We have just got back from a great weekend up in the North East over the half term hols and I managed to fit in a Brewery Tour and Tasting. Well it did coincide with the start of Manchester Beer Week (more on that in another post) so I was feeling left out.
Wylam Brewery have recently finished relocating to the Exhibition Park in Newcastle from Wylam about 3 weeks or so ago and this was a great opportunity to see what had been widely agreed on the Twitter and Blogosphere to be a great venue after their official opening.
The view on the walk up to the brewery is amazing:
The building they are now situated in is the only permanent structure left from the North East Exhibition of 1929 – the Palace of Art exhibition space. The other buildings were more temporary and were demolished in the following years – this one earning its reprieve as a Science Museum and Military Vehicle exhibition until it fell into disuse for nearly a decade. Now Wylam Brewery have given it new lease of life and have taken up residence with their brewery and event space.
This has been at least 3 years in the planning and represents a big step up in production and the kind of events that they can run and / or support in the space available to them.
The tour started with Dave Stone in the Tap Room where we were given a background into the company and the history behind them and the building they had only just recently moved into.
Then onto the tour of their new shiny, oh very shiny kit:
Ben their brewer provided a great tour of the specs and process involved. On reflection I should have made notes of the size of the vessels, but from memory it is a 30 barrel kit and they can brew 3/4 times a day if they pull all the stops out which is a 3 fold increase from their previous capacity.
What a boiler and mash tun. All steam heated, and their process was surprisingly manual rather than automated in terms of transferring wort etc. around. There were plenty of control boxes for heating and boiling and the like, but still a lot done by feel and skill / knowledge if you will.
And then came the VFs:
… and more
All double walled stainless and temperature controlled / glycol chilled. Quite simply amazing pieces of kit.
Even the test batch equipment was enough to make you jealous:
After they had relieved me of one of the stainless test batch kettles that I tried taking with me (only joking) we retired to the Tap Room for the tasting session.
I’ll leave the tasting session for a separate post, but if you are ever in their neck of the woods on a Saturday for the tour – or in fact any of the days that their tap room is open, then I would highly recommend you go. The tours are I think only available on advance booking so you will need to plan or arrange that in advance via their website: www.wylambrewery.co.uk. The cost for the tour and the tasting session afterwards is currently £11.00 each (including the ticket booking site fees). Definitely well worth a visit.