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James Digs In To Help Head For The Hills

Posted: Monday July 9 2018

Bury born Silver Street Brewing Co. is again supplying the official festival beer for Head For The Hills in 2018 and on Friday Bury North MP James Frith visited the brewery, rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in to help out with the very first brew of the festival ale.

James dug out the leftover mash, a vital part of the process at the end of brewing, and the spent mash was loaded up for a local farmer to feed his cows. The Silver Street team talked him through the brewing process, gave him samples of different beers at different stages of fermentation and discussed the brewing industry in general with him at length.

Alongside his political duties Labour MP Frith is a music lover from the local area, having once even played Glastonbury’s new bands tent; a fact he famously included in his maiden speech to parliament.

James Frith said “Head For The Hills is one of the cultural highlights of the year for the area and I’m delighted to support the festival.

“Seeing how local Bury businesses like The Met and Silver Street Brewing Co work together to bring such passion and expertise to the weekend makes the experience even more enjoyable for me. It’s great to see Bury’s food, drink and culture offer so involved in promoting the local area.

Having seen the work that goes into planning and brewing first hand I’ll appreciate sampling a pint in September even more.”

Silver Street Head Brewer Craig Adams, himself a keen musician, has been experimenting with different ingredients and recipes since last year in an attempt to find the perfect festival brew.

Craig said “So many festivals seem to think it’s OK to sell disappointing, expensive beer to music fans, and that’s something we wanted to change when we first got invited to work with the festival in 2014

“The beer we’re making for Head For The Hills this year will be incredibly light and refreshing, with a blend of English and Pacific hops to give it a citrusy flavour. At 3.8% you should still be awake by the time the headliners come on stage, too.

“Music is an important part of what we do and we always put a lot of thought into what we listen to when brewing. The beer ferments and matures right here in the brewery, so it has to listen to the same playlists as us; we’re going to put together a festival playlist to make sure this brew puts everyone in the festival mood!”

Organised and curated by The Met in Bury, Head For The Hills takes place on 14, 15 and 16 September at Ramsbottom Cricket Ground, within easy reach of Manchester, Head for the Hills, now firmly established as the festival season’s final fling, is in its 8th year, welcoming over 12,000 visitors in both 2016 and 2017.

Tickets are now on sale for the event, which is organised by The Met in association with Blueprint Studio and Scruff of the Neck.

Ticket prices start at £40 for a day ticket and £100 for a weekend ticket, with discounts for children and families.

For more information and further updates, please visit:  http://headforthehills.org.uk

Good Intentions, great expectations: A Tryanuary beer.

Posted: Wednesday January 10 2018

It was around November when we first heard of Tryanuary. ‘Tryanuary’. Bit of a rubbish name? But the intention of the campaign (encourage people to engage with and try products by their local independent pubs and brewers during a period when the bar trade can be a cold, lonely place) seemed like it tied in with our own aims to keep the brewery lights on during this abstemious period.

Nationally the campaign is run by a network of beer-loving volunteers who are enthusiastically promoting, encouraging and partaking of events that are basically all about drinking beer. Yes, that’s right, January has become so oppressively dull that we need to put out a national call for volunteers to DRINK BEER. A sorry state of affairs*.

As we passionately believe that beer is for life, not just for Christmas* we had a series of high-pressure executive meetings (alright, I spoke to Craig in a corridor for about 5 minutes) to come up with our own Tryanuary concept: crowdsourced beer; locally brewed, giving people what they want, and giving plenty of people a chance to think about what goes into their beer. And then encouraging people to drink*, obviously.

We put a beer suggestion box in our pub, The Clarence. We lurched into life on social media to ask for ideas. We offered a prize that was beyond glamorous; time brewing and drinking with us.

In the end, rather than making a beer based on one stand-out idea we took inspiration from a number of people’s suggestions and put them to the vote. Twitter’s great for democracy, isn’t it? Many of the suggestions were for something darker, with a few shouts for a Porter. Citrus and fruit flavours and spices were mentioned, and there was a definite trend towards something malty rather than strongly hopped.

Hops going in, Craig talking science

Coffee was mentioned. It seemed like the sort of thing to perk the drinker up in January, so it went on the shortlist of ideas. But coffee beer is a tricky subject; some people (alright, me included) don’t tend to care for coffee beers; particularly those that are more coffee than beer: they can end up heavy and tasting like a brewer has done something just to see if they can do it, rather than thinking about the enjoyment of the drinker. With a little research  though (thanks, Kwoff) it turns out there are some stonkers out there, often those with vanilla flavours that lift the caffeine sting with some sweetness.

As we honed down the ingredient list (thanks to some more Twitter polling) we also realised this was a brew we’d have to do at our main brewery, rather than in our basement kit at the pub, for reasons too dull and practical to divulge here.

Coffee, orange and cardamom were leading the way as the most popular ingredients. We considered including cocoa but took the editorial decision to leave it out for fear of muddying the taste. A trinity of complementary flavours; a Tri-anuary for Tryanuary. Some coffee beers include lactose to help give it a dessert-y quality, but we decided we wanted to keep this beer vegan (why not be part of Veganuary as well as Tryanuary?) and to keep this tasting light. Having been told by a knowledgeable friend that cardamom is traditionally used with Turkish coffee to help balance out the caffeine we were convinced we were onto a winner.

The mash struggling to get going, with some wheat in the mix. Craig miming something.

Instead of one winner we decided to declare an open house at the brewery to help us make this brew and see how it all comes together. Considering we did this very last-minute (that New Year period really messes with your ability to think straight, doesn’t it?) we were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of volunteers to join us on a cold Saturday morning.

In addition to our Tryanuary ale we were also doing a small batch of our regular Porter, so Craig set off talking about the chemistry that goes into the beer and setting our first volunteer Jonathan into service with some weighing and measuring for both beers. A new home brewer, we may have scared him off with an insight into how much cleaning and planning goes into doing this at even our relatively small commercial scale. But we did get to spend some time smelling and comparing hops, and figuring out which would work best for this new brew.

Our standard Porter contains two types of hop, in relatively small quantities. Just one of these, Pacifica Gem, was chosen to go in the new brew. With 3 potentially big flavours in there and lots of work being done by the malt (and following the guidance of our voters) we made it an almost hopless beer.

Paying meticulous attention to Craig’s brewing notes and timings, we measured out the Orange peel powder (surprisingly bitter) and crushed the whole cardamom (which smelled wonderful, almost menthol) to put in towards the end of brewing, about 5 minutes before we transfer to the fermenter.

At that point, not for the first time in the day, we put the kettle on.

We pre-brewed what was basically a massive pot of good quality filter coffee in a bucket, giving it a few minutes to infuse before we added it to the beer just as we transferred to the fermenter. With everything in place, we played the new brew some good quality reggae (The Ethiopians) while we tidied up, and left the yeast to work its magic.

Orange and cardamom causing a reaction.

So, what did we learn? People really do care what goes in their beer. There’s wisdom in the crowd.

What did our visitors learn? That brewing involves a lot of preparation, a decent amount of waiting, a surprising about of chemistry knowledge and occasional bursts of panic.

And what will the beer taste like? So far it’s really aromatic. Not as strongly coffee flavoured as we anticipated, much of that flavour coming from the malt with a surprising amount of freshness punching through from the orange and cardamom. Close your eyes and you could believe you were drinking a light beer.

In the spirit of Tryanuary we’ve decided to call it Good Intentions. A great way to start the year. Maybe it’ll continue?

If you want to try it you’ll be able to get some at HOME in Manchester or The Clarence from around 20th January, and it’ll be at Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 25-27th January.

To share the love we’ll be offering free sample thirds* of Good Intentions with any other purchase for a very limited time this month at The Clarence.

Keep an eye on our Twitter account (@SilverStBrew) for more news and any other potential sightings of this new brew.

The coffee-splattered final recipe.

Good Intentions, all tucked in and listening to Train To Skaville.

*Please drink responsibly.

 

Taking Requests For Tryanuary: What Would You Brew?

Posted: Thursday December 14 2017

We’re giving drinkers the chance to make their dream beer with us as part of Tryanuary.

Head to The Clarence during December and you could be coming back for a brewing session with us in the New Year, and treating friends to a pint you helped create with your own cask on tap at the end of January.

Tryanuary is a national campaign aimed at encouraging drinkers to keep supporting independent brewers, shops and bars during the traditionally quiet month of January.

To help our customers keep going during January, we’re asking what sort of beer would get you out of the house during the most miserable of months. Your idea could be:

  • A version of your favourite beer
  • The most creative or ridiculous beer you can come up with
  • Something summery to help forget the winter blues
  • Something big and hearty and warming to help power through the dark
  • A scaled-up version of your own homebrew that you’d love to taste on cask in the pub.

To make your suggestion either drop into The Clarence and fill out a suggestion slip, or tweet us @silverstbrew using the hashtag #Tryanuary.

We’re not necessarily looking for expertise (we’ll provide that), but we do want a cracking idea for a beer that’ll be worth the trip to the pub in the new year. We’re up for suggestions on everything from ingredients to flavours to great beer names. We’ll take the best ideas we get, put them to a vote via Twitter, and the most popular suggestion will win!

The winner will get:

A brew day on our original brewing kit in the basement of The Clarence: we’ll put your idea into action and make the beer a reality with your help (there may be a little bit of beer sampling thrown in, too). It’ll be a fantastic chance to learn about what really goes into the locally-brewed beer you enjoy at The Clarence. We’ll have to do this early in the new year – date TBC but likely around 6 / 7 Jan!

When the beer is ready (should be towards the end of the month) we’ll invite you back to try it with all your friends and family! We’ll put a cask on for you and you can invite whoever you want for a pint of your beer.

We’ll put a barrel for sale on at The Clarence, Automatic, HOME and, if you like, we’ll even offer a cask to your own local pub (if they’ll take it). If the beer’s good we’ll make it available to all our customers, and we might even try to get it to a beer festival!

 

The Ts & Cs, etc

We’re opening up this competition in good faith, and would love to get people thinking about what goes into our beer, and to appreciate what your local independent brewery can do, in line with the aims of the Tryanuary campaign.

We’ll do our very best to honour the prize as detailed above, but there are a few things to consider:

  • While we encourage all sorts of ideas, we’ll probably make sure the shortlist of ideas is made up of beers it’s actually possible and practical for us to brew: a 35% Geuze made from Snickers and real Gold might sound interesting, but we need to be *reasonably* realistic.
  • We won’t be able to make travel arrangements for you to get to or from The Clarence. Similarly while we really want the winning suggestion to be made with its inventor here, and we’ll endeavour to accommodate you however we can, we aim to have the final beer ready during January, so will brew without you if you can’t make the brew day. Sorry. We’ll take photos, and probably blog about it.
  • Dress appropriately for brewing work; it can get a bit messy at times.
  • We’ll do everything we can to make this a real beer that’s appealing and drinkable – the final call on where / when / if the beer goes on sale will  be with the bar managers.
  • We intend to have one cask of the beer available quite literally with your name on it for a sampling party where you can invite everyone to try your beer. Exact date and details TBC; again we aim to do this at The Clarence. The more the merrier, but remember to pace yourself. People get a bit overexcited by free beer sometimes. The rules of the pub will still apply.
  • If you have a local or favourite pub (other than The Clarence, of course) that you’d like to see sell the beer you created then we’ll talk to their beer buyer about putting you on the bar. There are any number of reasons why this might not happen, but we’ll be happy to try.
  • If any other bars or pubs want to gather suggestions then we’d be more than happy to take your ideas: drop us a line via any of the methods on the Contact page.
  • Homebrewers are welcome to put forward their own ideas and suggestions, we’ll happily work with you!
  • Other brewers who fancy a collaboration are welcome to get in touch!

 

Folk beer: New Brew for Manchester Folk Festival

Posted: Friday October 13 2017

We’re adding a new brew to our core range of beers: Folk.

Folk (4.3%) is our collaboration with the people behind Manchester Folk Festival. It’s a tasty pale ale made with wheat and Cascade hops, and it’s so good we’re going to roll it out as an addition to our core range. Folk is hitting a selection of pubs and bars across Manchester this week.

If you’re quick you can take advantage of a special promotional rate on cask barrels, thanks to our relationship with Manchester Folk Festival. Email craig@silverstreetbrewingcompany.com before 22 October to find out more. If you miss the deadline, but want to talk beer anyway, then we’ll still be happy to hear from you. We’ve got some great offers for first-time orderers.

If you prefer to talk, call 07515 651 874. And if you prefer to see the whites of our eyes before you order, we’re always happy to come and have a chat in the pub.

We’re expanding

Posted: Monday June 20 2016

Silver Street is upscaling its production by moving into a purpose built brewery at Britannia Mill in Bury this summer.  We’ll be upping production of our popular ales such as EQ, Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby, Session, One and Fire Island so that more pubs and bars can stock them.

Silver Street will also be stocking and distributing beers from other breweries to bring the craft beers we think are brilliant to many more people in pubs and bars around the north west, as well as at festivals and outdoor events.

Silver Street will continue to run a four-barrel operation in the basement at The Clarence.

New Bonsai Brew

Posted: Friday October 9 2015

Fans of the Japanese art form, which involves pruning miniature trees to give them a unique appearance, are expected to flock to Bury for the first major Bonsai show to be held in the UK since 1990. Director of the event is Ramsbottom businessman Tony Tickle, a Bonsai crafter and exhibition judge.

And to mark the occasion, we have crafted a one-off artisan ale for those dedicated to the art of miniature horticulture. Bonsai Beer has been created using an Anglo-Japanese hop called Boadicea: a mild, light floral and spicy, with a grassy scented aroma and floral notes of orchard blossom.