Brewery News [December 2019]

[extract from minutes of Wigan CAMRA Branch meeting on 11th December 2019]

Finally getting round to brewing the 2 new brews this week. A Milk stout infused with vanilla and cocoa 5.6% and The Bourbon aged maple syrup stout 6.6%. Upscaling the brewery slightly after the New Year but staying put at the minute. Been busy with cask which is great.

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Rob Jolly took over the business in October and things are very busy. Rebranding is expected in the New Year and existing beers Clog Maker, Knocker Upper and Chonkinfeckle have been discontinued, but Arctic Convoy has been brought back.

The brewery operated a pop-up bar in Wigan market over the Xmas period. Alan Brannigan is still believed to be involved in the brewery, contrary to a previous report. The brewery are taking over a bar in Gidlow Lane and building work is now being carried out at the site of the proposed new bar on Bolton station.

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Twisted Wheel Brewery was formed by Mark Dearman who, in association with business partner, Zina French, bought the premises of the former Windmill Brewery in Standish, which is located at Standish Hall Farm, at the bottom of a farm track tucked away behind St Marie’s church on School Lane.

The 10-barrel brewing kit, installed by Windmill, was manufactured in Fort William by Oban Ales and had to be transported the 302 miles South by low-loader. Water for brewing is cold filtered through the shales and sandstones at Rivington. The brewery also houses a brewery tap which can be opened to the public.

Mark runs the brewery in collaboration with his wife, Helena. They chose the name Twisted Wheel for two reasons: –
i Wigan is famous for its association with Northern Soul and in the 60s there was a club in Manchester called The Twisted Wheel which was celebrated for its all-nighters and the eclectic mix of fashion, music, and dance that later became known as Northern Soul
ii the farm track to the brewery is heavily rutted thereby challenging the hardiest of vehicles & their wheels.

Using state of the art 10 barrel equipment, their first beers were brewed in October 2019 and the head brewer is hoping to capture the excitement, colour and vibrancy of the Northern Soul era with their range of ales – the names of which tip a nod to the Northern Soul movement.

Mark and his business partner also own the Parkway Brewery in the picturesque town of Somerton, Somerset. They set that Brewery up in October 2018 which also brews cask beers. Mark is also in the drinks retail & distribution business which is one reason why Parkway & Twisted Wheel beers have been found in bars as far afield as the Midlands and the South East as well, as Somerset & the North West. Twisted Wheel currently brews 3 core beers & 1 seasonal beer: – Ten Pin Bitter (4.0%), Big Black Smoke (4.9%), Sunday Sessions (4.5%), Three Star Jumper (4.0%).

Business at the brewery continues to thrive. Sales are holding up well in preparation for the annual increase over the December holiday period.
The December special is “Mad Monk”, this is an Allgates brewery classic imperial Russian stout with an ABV of 7.1%. The beer is a complex stout with a frothy tan head, deep rich malt flavours and hop character. A great winter warmer. Mad Monk won a SIBA national gold award back in 2011.
Mad Monk was released for sale week commencing 25 November and is selling well with advanced orders received before the beer was even racked.

Wigan Brewhouse beers were on sale at The Standish Christmas Market on Saturday 30 November, a verity of their beers was on sale on 3 hand pumps and during the course of the day 12 casks were consumed.

Wigan Brewhouse has recently purchased a stock of 5lt mini casks. These are now being sold on brewery tours to allow people to take home Wigan Brewhouse beers.

Extremely busy time brewing three times a week at present, sales going very well. We have brewed Uberlegen Craft Pilsner 5%, Dublin Up Irish Stout 4.5% and Crafty Fox 4.2% Lancashire bitter all in 440ml cans. Our collaboration beer with Northern Whisper, Corker a 4.8% Hazy, Champagne Saison is going well, great feedback from customers. Our Christmas beer Yule Be Back has almost sold out, expecting the busy time to continue throughout December.