Friday, 1 September 2017


I'm sure beer aficionado's both locally and beyond, will be pleased to know that Burnley will be having its debut beer week, from Friday September 1st to Saturday the 9th.

Yes, organisers will be brewing up a host of events, in and around the town centre; that is sure to tingle the taste buds. A week to celebrate the town's pub and brewing heritage.

One of the organisers, John Ingham, said: " We hope that many people will join in. One of the aims is to get as many folk as possible to visit their local pub during that week and enjoy a beer."

John added: " We don't care whether it is lager, Guinness, smoothflow or real ale - just try to make it to the pub that week and enjoy a beer. Lots of pubs nationally are still closing every week; and there are many much missed pubs in Burnley. Many pubs, now closed, from the 1960's will feature on a display in the Ministry of Ale, Trafalgar Street, during the week."

So, what is the beery schedule over the nine day celebration? Well, it commences with the official launch being held at Moorhouse's Brewery Bar on Accrington Road, 1st Sept., from 6pm-11pm. Free entry and beers from Moorhouse's, Reedley Hallows, Worsthorne and Massey's.

Hang on. Did you say Massey's? Yes. The organisers have been in contact with Heritage Brewing, who are based at the National Brewery Centre at Burton-on-Trent. They still own the recipe from Massey's Brewery. So, Massey's Burnley Bitter will be available on opening night!

This will be followed by events to suit all tastes. Saturday will have a walk around six former brewing sites in central Burnley, led by pub historian, John Ingham. Meeting at the award-winning, Bridge Bier Huis from 12 noon. Concluding at the Ministry of Ale at around 2.30pm; home of Burnley's only remaining brewpub.

So, what is the beery schedule over the nine day celebration? Well, it commences with the official launch being held at Moorhouse's Brewery Bar on Accrington Road, 1st Sept., from 6pm-11pm. Free entry, with beers from Moorhouse's, Reedley Hallows, Worsthorne and Massey's.

Other thirst quenching treats includes a Tap Takeover at the Bridge Bier Huis, by the new Rawtenstall brewery, Northern Whisper (Sunday from 2pm). Brewer, Carmelo Pillitteri(pictured centre) will be talking and answering questions about his beers. 
The following day, it's Meet the Brewer Night, at the New Brew-m, from 6.30pm. Head brewer, Peter Gouldsborough, from Reedley Hallows Brewery, will be in attendance to answer any of your questions.

Also lined up is a beer and quiz night at the KSC 110 Club(Tuesday); a beer sampling session at the Talbot Hotel(Wednesday from 7pm); a foreign beer tutored tasting at the Bridge Bier Huis, Thursday from 7pm; and a  pub crawl of Central Burnley on Friday night, commencing at the Talbot Hotel.

The beery celebrations are concluded on Saturday with a visit to Worsthorne Brewery in Harle Syke. Followed by a trip to the Crooked Billet, Worsthorne, to sample some of the Worsthorne Brewery beers; and other tasty tipples.

It all sounds like a great week in prospect. Hopefully it will be a roaring success; and be repeated next year with events maybe a little further out of the town centre area - let's hope so.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Helles Bells! A cask lager challenge.

I am sure most people in life enjoy a challenge. I certainly do. And my latest challenge may pleasantly surprise some beery aficionados. Then again, it's one that may raise a few eyebrows. 

It's a challenge I have been wanting to set myself for some time. To create a craft cask lager. A lager! I hear you say. Yes, a beer, in my opinion, that will in no way bear any resemblance to some of the mass produced, bland, light golden, tasteless fizz, we regularly witness.

So, it was to my delight when I had the opportunity to brew a collaboration cask lager with the popular and well respected, Bowland Brewery in Clitheroe.

I had been in discussions with Bowland's Production and General Manager, Craig Hall. And he had bravely given me virtually a free rein on the creation of the beer. However, the brewing skills were certainly down to the brewer, Scott Baldwin. 

I had decided to use three hop varieties, namely, Saaz, Perle and Nelson Sauvin. The hops in question will hopefully give the lager a clean, crisp and refreshing taste. Along with some subtle, fruity gooseberry notes.

But first we had to mix the lager malt and the water, to kick-off the brewing process. The malts are steeped in hot, not boiling water, for about 75 minutes. The liquid is then transferred into a giant kettle, so the hops can be added.
Trial brew: 100 litre brew kit at Bowland

The Saaz hops were first in. A Czech "noble" hop. With mild, earthy, herbal and spicy notes. A taste of Bohemia! Then the Perle variety. And finally at the end of the boil, the Nelson Sauvin. The latter is one of my favourite hops. However, it's quite pungent. And Scott used it very sparingly. 

Nelson Sauvin has a delightful "crushed gooseberry" aroma and flavour. Similar to taste and aroma you get in Sauvignon Blanc wine. It will give the lager its subtle gooseberry note - hopefully!

Scott was very meticulous in everything he did. He had the temperatures and timings bang on. A real craftsman at work.

The boiling process took another 75 minutes. Scott then allowed it to stand for ten minutes, before transferring the "liquid gold" into the fermenter. 

Scott said: " The fermentation temperature is about 10-11c. The lager yeast is then added. It's a temperature that is a little cooler than the normal final fermentation temperature of about 12c. However, when the thermic reaction kicks in, it will bring it up to 12c. It's then held at 12c until the end of the fermentation process."

Scott added: " Then the temperature is raised up to 16-18c, in order to allow for what is called a diacetyl rest. After this the lagering process begins. It's cooled down to between zero and 2c, in 2c increments. The end result will hopefully be a tasty, cask craft lager."

Lager, unlike ale, uses a process of very cool conditioning at low temperatures - in cold storage. The word "Lager" is German for storeroom.

Well, after witnessing Scott plying his trade. I was confident we will have brewed and created a flavoursome lager to savour. Light golden in appearance. It will have a 5%ABV.

I've named the lager, Helles Bells. Helles is the name for a traditional German pale lager. It will be launched at the Holmes Mill Beer Hall, Clitheroe, home of the U.K's longest bar, towards the end of April. It will also be available at the Blackburn Beer Festival 28-30 April, being held at Blackburn RUFC.
My thanks to Bowland's Head Brewer, Scott Baldwin

Yes, I am expecting a few raised eyebrows after creating a cask lager. However, we are confident that it will prove a winner, both at the Beer Hall and at Blackburn Beer Festival. 

Drinking habits are a changing. And I am grateful to Scott Baldwin and all the brewing team at Bowland Brewery, in helping me to create this collaboration tipple. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Hopefully, a collaboration beer to savour.

I have to say I've had a few raised eyebrows, in relation to my latest collaboration beer.
A craft cask lager is my next challenge.  A challenge I'm greatly looking forward to.
I've teamed up with the talented brewing team at Bowland Brewery. And I want to create a bottom fermented, robust, deep flavoured lager, that will tingle the tastebuds. 
Okay, some may be surprised I want to brew a lager beer.
However, it's a type of beer that is unfairly grouped with a lot of  mass produced dross.
Hopefully, this collaboration brew will be well received. We are aiming for a crisp, clean and refreshing beer. A pale malt lightness, along with tropical fruit and light floral notes. Leading to a dry, fruity, pleasant bitter finish.
I'm keeping the name I've chosen, under wraps, until it's launched at the Bowland Brewery Beer Hall, Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. Home of the UK's longest bar.

πŸ˜€πŸ»πŸ‘The magnificent bar at the Holmes Mill Beer Hall

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Three beers to savour.

Briggsy's Belting Beverages:
Folk who read my beer column in the Lancashire Telegraph, will recall that I named some of my favourite beers of 2016 last week. 
Well, already in 2017, I have sampled some belting beverages. And here I present my favourite three of week one. 

Golden gong: Springhead, Drop O' the Black Stuff(4.0%).
Stunning Porter sampled at Tapster's Promise, Colne.
Almost black in presentation. Beige, creamy head. Roast malt aroma. Dark chocolate, ground coffee, dark berry fruits flavours. Smooth mouthfeel.A dry roasted finish. In exceptional condition - awesome Porter !

Silver salute: Portobello, Stiff Lip(5.5%). Glorious IPA tasted at the New Brew-m, Burnley. Citrus aroma. A mighty juicy, citrus bomb. Melody of flavours. Grapefruit, tangy orange, piney and lemony flavours detected. Dry bitter finish. Refreshing in the extreme.

Bronze medal: Deeply Vale, Ripper(4%). A typical New Zealand style Pale Ale. Golden in presentation.Lemony aroma. Juicy, refreshing citrus flavours. A tad peachy too. Pleasant, moderate bitter hopped and subtle tangy finish.

In exceptional condition at the Hare and Hounds, Padiham.


Do you like imperial strength IPA?

Mad Hatter Brewing Company's, Return To Madness:

A belting bottle that has the wow factor, no argument. 
This is an imperial IPA to savour. An 11% juicy gem. It has an aroma and flavour bursting with tropical fruit and piney notes. It leads to a lasting mega hit of fruity hoppiness. A refreshing fruity sweet and chewy slurp. 

The Liverpool brewer make exceptional beers, no argument. It was one of ten beers from

View other tasty tipples on my Instagram account:      
#beer🍻 #mega #ipa #tropicalfruits #madhatter #robust #beerevangelism

Monday, 28 November 2016


Northern Monk, Imperial Whisky Smoked Honey Porter.

It may surprise one or two of you that I am reviewing a beer out of a can. However, after tasting this delicious imperial stout from the Leeds based brewer. I had to tell you all about it.

It was one of ten beers I had delivered from the Imperial Beer Club. And as soon as I had cracked open the can, I knew it was going to be a beer with the wow factor.

A honey sweet and whisky aroma greets you. It pours black with a creamy beige head. And leads to a delicious melody of flavours. Smokey whisky, rich caramel, honey and a hint of burnt treacle, balance beautifully. 

It's a silky smooth, deeply rich and creamy delight. A full flavoured, boozy beverage. I've never tasted an imperial stout like it - and I've tasted a few! It was a sensational slurp.

Finally, if you are drinking this stout sitting down. Make sure you arise slowly. It's 10% ABV may have given you a bit of a wobble.

More information on Imperial Beer Club can be found at:

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