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Fox Farm, Salem CT - Spring 2019
From the soils, come the spoils The farm breweries of southern New England
since 1651 and currently has 240 acres (for reference, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in Eastern Massachu- setts in 1620). Lookout Farm has grown a lot of things over the years but it cur- rently sticks to staples of New England life, mainly apples. “We have 25 kinds of heirloom ap- ples,” says Lookout Farm’s brewer Aaron Mateychuk as he drives me around the sprawling property 20 miles from Bos- ton. The acreage also includes 50,000 trees of all fruits including pear and stone fruits and 3,900 heirloom trees from all over the world, including English Harry Master Black trees – and varieties like Jonah Gold which Mateychuk says are “good for eating and making pies”. While Lookout Farm caters to the ‘pick your own’ family fun of the au- tumnal leaf-peeper tourist, it started to make hard cider in 2014 – and to brew beer in 2018. Using mainly dessert ap- ples, the cider business took off with a few things on its side: cider in 2014 had made a huge leap in American sales thanks to brands like MillerCoors’ Crispin and Boston Beer Co.’s Angry Orchard. The ‘drink local’ movement was, and still is, in full force. And lastly, Lookout Farm cider is quite good. Mateychuk is fully invested in the local push – using local ingredients for his ciders and trying to keep it 100% from Lookout Farm (The farm grows stone fruit, pears, strawberries, cherries and is start- ing to experiment with hop varieties like Sorachi Ace and Centennial) but if what
By Em Sauter
New England was founded because the Pilgrims, es- caping religious persecution in Europe, were running low on beer. It was a stressful affair for these early settlers as beer was an essential part of their lives. On board, all pilgrims drank a quart a day of weak ‘ship’s beer’ instead of the germ-ridden water that could cause disease and death – a long way from today’s burgeoning cider and beer-making farm culture.
O nce situated in their new home, the Pilgrims eventually realised the soil of New England wasn’t particularly suited to what they would have normally grown due to its rocky makeup. So, like the brewers of today, they started to experiment with what they had available. They brewed using adjuncts, looking for assistance in foods the Native Americans introduced to them like pumpkin and corn. Their barley crop eventually would take to the land as barley is a hearty plant. They also looked to a more sustain-
able drink like cider. The Mayower did have a cider press on board. The Mas- sachusetts Bay colonists further north planted apple trees just days after they arrived in 1630, and by 1775 almost one in ten New England families had a cider press. This sets the stage for a renais- sance currently growing in New England; a return to basics in life and in drinking. The history Lookout Farm and Brewery in South Natick, Massachusetts has been a farm
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Lookout Farm beers and cider are served in a tasting room that was the old country store with a greenhouse that has been converted to indoor seating
an idea for a beer or cider, he simply talks to the farmers. “It’s cool to go to the people that grow the fruit and say, ‘this is my idea,’” he says. The brewing was started to add a further reason for people to visit the farm. The beers and cider are served in a tasting room that was the old country store with a greenhouse which has been converted to indoor seating. Brewing its own beers means when events are held here like weddings and parties, the farm can be one step closer to being totally self-sufcient in terms of alcohol. The farm also helps local breweries – it rents out the tunnel pasteuriser to friends or sells fruit to other breweries like Trillium. Before I leave, Mateychuk and I stand on the top of the steps that over- look the vast elds of fruit trees. “You can’t get stressed at this job,” he says, “look at your environment.”
The beers brewed are some no-brainers: Hold Your Horses is a hazy New England IPA but Mateychuk likes to call himself ‘old school’ when it comes to brewing. Big Red Barn is a red ale named after the barn on its property. Made with American ‘C’ hops, it’s one of Mateychuk’s favourites. “I love red ales,” he sighs, almost nostalgic for a different brewing era. Mateychuk started brewing in 1992 and is happy Lookout Farm has made the leap to producing beer. The brew- ing/cider facility is in the middle of the sprawling farm. The brewery is a 20hL system while the cider is fermented in 47hL steel conical tanks. The cider side has a tunnel pasteuriser to keep residu- al sweetness low. It uses a mobile canner and has recently converted to 100% cans – a sign of the times. When Mateychuk has
he’s looking for can’t be found on the farm, Mateychuk nds solutions locally. He gets cranberries from a privately- owned bog –“one of the few not owned by Ocean Spray,” jokes Mateychuk – and brews with chocolate from Mast Broth- ers, a well-known chocolatier in nearby Somerville. The cider is back- sweetened from the farm’s own honey. This is self-sufciency on a grand scale. To further connect to its historical roots, Lookout Farm brews a ‘1651’ cider aged with American heavy char oak spirals, a 21st century brewing technique with a 17th century mindset. Other ciders include experimenting with saison and champagne yeasts. Hop Up is a dry-hopped cider with El Dorado hops. Mac the Knife is a Macintosh apple cider with a Riesling wine yeast strain. The best seller is a cider with a habanero pepper kick.
Lookout Farm has over 50,000 trees of all fruits including pear and stone fruits and 3,900 heirloom trees from all over the world, including English Harry Master Black trees and varieties like Jonah Gold.
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customers were looking for more locally – and that is his true passion. Kent Falls brews a wide varieties of beers but produces mostly IPAs and ‘farm- house ales,’ a term that in southern New England has veered more into the mixed fermentation and barrel-aging route. Petals, a barrel-aged farmhouse ale, uses dandelions foraged from the prop- erty and a barley variety called Synergy, which grows well in Connecticut. I have heard of ‘hopheads’ but Labendz may be the rst ‘barleyhead’ I’ve ever met as he talks about the adaptability of grains throughout history as we walk down the dirt road of the property. Labendz also cares about the farm’s water, which is from a well with a lot of temporary hardness. He carries out some treatment with salts but also likes to brew with the water unadulterated. The water is heated by a solar thermal array system. Recently Kent Falls celebrated its fourth anniversary with a birthday celebra- tion that included the pouring of a beer called Everything is Everywhere, a Gueuze style beer (the coolship is an old milk chiller, an ode to the farm past) poured from ‘baskets’ – old wooden boxes with reclaimed metal handles, a fun take on the lambic baskets of Belgium. In good weather, the brewery doesn’t just offer a simple brewery walk-through but a complete farm tour where the all six staff can espouse their return to the land and have people make the connection of where their beer comes from. It is also hoping to offer outdoor seating for the tasting room this year, enabling people to sit and admire the Litcheld Hills that surround the farm. From tasting room to distribution to farming, I ask Labendz how it juggles the farm life. “Finding a pace that operates in un- ion is my biggest thing,” says Labendz.
normal harvest and one with late har- vest hops. This kind of experimentation is something Kent Falls is known for. The brewery has also tried to stay true to the farming aspect of its land. It raised chickens and pigs in the past and did 100 dozen eggs at local farm- ers market last summer but is currently taking a break from typical farm ani- mals. It is are trying its hand at bees this spring with the arrival of 20,000 honey- bees and two hives. Suscovich handles the agriculture side of the business. Labendz’s passion isn’t just trying to grow local himself, but also trying to ensure his beers are made from locally grown grain and hops. Having connec- tions to the local maltsters like Spencer Thrall of Thrall Family Malt in Windsor Locks, CT or Doug Weber of Pioneer Hops in Morris, CT (whose CONNcade hop variety Labendz feels is more deli- cate than the traditional Washington or Oregon grown Cascade) pleases him to no end. Last year, Kent Falls made the leap to 100% locally malted grains. “It didn’t change our price and we didn’t miss a beat,” says Labendz. He has a fervent, even nerdy ob- session with adapting the Connecticut soil and trusting that the weather shifts and rocky outcrops can produce viable beer-making materials. He recalls a story where James Shepherd, owner of Smokedown Farm in Sharon, CT, brought a bag of his hops to the tasting room. The aroma overtook the room: a heavy dankness reminiscent of marijuana lled the air. When Labendz arrived, all he could smell was weed. “I thought I was going to have to throw someone out of the tasting room,” Labendz chuckled. But the fact that that ‘dank’ quality that is found in many Pacic Northwest varieties meant Labendz could nd the avours his
The land Barry Labendz is the owner of Kent Falls Brewing in Kent, a picturesque rural town in Eastern Connecticut that’s been a haven for New York City residents for generations. Kent is also a stop on the vast Appalachian hiking trail that spans thousands of miles from Maine to Georgia. In 2012, Labendz, who has a back- ground in credit union banking, and his business partner John Suscovich bought the old 50-acre Camps Road Farm (with one acre of good land, jokes Labendz) off a rural road surrounded by new growth maple trees and, by early 2015, they were brewing and self-distributing their beers. The Camps Road Farm did everything back in the day from livestock to logging – it even had an ice house. The property has the old farmhouse, currently undergoing renovations, a brewery building that houses a 18hL Prospero brewing system, a 1200sq. ft. barrel barn, a tasting room and a few outbuildings. They grow one acre of hops including varieties of Chinook, Cas- cade, Bitter Gold and Michigan Copper. 36-year-old Labendz stares at the empty strings tied to trellises and waxes about an idea he has for brewing three beers: one with early harvest, one with
Kent Falls Brewery, including solar water-heating panels on a sunny March morning
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Fox Farm has a commitment to farm- house ales, brewing with a proprietary mixed fermentation yeast strain that’s reminiscent of tart Meyer lemons. Adams hired Stephen Andrews, a Connecticut resident, to be the head brewer in November 2017. He previ- ously oversaw the barrel programme at Nogne O in Norway. Fox Farm’s other full time employee is Zack’s brother Dave, who oversees business opera- tions from tasting room to sales. One of the most interesting parts of Fox Farm is the brewing system and where it came from. The18hL system was supplied by Quality Tank Solu- tions, a Wisconsin-based metalworking company that also services the dairy industry. Adams was drawn to this connection when he purchased the two-vessel brewing system. Fox Farm is currently in the works to build a barrel barn similar to Kent Falls and it also has two dozen fruit trees on order. It currently grows cherries, blue- berries, raspberries, blackberries and botanicals in small quantities. Like a farmer, Adams and Andrews start their days early. They work until the sun goes down, cleaning (Fox Farm is the cleanest brewery I’ve ever seen), brewing, and doing the quality work themselves. With Adams living on the property, he can check up on his beers at all hours. When I ask Adams if he considers himself a farmer, he instantly agrees. “I think it’s a fair comparison,” he says, “coming here at odd times and pacing around. It’s the same routines that pre- vious farmers had gone through in the same building.”
Petals, a barrel-aged farmhouse ale, uses
dandelions foraged from the property and a barley variety called Synergy, which grows well in Connecticut.
The barn Farm breweries also have a commitment to repurposing. Fox Farm in Salem, CT (full disclosure, I help out in the tasting room of this brewery a few days a week) took an old dairy barn built in the 1960s and transformed the neglected space into a state-of-the-art brewing area and tasting room. Set off a pastoral residen- tial street, it has become a destination for out-of-state hazebros (connoisseurs who enjoy beer that has not been claried) as well as local residents. Fox Farm is the brainchild of cele- brated homebrewer Zack Adams, 32, who won the Samuel Adams Longshot competition in 2012 with an Imperial IPA that showcased seven hop varieties. This is a yearly competition for homebrewers where the winners have beer produced on a national scale by Samuel Adams. Zack bought the 30-acre property in the spring of 2012 and immediately set to work by rstly building a home for his family on the property. The work was a long, steady process. Adams says that in the beginning they just started chip- ping away at cleaning up the barn (it had been previously owned by a hoard- er so the barn was lled to the rafters with stuff) plus reclaiming the land from years of overgrowth and neglect. He was aided in the project by local workers (who now congregate at nights in the tasting room for pints of Fox Farm’s lagers), good friends and Ad- ams’ many family members. His father- in-law has 6,000 grape vines a quarter of a mile away which Adams uses in a couple of beers including Near and Far, a double IPA – and Annata, a wild ale.
After many years of steady work, the brewery opened in May of 2017 and now has a tasting room which operates Thursday to Sunday. The operation uses local malts and hops when available but also uses malts from Weyermann and Simpsons. Many of the beers include Nelson Sauvin, one of Adams’ favourite hops. Fox Farm’s beers run the gamut. In November of 2018, it received two hori- zontal lager tanks to beef up production of lagers like The Cabin Smoked Helles style lager, Gather German style Pils, and Quiet Life, a Czech style Pilsner. It recently put in a new Lukr dis- pense tower that has two side pull taps. In addition to its line forming NEIPAs,
The unusual taproom handles dispense the Fox Farm ales; the authentic Lukr tower (left) is for the Czech-style Pilsners
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Fox Farm’s 18hL brewery, supplied by Wisconsin-based Quality Tank Solutions, and tank farm.
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BREWER AND DISTILLER INTERNATIONAL ●
Ireland’s west is awake! The thriving breweries of Galway
As an undergraduate in UCC in the late 1990s, co-founder Aidan Murphy developed a passion for craft beer and out of desperation due to the lack of “decent beer” in Ireland, eventually es- tablished the brewery with his cousin Ronan Brennan in 2006. Brewing started initially in an abandoned DME kit in Roscommon before eventually moving to Galway. I met with Aidan in his welcoming bar-cum-sample room on the day. He told me the brewery was soon re- named to the current colourful name after an early example of crowd-sourc- ing by the enterprising cousins. They held an online naming com- petition, and with much hilarity and ribald comments, ‘Galway Hooker’ rose to the top of the pile. For those not familiar with Ireland’s boating styles, the hooker is a traditional fishing boat with sails used primar- ily in Galway Bay, and features in the county’s coat of arms. Needless to say, the association of ‘hooker’ with late night revelry has brought ready brand recognition with it, and is worth its weight in gold in terms of advertising. Aidan gave me some of his back-
By Gerry McGovern
On the far west coast of Ireland, Galway and its hinterland have long been associated with magnificent and magical vistas of nature at its best, vaporous mists and mischievous fairies. The West’s Asleep, often (but incorrectly) also called The West’s Awake, by Thomas Davis, is one of the anthems of mid-19th century Irish nationalists, and is considered by many the Galway anthem. The area is also known far and wide around the world mostly through the gently crooning tones of Bing Crosby in his famous rendition of the song Galway Bay.
M any an American was persuaded to come ‘home’ after hearing Bing in action. Not so widely known is the French song Les Lacs du Connemara sung by Michel Sardou. An anthem devoted to Connemara, it too has had an influence on the number of French visitors to this most naturally beautiful corner of Galway. Given its international appeal, it is not surprising that the area is now the home of a number of excellent and inno- vative craft breweries, and on a beautiful
bright day in August, it was my pleasure to visit two of them, the Galway Hooker and the Galway Bay breweries. Galway Hooker brewery This is the third oldest still-operational craft brewery in the Irish Republic (af- ter the Porterhouse and Carlow brew- eries) and the oldest existing brewery in the province of Connacht.
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Galway Hooker founder Aidan Murphy pouring a beer in his sample room surrounded by awards and plaudits
first brewery (from DME Brewing in Canada) constrained them in terms of meeting market demand for their pale ale and did not allow of any chance to try out new beer styles and flavours. They eventually reached their maximum output of 2000hL per annum and after some soul searching were persuaded that the future lay in a new expanded brewery – which they located to the tourist village of Oranmore, just outside Galway city, in 2014. The new brewery Aidan told me that the new site had immediately increased their brewlength to 40hL. Supplied by Eco Brew Tech of Italy, it should meet all their needs for the foreseeable future. It’s a two-vessel brewhouse style, with the ability to extend to three vessels
when the timing merits it. In 2016 they produced 5000hL of a variety of beer styles, and could conceivably triple in size before they need to do any more. The first impression of the brew- ery is that it is surprisingly spacious. The business park in which it sits has a multitude of other activities going on and the brewery externally does not stand out. But on the inside it is a revelation. First up is a 2000kg/hr two-roller ENGL malt mill, also from Germany. A typical grain bill of 625kg is pre-milled here and transported to a grist case six metres above the brewery floor. The single brew a day is then mashed into a combination mash and lauter tun. After conversion and recirculation the wort is pumped to the adjacent kettle/whirlpool and from here the
ground. He obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Food Science from University College Cork in the mid-90s. During these years he worked in Ger- many in the summer months, and thus became aware of its excellent brewing traditions and beer styles. Later he went to the west coast of the US on summer J1 visas, where he was blown away by exposure to the early burgeoning of the craft beer experience in San Francisco. This focused him on achieving a Masters in Brewing from Heriot-Watt University in 2003. After his Edinburgh education he then spent a couple of years on the Isle of Man working for Okells Brewery just outside Douglas. But he hankered to establish his own brewery, and along with his cousin Ronan snapped at the chance to kick- start the then Emerald Brewery back into new life. They worked hard, and developed a style of beer not known in Ireland at the time: a full-flavoured hopped pale ale, which called naturally enough Galway Hooker Pale Ale. It has since become their flagship beer, and indeed was the only beer they pro- duced for a long time. The small 6hL brewlength of their
The spacious interior of the Galway Hooker brewery
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Galway Hooker brewing plant
biggest blind-tasted Food Awards. The brewery currently employs six people (including Aidan), and now that it is at last catching up on all orders, it has more time to develop other beers, whether they be seasonal or poten- tially long term. Last year it brought out a Double IPA at 8.6%, and this year to date there have been three innovations; a dark wheat beer, a rye ale and a ‘blood red’ nitro ale sold exclusively in the King’s Head pub in Galway. However, the mainstay Pale Ale is still 90% of what is produced. 65% of the year’s beer is sold on draft, and of that well over three quarters is sold in the Galway and Dublin mar- kets. The other 35% is sold in bottled form in off-sales shops and the multiples – and has begun to branch out into export sales to Europe, in particular to France, Holland and Denmark where they have a keen following. What Aidan envisages for the fu- ture is a broadening of the beer range even further and a move to one-off small batch beers. Most of their output is despatched for bottling to Frederic Robinson in Stockport in the UK, with a minimum volume of 160hL in tanker. But with the advent in Ireland of a mobile bottler who can handle much smaller batch sizes, this has opened up real flexibility and the prospect of more one-off innovative beers to come. Aidan’s final comment is that he is committed to keeping the brewery at the cutting edge of the craft beer movement by continuing to produce “great innovative brews”. I thanked Aidan and his hard-work- ing team for their time, and wished them well in their future plans.
Grist case at a height above the brewery floor
Exterior of the mash/lauter tun
Interior of the mash/lauter tun, showing the slotted plates at the false bottom level
Lower section of the kettle/whirlpool showing the ability to go into whirlpool mode or go forward into fermenter
Broadening the beer range One brew per day is what is typically produced, and the beer styles have proliferated to the extent that while competing in the Irish Food Awards ( Blas na hÉireann ) over the last three years it has been the only brewery to win Gold in three consecutive years, not just for the Pale Ale (2014) but for its Stout (2015) and the Amber Lager (2016). Blas na hÉireann is Ireland’s
chilled worts are pitched with recycled yeast from previous batches and des- patched to a variety of FVs. There are four 80hL vessels, one of 40hL and three 12hL vessel which were brought over from the Emerald Brewery in Roscommon. Depending on beer type the beers then spend any- thing from two weeks to six weeks in the unitanks, before being chilled back and readied for trade.
(L – R) Owner Aidan Murphy, with new recruit Philip Brennan and Head Brewer Nicky Wilmott in front of their four 80hL FVs 10 z Brewer and Distiller International
Galway Bay Brewery
I then moved on to the Galway Bay Brewery, which is marginally closer to Galway city and its traffic prob- lems! There I met with Operations Manager Will Avery, who had arrived in Galway only 18 months ago from the United States. Will had worked in the Burnt Hickory Brewery in Georgia up to then, but jumped at the chance to go on an international assignment when it came his way. Will gave me some of the history of the Galway Bay Brewery: it started in 2006 with the purchase and running of The Cottage Bar in Salthill, the seaside resort just to the west of the city limits, by the company founders Jason O’Connell and Niall Walsh. Three years later they bought the Oslo Bar in Upper Salthill and con- verted it to a brewpub with initial batch sizes of 1000 litres. This was more than adequate to meet the then needs of the organisation. However, roll on several years and the establishment of new pubs in both Galway and Dublin … and suddenly the brewlength was just too small. A familiar story! So they had to upscale the brewery to deliver 2000 litres batches. In 2015, with eight pubs selling beer as fast as they could, the decision was made to move the brewing operations to a small business park in Ballybrit, Co Galway. This time the new brewery’s brewlength would be 40hL, and after a short bidding process the contract went to Eco Brew Tech of Italy. The number of pubs is now eleven, and with a twelfth planned for Belfast in the autumn of 2017. This new brewery became opera- tional in June of 2016. However, even as I visited, the brewery was going to be expanding and improving over the next number of weeks. Will took me on a quick tour of the brewery. First up was a spanking new 30-tonne grain silo at the front of the building, to be commissioned within two weeks when a variable speed drive would be delivered. Up until now the malt has been supplied in 25kg bags to the malt mill. Loughran Family Malt of Clermont farm in Co. Louth is their routine source of quality malt but they are also supplied by Castle Malting in Belgium and Thomas Fawcetts in the UK for
My Galway Bay Brewery host Will Avery, with the three largest 80hL fermenters to his right … in the next few weeks a fourth vessel will be installed just behind Will in line with the others
the bottleneck for the new brewery was the availability of Bright Beer Tank capacity, but again this was to be resolved in short order with the doubling of BBTs from two to four in the next few weeks. In terms of other tanks they have eleven fermenters – three of 80hL, six of 40hL and two of 20hL capaci-
some speciality malts – and have been known to use Spelt, Buckwheat, raw oats and raw wheat in certain of their beers, as the need arises! Following on from milling was the Eco Brew Tech combination mash tun and lauter tun, similar to the Galway Hooker equivalent. A typical grist load would be 900kg. Will explained that Galway Bay Brewery plant
The 40 hL Kettle/Whirlpool, with wort cooler off to the right
The new 30te grain silo about to be commissioned
Interior of the mash/lauter tun showing the knifing arrangement
Some of the 40hL litre fermenters all in a row
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The simple keg washing system
and it was also the highest-ranked Irish beer on Untappd.com until recently overtaken by its own barrel- aged Russian Imperial Stout ‘Two Hundred Fathoms’. In the last two months the stout was also named the Beoir Champion Beer of Ireland at the Killarney Beerfest. Will referenced Jason O’Connell’s comment that “export is key to survival now” as he mentioned that locations The Italian company Framax supplied Galway Bay’s 2,200 bph bottling system
of that was in draft form. He showed me the packaging area in the adjacent building unit in the complex, and de- spite its simplicity, the racking station could empty a 40hL BBT into 30 litre kegs in 90 minutes. Fully 38% of their volume went to an Irish distributor, who looked after all the logistics of selling into the multiples and on trade outlets outside of Galway and Dublin. Most of this volume was in the form of 500ml bottles. Five years and beyond Will told me that that even five years ago the brewery’s founders would not have believed the success that the company has achieved. One of the founders, Niall Walsh, has moved on to pursue other interest interests, but the company he has left behind is full of confidence for the next five years and beyond. Its success has been measured not just in volume and growth terms, but in the excellence of its beers. As an example Will mentioned that in 2014 its Imperial IPA ‘Of Foam and Fury’ was named the best beer in Ireland by the consumer group Beoir,
Alfa-Laval disc bowl centrifuge with Sigrist turbidimeters, producing DO levels as low as 6 ppb
ties, soon to be augmented with a single 80hL vessel and four of 40hL. And the BBT capacity would move from one at 40hL and one at 80hL to two new vessels again of 40hL and 80hL capacities. The current 2017 total sales volumes of 7000hL would be the maximum capable from the plant were it not for the new purchases. Again, they are expecting even more volume growth for 2018 and beyond! However, pride of place of routine production in the brewery is its Alfa- Laval disc bowl centrifuge, which has allowed it to produce the Careen Lager in double jig time at the end of its four- week conditioning period. This German-style pilsner lager has been resoundingly popular, even though only introduced last year. It is second only to their Full Sail IPA in volume (Full Sail is over 40% of total volumes). The new tankage will allow even more to be produced. Will told me that 60% of production went to their own accounts, and 95%
The award for the Beoir Champion Beer of Ireland proudly festooned over the barrels in which it was aged. This beer is a collaboration between Galway Bay and Teeling Whiskey Co who supply the barrels, which in turn originated from the Heaven Hills bourbon distillery in Kentucky
The range of beers on tap in the Oslo Bar, including the famed “Of Foam and Fury” Double IPA at 8.5% ABV – served only in 330ml glasses!
Galway Bay’s best seller, Full Sail IPA
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six-man brewing team and especially the experience and dedication of the Head Brewer, Tom Delaney. The one thing that seems certain about the dynamic of the Galway Bay Brewery is that it is constantly on the look-out to develop its business. Founder Jason understands that this is a very gradual process but the company is open to considering all its options. Over the next few years he con- tends that: “You might bump into a Galway Bay bar in Leeds, the north of England or Germany,” which is wonderful, not only for the company but for the reputation and expor- tation of independent brewing in general in Ireland. I thanked both Will and Tom for their time and commitment during my visit. It was certainly very memorable.
such as Italy and Holland are places, other than the UK, that the company is targeting. The company employs one hun- dred people with more joining every time a new pub opens. As well as pubs it wishes to expand even more into the off-trade business, made all the more possible with a new contract to supply the Musgrave Group, which is Ireland’s leading grocery retail and wholesale company. Key to its future success will be in- novation, and the new brewery location gives it the freedom to deliver. In re- cent times the company has produced three new beers in a four-week period. On average it has produced a new beer type every six weeks since the new brewery started. Will acknowl- edged that all of this has happened because of the focus of their excellent
Tom Delaney, Galway Bay’s Head Brewer, surrounded by his ‘Project in Wood’
“From here I rack to oak for the next phase of fermentation. Currently, this can take anywhere from six to 12 months. My house culture is young but is producing delicate, nuanced beers with gentle acid- ity which I’m very pleased with. “I’m very excited to see how the culture develops on future barrel fillings. Sporadic cellar checks are done throughout the months to see and taste how the beers are progressing. I test for pH and gravity. I also monitor the temperature and humidity. It’s important to taste and smell too so I can learn the different phases and person- alities of the yeasts and bacteria that are working with me. Each barrel has a digital birth certificate where all data and tasting notes are logged. “The best tasting barrels are blend- ed into the dish bottomed BBT, where it’s cold crashed and carbonated. Beer is then packaged to heavy Belgian glass bottles and KeyKegs. I chose heavy Belgian glass for safety reasons, as I’m hoping to move completely to bottle conditioning in 2018. “The heavy Belgian glass is designed for bottle refermentation with Brettano- myces . This has been a really exciting experiment thus far, and I am looking forward to carrying it as far as I can into the future. “I am especially excited to bring my learnt expertise to bear on Galway Bay’s own wood cellar project which is kicking off this winter.” The Oak Cellar: 40 x 220 litre French Oak ex wine barrels 4 x 500 litre French Oak wine puncheons 1 x 4000 litre French Oak Foudre vat
cross contaminations to date. “Land & Labour beers are usually 1500 litre brew lengths on the Galway Bay kit. The grist usually consists of a high percent- age of raw grains, up to 40% raw wheat, some oats, spelt, with the remainder being Pilsner malt. I perform a cereal mash before the main mash and sparge at 95˚C. “It’s a fake or cheater turbid mash es- sentially. Boil for at least 90 minutes with about 14 IBU of noble hops. My goal for the mash and boil is simple: to prepare a fermentable 11˚to 12˚ Plato high starch wort for long term maturation in barrels with my mixed culture.” “After the boil and whirlpool I will heat exchange into either the 1000-litre steel conical or to two 500 litre upright pun- cheon barrels (these have been converted to fermentation vessels – with butterfly valves, sample ports etc.) usually at around 24 to 28˚C. I do not use heating or cooling on my fermentations. “I pitch low attenuating saccharomyces yeast and once krausen drops I transfer this 2-3 day old beer into the 10hL dish bottom tank on top of my mixed culture of Saccharomyces , Brettanomyces , Pediococ- cus and Lactobacillus .
In the brewery a sec- tion of the plant room has been made avail- able to Head Brewer Tom Delaney to carry out what he calls his
‘Project in Wood’. It is his own private activity, which he carries out after hours. But the management team have already seen that there could be some commercial benefits into the future from the work that Tom is doing, and some col- laborative work has been carried out. While I was talking to Tom I asked him to put down his thoughts on paper as to what he felt he was doing with the wood and his mixed culture, and the following are his thoughts. He carries out the work under the logo ‘Land & Labour’. “The idea behind Land & Labour is to produce beers with a change of pace from a production stand point. To re- move control from my hands and place it firmly in control of yeasts, bacteria and the seasonal temperature change within the brewery. Traveling back in time so to speak, to experiment with a more rustic approach to beer. The beers produced are delicate and nuanced with a pleasant gentle acidity that I enjoy drinking. I am privileged to be able to operate Land & Labour out of Galway Bay Brewery, where I am also the Head Brewer. I do not share hoses, pumps, gas- kets, fittings etc. with Galway Bay. “I keep all tanks at Galway Bay on top pressure to protect against possible airborne contamination. CIP solutions are at the high end of dosage and all freshly cleaned tanks are checked for ATP. This all helps maintain clean beer with no
Tom Delaney filling one of his thoroughly cleansed 500 litre puncheons
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