An Anglo-Irish Tea Party!

Posted on Mar 24, 2014

Metalman Brewing - Hardknott Yerba PumpclipSome time ago in Dublin, we met Ann and Dave from Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria, and over a few beers, the conversation inevitably turned to collaboration brewing. Emails were exchanged, Skype conversations were scheduled and rescheduled until eventually, a date was set for the deed. The Hardknott folk travelled to Ireland, we finalised a recipe, and Yerba was born.

Coming up with recipes for collaboration brews is not very easy – fun certainly, but easy, no! Perhaps we would have been better set to brainstorm the recipe over a few beers, but instead what happened was, we sat down with a cuppa on a rainy afternoon at Metalman, the day before we planned to brew, and said “right, what are we making then?”

Silence.

Some “umms” and “aahhs” while we waited for the creative juices to kick in, but sometimes forcing things along can be quite strenuous! Thankfully though, there is nothing like a deadline, and once the caffeine started to kick in, the ideas starting firing forth. We bandied about flavour combinations that we thought would be interesting, and then we wondered about style definitions that might work with them. We thought tea might be an interesting ingredient to use, so we called up the nice people at Kingfisher Tea to see what delights they might have. It turned out that Mico’s description of her Sweet Orange Maté was simply irresistible to us, and with that as our starting point, it felt like everything fell into place.

A couple of weeks later, and we travelled to Cumbria to brew the beer again at Hardknott, where we also enjoyed some excellent hospitality and were escorted round the local sights of a very beautiful part of England. (Apart from being followed around by Dave with a video camera all weekend, the results of which you can see here!)

Collaboration brewing is such a fun experience – taking another brewer through your brewing process at your own brewery leads to all sorts of interesting (and sometimes hard!) questions, usually starting with “why do you……”. There are all manner of tips and tricks of the trade that you inevitably come away with, thinking “that’s a really neat idea, we’re going to do it like that from now on”. It’s always enlightening to see what others are doing in the industry, and the exchange of ideas and knowledge is great for everyone involved.

But enough rambling – Yerba is a 6.2% dark beer (if you absolutely need a style, then we’ll call it a porter, but I doubt BJCP would agree) made with black and chocolate malts, hopped with Pacific Jade and Bramling Cross with a whack of Sweet Orange Maté added at the end of the boil. It will be starting to appear at locations that have seasonal Metalman beers on tap, and the brew from Hardknott should be bottled shortly and will turn up in some speciality off licences in Ireland. All in all, it’s a pretty unusual beer, and we’d love to know what you think if you get to try some!

 

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Brewsters of the World Unite!

Posted on Feb 26, 2014

International Women's Collaboration Brewday - Unite Pale aleThe very awesome Project Venus and Pink Boots ladies have come up with a fantastic idea for International Women’s Day – brewsters around the world will be pulling on their wellies to brew Unite Pale Ale on Saturday March 8th to celebrate the wonderful ladies of beer across the globe!

At Metalman, we’ll have salubrious visitors such as Adrienne from West Kerry Brewery/Beoir Corca Dhuibne and Sarah Roarty from N17 joining metalman_gra on the day to pull their wellies on for charity. Proceeds from the brew will go to the Waterford Women’s Centre, an organisation that promotes, encourages and supports women’s development and training, and aims to empower women to create and participate in a more inclusive society. We do have some limited places still available for any beery ladies wishing to join us on the day – just get in touch through email or twitter and let us know.

The base recipe has been agreed upon globally already – a 4% sessionable blonde with a late Cascade finish – and each brewery will put their own creative stamp on it. Should be ready for general consumption towards the start of April, so watch this space!

 

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Ho ho ho and all that jazz!

Posted on Dec 9, 2013

So it’s December again already, and what a busy year it has been. Our brewery now has four full-time staff, we have retired some old tanks and have some new ones on the way, and we still appear to be no closer to bottling because we are so busy with draught. (Sorry!)

But it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s not doomy or gloomy at all – the interest in Irish craft beer at the moment has never been greater, and it’s a very exciting time to be involved in the industry as a microbrewery in Ireland. Lots of us have plans for expansion, there are plenty of new entrants to the scene, and there is a wider variety of beer around than ever before. As a result, it’s also busier than it has ever been before. And with these shiny new tanks, we’re going to need more space, more people, and ultimately, more brewhouse capacity. No such thing as a small job, as they say! And we say in reply – bring it on :-)

 

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