knowledge or avoid a crushing disappointment.
I hope you choose wisely and select something from The Cheshire Brewhouse bottled beer range, but that’s your choice to make.
P.S. Don’t forget the beer and snacks while you’re looking.
John Barleycorns Green Hopped Temptress our 2016 Green Hopped Harvest Pale Ale, is brewing.
On Thursday the 8th of September, I travelled down to Pride Farm near Ledbury, for the annual Charles Faram hop walk, where a lucky few of us brewers get to visit the people that grow the hops we use in our beers. This is the third year I have been on the hop walk and was my second visit to Pride Farm.
I am very passionate about the provenance of the ingredients we use in our beers, and strive to use the best traceable British malts and Hops I can find in the UK, Pride Farm is a special place for me as it is where the Powell-Tuck Family grow the majority of the Early Keyworth, hop that we use in Cheshire Set, (along with Goldings, Target, Jester, UK Chinook and Ernest) being the first farm to re-grow this heritage variety developed by Dr Earnest Salmon and only one of two farms that currently grow this Hop.
British hops are a fantastic raw ingredient to brew with, & our unique maritime climate and terroir make for hops with low mercene levels, perfect for the traditionally brewed Brittish cask session ales. British hops are also fairly unique in that they are not irrigated, our farmers rely on our climate to water the plants and sunny days to ripen the hops ready for picking. Hops cannot be grown in all parts of the world, as they need quite specific conditions in order to grow, they need a frost in the winter, a mild spring plenty of water during the growing season and a good spell of sunshine during august and September to ripen the Hops. September being the usual time hops are picked, and varieties are usually picked within a small window of opportunity when they ripen. Hops when ripe usually only have a five-day window for picking at best, and the hop grower, has to visit his plants daily to decide if they are ready to pick. Hops when ready have a papery feel, (they rustle like paper when squeezed between the fingers), they must spring back and the lupulin glands, inside the hop turn yellow. The hop grower has to decide when his Hops display all the correct characteristics and when to pick, as the longer they leave the hop growing, the greater the essential oil content in the hop and the greater the aroma. If the hop is being picked just for alpha acid purposes the oil content is less important.
To do this the farms have their own cleaning and sorting machine, the picked bines are loaded into the machine at one end, and the picked hop cones come out of the other end of the machine.
Once the hops have been picked and separated from the Hop Bines, the hop cones deteriorate fast if left alone, therefore to preserve them the water content in the hop needs to be lowered, to do this, the hops are loaded into kilns, where hot air is passed over the hops to dry them. The heat needs to be enough to dry the hops effectively but without damaging the aromas and flavours in the hops. drying in the kilns takes several hours. Once dried and cooled, the hop cones are packed into large bales and sent to the hop merchants for packaging into smaller usable quantities, or processed into hop pellets. Hop merchants vacuum pack the finished hops, many nitrogen flush the bags to prevent oxidation spoiling of them. Unopened the dried hops can be good for up to three years before use, (however, the fresher the better).
Following our walk around the hop yard and presentations by Ali Capper, chairperson of The British Hop Association, Paul Corbett of Charles Faram and Dr Peter Darby of Wye Hops Ltd, we collected 20kg of freshly picked wet (undried) Goldings and loaded them up to bring back to the brewery to brew with. Green wet hops perish very quickly and the quicker we can get them into the beer the greater flavour and aroma we can get from them in the finished beer. With this in mind I liased with Matt our assistant brewer, who mashed in Crisp Maltings best ale pale & wheat malts, just as I set off from the farm, with the target of me arriving at the brewery with about 1 hour spare to rub up the hops ready to add to the copper, right at flame out (the end of the boil).
The smell that emanates from rubbing 20KG of Fresh hops between your hands for 1/2hr is pungent, heady, maybe addictive and is a real highlight for me. I plan keep going to Herefordshire for fresh hops every September for very long time.
NOTE: Rubbing Up means that we can break the lupulin glands releasing the essential oils and flavonoids in the hops, that will give us the wonderful, fresh and zesty fresh flavour and aroma in our finished Harvest Ale.
We give the green hops a 20 Minute steep in the copper, before running off the finished wort and cooling to 16oC as fast as we can to sterilise the wort and lock in the flavours and aromas we have worked so hard to get from the Fresh Green Goldings.
I really wish you could smell the finished wort in the picture above. The smell emanating, from the under back was of sweet honey and citrus, and fresh and zingy, it was like being a child smelling a wondrous concoction.
Our House yeast was then added to the cooled wort in the fermenter, and we await the yeast doing their job of eating the sugars in the maltose and turning the sweet wort into finished beer.
John Barleycorns Green Hopped Temptress, Green Hopped harvest pale ale, will be, ready for delivery in cask, week commencing 19th September 2016, in very limited amounts, with the chance of four wooden firkins being available to qualifying accounts.
If you would like to get the chance to sample this beer and you are within a 50 mile radius of Congleton Cheshire, ask your local to contact us ASAP to pre-order this once a year special harvest ale. it will also be available at a few select events further afield.
September is almost on us and its an exciting time of the brewing year, as we will soon be visiting one of our hop growers at their farm in Herefordshire, to get the latest news on this years hop harvest, & we also get to buy some fresh green Hops picked on the day to bring back to the brewery & brew this years Harvest Ale.
John Barleycorn’s Green Hopped Temptress is a special ale only brewed once per year with the freshest hops available, we collect sacks of fresh picked Goldings from the farm, and drive back to the brewery & brew with them the same day, this ensures that we get the freshest aroma and flavour from the hops, and nuances in the finished beer that you just cannot get from beer made with dried hops. If you have yet to try a harvest ale the difference is like eating food made with fresh or dried herbs.
John Barleycorns Green Hop Temptress is a classic English Pale Ale, we use the finest pale malt from Crisp malting’s & marry this with a little Munich malt to add malt backbone & then bitter the beer with Pilgrim hops, fresh harvest Goldings are then added for a steep right at the end of the boil & the beer is then rapidly cooled to lock in the essential oils and botanicals given by the fresh hops.
With the finished harvest ale being fresh zesty and packed full of the flavours of the hop harvest its like bringing you a hop yard in a glass.
We will only be able to produce around 35 Casks of John Barleycorn’s Green hopped temptress therefore to ensure you secure your cask please pre-order to avoid disappointment.
If you would to make an event out of the release of this beer please talk to us as early as possible and we may be able to come and talk to your customers about the beer & our brewery in general.
John Barleycorns Green Hopped Temptress will be available for delivery week commencing 19th September 2016
Call 01260 274788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order your firkin
For more information on British hops please follow this link
As a brewery, what do you do if you don’t have any water? Water is arguably the single most important ingredient in beer.
Recently when Shane (head-brewer and one-man-band business proprietor of the award-winning Cheshire Brewhouse) pitched up, ready for a full on brew day and found that the water was off, he found himself in this very predicament. This posed the question: “what does a business owner do when he can’t operate as required”? Answer: Pull his hair out in frustration or rant and rave to the utilities helpline? Some may well do, but not here at the Cheshire Brewhouse (CBH).
This is a problem for sure, but things happen in life and if embraced, can actually provide a useful break point. Here is where we look to keep calm, evaluate our outstanding jobs and perform some system checks and go over the routine maintenance procedures that are necessary, but can sometimes feel like they get in the way of us doing what we love: making award winning beers.
No Water on Brew Day
So then, while the water is off and with the all-important, yet stiflingly boring tax returns and other piles of ‘necessary-evil’ paperwork complete, we’ll go over what we do to keep our brew-gear in tiptop condition, to keep the brewery producing the stuff that keeps a growing number of customers happy.
First up it’s the control systems:
Check over for any loose terminals and make sure they all look in order.
Make sure the terminals are clean and dust free.
Check that the secure boxes have the locks operational and the keys are where they should be.
Clean and check bearing houses and grease if required.
Tidy around the hopper cleaning away any evident spilt grain.
Check the auger is free to spin and no nasty grinding noises are evident (while it’s quiet).
Pipe work and hoses – (there’s a lot of it about):
Check the joins and pump-couplings give them all the once over looking for evidence of any drips.
Give it all a good clean off.
NOTE: This is by no means an exhaustive list, we just figured you were getting bored by now.
This is also a great time to check stocks, call customers and chase up potential leads to try to keep us moving forward. All this at a time when all we wanted to do was brew beer.
As much as we’d love to, we can’t shout from the rooftops about our recent “Great Taste” award every week. So, this minor glitch brings us back down to earth and lets us take a deep breath, ready to prep and push on for the next few months of beer production.
The Cheshire Brewhouse is always looking to the cutting edge of science and technology to make the best beers possible. However, it’s not all about always looking forward.
Shane Swindells, head brewer, business proprietor and man on a mission, has his finger on the pulse when it comes to modern practices, as well as an extremely keen interest in the traditional side of brewing.
Anyone who’s had chance to spend an afternoon quaffing with Shane (and Jack, the dray-dog) or simply had a chance to chat, will know how passionate he is about the science, engineering, tradition and brewing process, as much as he is about enjoying the end-product. But what really excites him, is wood! More accurately: Beer from the wood.
Beer from the wood
Shane can’t quite put his finger on it, but there’s definitely something special about the experience you get as a consumer. Is it the subtly different palette and taste it gives with a full, smooth finish? We’ll leave that for you to decide. Shane’s opinion, in his own words: “If you had a blind tasting and compared a ‘wood-aged’ beer with a parallel brew, aged in a more modern medium, such as the usual plastic cask. I (Shane) believe that the beer from the wood, wins hands-down and is far superior.”
Shane was delighted when The Cheshire Brewhouse was approached to help make a little bit of history, when he was asked to provide what the SPBWNI (Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood – Northern Ireland branch) claim to be the first beer(s) served from the wood in Belfast, Northern Ireland, since 1994.
2-star Great Taste award winning Cheshire craft lager “Dane’ish”.
With great anticipation, the wooden casks arrived for charging and Shane duly obliged with a wide smile as he filled the two handcrafted, coopered vessels. The first beer from the wood went out with a mainstay CBH brew: “Cheshire Set”. The citrusy blonde-coloured ale, hopped with the heritage, English Keyworth early hop. The second beer from the wood went out filled with the “2-star Great Taste” award-winning Cheshire craft lager: “Dane’ish”.
Both beers went down well and Twitter was alight with good feedback, which Shane responded to and voiced his pleasure, saying:
“…honoured to have been the First beer to have been served from the wood in Northern Ireland since 1994. Sláinte.”
Dane’ish (as with all CBH beers) mainly uses UK-grown ingredients reflecting directly the breweries ethics of shop local. As a fairly recent introduction to the CBH production line, it is quickly building a fan base with many great reviews on Untapped and other beer review sites.
If this has whetted your appetite, feel free to browse the Cheshire Brewhouse website to find out how and where to locate outlets for your own supplies of Dane’ish, Cheshire Set or any of our other brews.
Call us on 01260 274 788 or see the website for more information on how to locate some to try for yourself.
What a week at The Cheshire Brewhouse, hard at work bottling and racking off. Oh, and we had some superb news to boot: We received recognition in the form of a 2-star Great Taste award, given for Dane’ish, the English-hopped Craft, Cheshire lager.
Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food award, which celebrates the very best in food and drink, announced the Great Taste stars of 2016. Out of the 10,000 products judged, The Cheshire Brewhouse, Congleton, Cheshire, was proud to receive a 2-star Great Taste award for its “Dane’ish” craft Cheshire lager. This accolade backs up the recent honourable mention in the Telegraph’s beer article “10 amazing new beers to try in 2016”.
When we first brewed Dane’ish at our brewery… I knew we had something very special.
Shane Swindells Head Brewer of The Cheshire Brewhouse entered the awards as it is one of the finest accolades for fine food in the world, stating: “I have been striving to make the finest high quality beers for the past four years, using the best British malts and hops I can find. When we first brewed Dane’ish at our brewery at the side of the river Dane in Congleton, Cheshire, I knew we had something very special. This award confirms that and we can now use the “Great Taste – 2-star award” logo on every bottle of Dane’ish, to show people just how good this fantastic artisan British-hopped Lager is, and what wonderful British Ingredients we have available to us in the UK.”
You can tell someone’s taken a bit of care in that and knows how to make lager.
The Great Taste Judges’ comments were: “Cracking nose. You can tell someone’s taken a bit of care in that and knows how to make lager. Soft pleasing mouthfeel. Clever use of hops because the fruitiness comes through at the end to lift that lager finish”… “Clear lager malt underpinning a delicate nose”.
Great Taste award: “Judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates…
The competition is judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs and producers as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind-tasting by hundreds of judges.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding and packaging. Whether it is bread, honey, salami or cereal being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of an award.
There were 10,000 Great Taste entries this year and of those products, 878 received a 2-star accolade. The panel of judges included; TV chef and author, Valentine Warner, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, fifth generation baker, Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery, and Great British Bake Off winner, Frances Quinn; food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose and chefs including, James Golding, chef director of THE PIG Hotels, and Kevin Gratton, chef director of HIX Restaurants.
If you’re interested in trying Dane’ish or any other of our beer’s yourself, we have tons of information available on the website.
Dane’ish is available in 330ml bottles or on cask.
Call us on 01260 274 788 or see the website for more information on how to locate some to try for yourself.