Real ale, meat pie and Hart Shaw
It’s not often one gets an invitation to visit a Real Ale micro brewery, drink the ale for free, eat pie and have a tour but this happened to me a few weeks ago when I received an invite to the Brewery event from Hart Shaw, the accountants in Sheffield.
I was welcomed by Tim “The Brewer” with a big smile and an offer of a drink as I was an hour early. The aroma was delicious as only a brewery can create and was then added to when the meat pie and mushy peas arrived.
It was “casual smart” and so in my suit, even without the tie stood out a bit but soon the place was full of people tucking into Blanco Pale and Vulcan’s View, all names I had never come across before but which tasted lovely.
The conversation flowed and the beer was quaffed with great vigour until the first tour of the brewery. The tour took about twenty minutes and as Tim had designed the brewery using the oldest transport mechanism we know – gravity – we went upstairs on to the mezzanine where the mixing of the barley and water started. The first thing that Tim showed us was three different types of barley – creamy colour for lighter golden beer, brownish colour and smelling a little of chocolate for darker beer and finally blackish barley for Porters. More details followed including being shown and smelling different types of hops, which Tim uses for flavouring the beer. His hops come all the way from Tasmania and New Zealand as they tend to be more aromatic than UK hops, like the Fuggles grown in Kent.
Tim, who started off as a bio-chemist and had been brewing beer as a hobby for many years until he decided to turn his passion into a job, took us downstairs and eventually into the cellar where he racked the beer into firkins. There are now plastic ones due to an on-going problem with people robbing the stainless steel ones for scrap. He talked about the many different recipes he had developed over the years and the need for more capacity in the form of holding tanks. Whilst he was taking people around, everybody else tucked into the tasty meat pie, mushy peas and of course the different types of beer.
A most enjoyable evening and many thanks to Hart Shaw for inviting me and congratulations to Brendan for coming up with a different and interesting venue.