Brewhouse and Kitchen
Before I (George) left for the US of A I visited Islington’s Brewhouse and Kitchen (curtousey of my brother and sister-in-law), where I brewed an 8% stout which has since been on the taps for the local patrons.
The day started with a brisk walk from St Pancras to Islington, fueled by the beer from the night before for my leaving do, I was full of optimism and ready to learn more about the brewing process. Out of our Directors I am more of an office type, more concerned with drying and styling my hair than the nitty gritty, I was excited to tell my fellow Directors how I had rolled my sleeves up for the day. As part of the brewing process it also requires that you taste the beers on tap. The first beer came at 10 am just in time as my beer-fueled-optimism was about to turn into a terrible hangover.
The Brewhouse and Kitchen has an impressive brewing kit that holds 3 brews at a time and is open for the public to brew. The kit has also just been covered in a terribly hard to keep clean copper cover, this doesn’t aid the brewing process in anyway but it looks nice. While we are on the topic of cleaning, I was unaware that the majority of brewing involved cleaning, which I wasn’t too happy about considering I had my brand new Nike's on.
Anyway, to begin the process we started with our Malt. We used a multi-grain barely to ensure that the produce would be sweater, this is something the Lost Boys team are now experimenting with. The problem we faced here was the quantity of the barely we used, this ended up turning into a thick paste which became increasingly hard to stir (by this point I’m sweating my hangover out).
The next step was to add the hops. We used a California hop as that tends to be where the sweetest hops are from, we used theses in a pellet form. This was the first time I had seen hops as pellets and although they’re efficient and in the long run more cost effective, for the quantity we will be brewing this isn’t something we will adopt.
At this point we have a 2 hour wait before we could move the beer over to the fermentation tanks. So this left me with 2 hours to try all the craft beer on tap… a challenge I was happy to take on (I’m not one to shy away from any work that could help the Lost Boys cause). I did try a range of beers, from a lovely coconut stout (considering I don’t like coconut or stouts I was very impressed) to some not so favourable IPAs. However, hands down my favourite was an American style ale called Westwood (4.5%). I enjoyed this with an unreal burger. I actually liked the beer so much that when I was given the option of which 5 litre keg to take with me, which is included in the day, I had to select the Westwood. You can see a full drinks menu here - http://www.brewhouseandkitchen.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SS17-Drinks-Menus-Feb-2017-PB4-ISLINGTON.pdf
2 hours had passed and it was time to move our beer into the fermenting tanks, which means we need to barrel the beer that was already occupying the kit. I won’t spend too much time on this but I will mention that to prevent the beer from being cloudy, as it should be (a cloudy beer doesn’t mean it’s off or wrong it just hasn’t been filtered), we filtered the beer with fish guts. I’ll be sure to ask for cloudy beers from now on.
All in all this was an exceptional experience and I recommend it to anyone and you don’t have to be a beer fanatic. I left without the hangover I came with and 5 litres of beer, what a day! More importantly I left with information that we have been able to apply to our process to give us a much smoother beer.
So when you have a free weekend, or with Christmas coming up, I would recommend a Lost Boys beer and a trip to the Brewhouse and Kitchen.
Thanks to the guys at Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington for putting up with all my questions and taking care of me. And thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for a great day!
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Until next time, stay classy.