Brewery News [March 2020]

[extract from minutes of Wigan CAMRA Branch meeting on 16th March 2020]

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Hophurst won 6 awards at the SIBA event at BEEREX, including 3 keg awards, with the beers going forward to national awards. Brewing twice this week but sales have dropped dramatically. A new chocolate fudge and vanilla mild is planned but it is uncertain when it will actually be brewed now. Imperial Porteresque is out in keg and cask this week – now fully conditioned. Beer Club at the Twisted Vine is going ahead tomorrow night, but with some changes such as no sharing of drinks introduced to make it safer.

Since bringing out the new Clog Maker with blueberry it sold very quickly and it’s now become one of the brewery’s range going forward. It’s officially out of the development stage and into production. Due to it doing so well they are also looking at different ideas that they can now bring to the existing line-up and a new line-up of beers planned once the rebrand hits. Expect the range to increase quite a bit as they’ve had some ideas planned for a while now that they wanted to have fresh and ready for the rebrand. They also have someone sorted to put together new pump clips and logo so the rebrand is coming quickly.

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They are planning to hold the Magic Weekend festival again at the Wayfarer on the late May bank holiday weekend (22nd-25th May) with a CAMRA preview session on the Friday. There will be bands performing and beers from breweries representing all the towns and cities with teams taking part in the Rugby League Magic Weekend. There are also plans for another beer festival in September.

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Mark Dearman reports that he is very pleased with the development of the brewery. Only 5 months since starting he feels they are already 6 months ahead of their planned schedule.

Head Brewer, Jon, and Assistant, Laura (Mark & Helena’s daughter), are becoming fully stretched so they are looking to take on another Assistant Brewer. They report a good following on Instagram after the account has only been going a few weeks.

Brewing equipment is still a 10 barrel plant, but to increase production, a 3rd fermenting vessel has recently been added to the 2 existing ones & the 2 conditioning tanks. There are plans to add a further 2 fermenting vessels but space (especially height) is limited. A couple of weeks ago a HopRocket was installed to help with dry hopping their beers. Staff were trained in its use on the day of our festival opening (Thu 5th).

The same 3 core beers (Ten Pin Bitter, Sunday Sessions Pale Ale and Big Black Smoke Porter) are being brewed plus 2 seasonal ones at any one time – most recent ones being an ultra-pale, dry hopped 4.2% one called Spring Rain (quite appropriate!) and a session bitter at 3.8% called Soul City Bitter. Unfortunately, their website isn’t up and running (and won’t be for another month) to tell us where any of Twisted Wheel’s beers are on sale – best option at present is the Untappd website.

Last Thursday (12th March), Twisted Wheel had a mini Tap Takeover at the Buffet Bar on Stalybridge Railway Station & they plan another one at the Fleece in the Oldham area.

This Friday (21th March) the brewery will conduct its 1st brewery tour (a visit by Barnsley Cricket Club). Afterwards, from 4pm onwards, the brewery tap will be open to all comers – especially Branch Members, so see you there. However recent events mean that this is now in doubt. They also plan to hold a full Open Day in the summer with food & music (as well as beer, of course).

Twisted Wheel had all 3 of their core beers on at our festival recently.

Wigan Brewhouse enjoyed a good trading month during February with both sale and turnover increasing compared to the same period in 2019.

The introduction of the beer of the month has proved very popular and has given head brewer Jonny the opportunity to experiment with new and interesting brews. This has proved popular with beer drinkers and some very positive feedback has been received. The beer of the month for Jan/Feb is called Nelson Sauvin. A pale beer with a clean aftertaste, brewed with a single hop, Nelson Sauvin. This beer has sold extremely well.

A new beer is being planned for March, this is likely to be a New Zealand single hopped beer. The name of this beer is yet to be decided, so watch this space!

Wigan Brewhouse had four beers on sale at the Wigan Beer Festival, RPM, Blue Sky Tea, Gin Pit and Mad Monk. All four beers proved popular and sold out during the Saturday afternoon session. Wigan Brewhouse were again Gold Sponsors at this fantastic event and sponsored polo shirts for all festival volunteers.

Following the take down of the festival, volunteers were invited to the Wigan Brewhouse brewery as a thank you for their help and support. Attendees were invited to make a voluntary donation of £1.00 a pint to support Wigan and Leigh Hospice, a total of £80 was collected during the course of the afternoon, which further demonstrates the generosity of our
wonderful volunteers.

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