As summer’s fine rain turns to a slightly cooler, slightly heavier drizzle, the hardy folk of East Sussex have been treated to the knowledge that somewhere up above the clouds, strange things have been happening.
The first was the conjunction of a ‘Super moon’ and Lunar eclipse. This perigee-syzygy* meant that across the globe people were treated to our closest celestial neighbour getting rouged up before performing a celestial dance of the seven veils before our very eyes. Thank goodness for Twitter which managed to tap the pun-well dry within minutes of the event starting.
More importantly, NASA announced on Monday 28th September, 2015 that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) appears to have discovered evidence of liquid water on the planet. It may just be in the form of hydrated minerals now, but I’m delighted to say that at least two thirds of the PBC team had pretty much the same thought: we’re 1/4 way to a Martian Beer.
We’ve come pretty far in the past year, but I can’t promise that we’ll have liquor from Mars in our stock any time soon. Do not worry though, because plans are afoot for a celebratory ‘Martian Red Ale’ in the coming weeks. This is where we need your help. Please comment below, or follow us on twitter (@pellsbrewingcoo) to let us know your thoughts. All I know thus far is that it will be red, packed with celestial hops, and strong enough to have little green men dancing in your peripheral vision.
When we first started to think about starting a brewery, we were always thinking about sourcing our ingredients locally. HYPER-locally in fact. Early on, we made enquiries about obtaining our liquor (water) from the spring that feeds the Pells Pool. Not *from* the pool, you’d be pleased to know, but from the spring that keeps that venerable outdoor lido fresh and freezing year round.
Sadly, the terms of using said spring preclude our using this, so we’ve had to go back to good old fashioned tap water.
Water is but one of the 4 basic ingredients though, so what were we going to do for the malt, hops and yeast? Our options are fantastically open here, as Lewes and East Sussex provide many sources. Local farms can provide the malted barley, yeast has been sourced from reliable local sources, and the hops are currently growing in my own back garden (Bramling Cross, Cascade, and Fuggles).
By this time next year I’m hoping to have an all-grain beer produced with a ‘beer milage’ in the low double digits. With a little luck and some more training, I’ll be cycling the kegs from the Skunkworks to the Mothership in our Bicicapace cargo bike as well.
Now that will be something to celebrate.
I don’t think I’m the first person to start talking about Christmas 2015 this year, and I’m certainly not the first to start planning for it – I was slightly sad to see that Morrisons were launching their Christmas range all the way back in mid July 2015. In any case, I make no apologies for being prepared for our second xmas in the brewing game.
What to brew then? With three members of the coop approaching the recipe selection in slightly different ways, we’ve embraced the variety and have done what 3 men faced with the same predicament have always done: we’ve turned it into a competition.
Over the next couple of week Huw, Paul and I will all be brewing up a Christmas Ale, to be bottled and racked ready for sale in the premier craft beer pub in East Sussex – the Elephant & Castle
Details are a little thin on the ground right now, but with 1 extract and 2 all-grain creations being plotted, the savvy drinkers of Lewes will have a delicious challenge awaiting them this Winterval.
We’re looking forward to seeing what you think, and I’d love to hear your comments on what should and shouldn’t go into the mix.