Macc To Basics – Route and Timings #Twissupdate

twissupReeto! It is now officially Macclesfield Twissup Eve…

I’ve been up against it today time wise, so apologies that this is a little later than planned. Below is basically a rough timetable for the day, but as always nothing is carved in stone, especially this year. So expect a leisurely wander, to great places with lovely folk, drinking ace beer.

All timings are approximate and all beers listed as being on are subject to change; as beer sometimes can be unpredictable. This is a quick rundown, a snapshot if you will, of some of the beverages that await you…

*Saturday 22nd August 2015*

Our first stop, Treacle Tap is easy to find. Walking out of Macclesfield train station, turn left down the bank onto Sunderland Street (No 43), the bar is 2 minutes walk and is on the right hand side, walking away from the station as you look at it.

Treacle Tap – 11am-12:45

Marble Brewery tap takeover, informal meet the brewer session. Great North Pie Co “Breakfast Pie.

RedWillow Brewery – 12:45-14:45

Faithless XLV, a New Zealand Hopped Brett IPA mini-launch. Faithless 44 Dry Hopped Pilsner, Directionless (or Wreckless tbc). Toby Mckenzie cremating meat.

(Gunco Lane)

The Wharf 15-16:45

Cellar aged Cheshire Brewhouse “Smokehouse Porter” (12 months), and Anarchy Quiet Riot IPA (a little less). Further cask and keg offerings.

(107 Brook Street)

RedWillow Bar 17-00 – 19:00/till late

Roosters Baby Faced Assassin, Salopian Kashmir, Mikkeller Crooked Moon and many, many more…

(32a Park Green St)

Brewtique – Bottle Bar and Taphouse 11AM – 11PM (all day) then general wanderings from RWB roughly 19:00 onwards

Four keg taps, full bottle menu. Lots of SOURs, see here.

(8 Market Place)

To confirm this is not a ticketed event, anyone can come along. It would be great if you can join us for the whole day, but if not you should find us in the vicinity of the venues at the above times. Share the love using the #MaccToBasics hashtag on twitter, have fun.

See you at 11am in The Treacle Tap, I have a hot date with a breakfast pie..

Cheers

“The East Indiaman Story” a guest post by David Shipman for #BackInMacc

IMG_20140728_163229327If I look back on the stories I have, or could have, told over the last two years or so, I’d probably have to start all of them along the lines of “It started over a beer”.  This is no exception.  It’s a story in its own right, but really its just a chapter in a longer story that isn’t yet complete.  But it is becoming a significant chapter.  Enough though of the self-serving prelude.  Let’s get this tale on to the Friday night in the first half of 2014 where this actually begins.

It started over a beer.  A beer in a brewery as it happens, but that isn’t entirely relevant.  A beer in a brewery one Friday night, where I was enjoying the rare pleasure of chatting with Phil Hardy.  I should point out that the pleasure is rare because we don’t cross paths often enough, not because Phil is only occasionally a pleasure to chat with.  I’m digressing.  You may need to get used to it.

Roll back the clock further to June 2013 and I was otherwise engaged when what started innocently as the now [surely] infamous “Macc Twissup” took place.  The simple concept of a bunch of tweeters and bloggers  meeting for drinks in a given town, and enjoying a few establishments of note, was taken to a new level.  The effort Phil, and those who supported him, put in to creating a day with treat after treat for the faithful was by all reports a massively well-received and successful event.  Don’t trust me on that – I wasn’t there – but seek out the reports of others who were…

Back to that Friday night in 2014 and Phil was beginning to tell me all about his plans for the  sequel.  By this stage in the tale I must have been onto about my third pint, and I expect anyone reading this is too, either that or they’ve given up already.  But we’ve only just begun, and so had he.  Rather than it just having been a one-off twissup, the plan was to make this a regular event.  Annual perhaps.  And why not?  Unfortunately by this stage the timing was such that the start of June was out, and the rest of that month, plus July and August, were pretty well sewn up with a glut of rather notable events.  September presented a chance to sneak something in though, and so that was the plan.

The date wasn’t the only change on the cards though.  Even despite the added extras Phil managed to coordinate last year, the idea of “just” having another twissup wasn’t enough, and to be fair wasn’t going to make this anything more unique than other events happening round and about, other twissups locally and further afield.  So Phil told me of his plans for “Back in Macc”.

At that early stage it was still a concept.  But a great concept.  Especially, it seemed, for me.  A showcase for new and upcoming breweries.  Talented homebrewers.  New startups.  Fresh shining brewing stars.  And, what, sorry?  Me?  You want to include me?  Well flattery gets you everywhere.  But why me?  Maybe some background is in order.

"I've brewed for a few years now" - The evidence

“I’ve brewed for years now” – The evidence

I’ve brewed for a few years now.  Not as often as I’d like, but as often as I can.  I’ve made some beers I like.  I’ve made quite a few more that other people like far more than me, but I’m a perfectionist.  I can fault most of them in one way or another, even those I like.  But the feedback has always been good and pretty positive in almost every case.  Obviously there have been some disasters, that is all part of the development process, but the number of beers to be rapidly recycled through the waste water services of Severn Trent are actually minimal.  Only one full batch has ever gone that way so far, along with a few iffy bottles.  More recently, opportunities have arisen which have allowed me to play at brewing on a wider stage.  I’ve been incredibly blessed by contacts in the brewing world through my small involvement in a certain Beer Bash in an equally alliterative Midlands city.

Dave in his more familiar guise as "Grand Master of the Bash"

Dave in his more familiar guise as “Grand Master of the Bash”

As a result I got the opportunity to visit Blackjack in Manchester in the autumn of 2013 to re-brew what I think was a moderately successful American Pale Ale recipe that I home-brewed earlier that year.  And so came about the first commercial collaboration brew I can lay claim to.  This was followed in December by a second brewery collaboration that brings me full circle back to where I was standing talking to Phil.  Or rather listening to him being much less long-winded than I am currently.

bjb-web-593x363So, I needed a beer (well, it was a long-winded conversation after all!) but more importantly I needed to brew one, not just drink it.  In time for a September event.  Homebrewing probably wasn’t enough, it felt like it really needed to be commercially available at the time.  I can’t for the life of me remember right now if Rob, from Blackjack, was standing with me at the time or if I pitched the idea to him later, but somehow an agreement was reached that I’d return to Manchester to brew, and this wasn’t just a collaboration that boosted the ego of a two-bit home brewer, but a genuine cuckoo brew.

The idea gained momentum, in my mind at least.  What to brew?  Dust off the APA again?  No, it needed to be something new.  What about another homebrew I’ve been pleased with?  Hmm, nothing is jumping out at me. I’ll tell you what.  Let’s take the same concept of the last beer I brewed at home, the one that got infected and was an unmitigated disaster.  One that I therefore have so far not managed to get any reliable track record for (for the purposes of discussion I count having done it once successfully as having a reliable track record).  Let’s take that concept, go back to the basics of what I want to come up with, and rock up at the brewery one morning without a complete plan how it is actually going to be achieved.

IMAG0083What of the concept then?  I wanted an IPA that had plenty of character but managed to achieve it with all-English hops.  A robust body with a strong hop presence.  Not lip-curlingly bitter; I wanted the hops to be all about the finish rather than punching you in the face before you start.  As I walked into Blackjack on the brewday I had a few thoughts on what malts and hops might work, and an idea of the sort of strength to aim for, but that was it.  The plan evolved – malts had to be decided on before we could get down to mashing-in, obviously, but the hopping could, and did, follow after.  Just-in-time brewing I guess!  So, the grist developed quickly, with a good dose of pale malt supplemented by something darker to get towards the deeper copper colour I was looking for, and to impart some extra flavours; this was achieved by a fairly small amount of dark crystal malt, balanced by wheat and cara malts to provide extra body.

I already had two hops in mind – First Gold and Admiral – which both feature high in the list for intensity amongst the English varieties.  Keeping an open mind though a rustle through the hop store brought Summit to my attention.  There was an appealing fruity aroma which fitted perfectly and so the decision was made to use a combination of all three.  A bit of Admiral at the start of the boil to get the desired bittering, and a goodly quantity of all three combined late on – half 5 minutes before the end of the boil and half 10 minutes later.  The hop selection seemed to be well vindicated judging by the sample taken during the transfer to the fermenter with a good fruity aroma and flavour showing through.  And that’s how I had to leave it.  It’s slightly strange leaving your beer in someone else’s care like that but needs must.  The next time I was going to see it, it would be handed to me across a bar!

It was about three weeks later that the moment finally arrived.  The beer had been at the Craven Arms in Birmingham for a week or so, but I managed to time walking in with the freshly collected pump-clip down to perfection, as I was handed a sample glass that had quite literally just been drawn through.  Time for the first taste!  It was a pleasingly robust colour, and the solid body I had intended to achieve was all there.  Enough bitterness to enjoy without being overwhelmed, and yes, as planned a nice fruit finish, a little subdued but very definite.

Since then I’ve followed East Indiaman to a number of other pubs and festivals, and it has been an interesting experience to learn how different cellaring techniques and timings have affected a single batch of one beer.  It has given me good appreciation of what care and attention the beer most benefits from, at least while young.  It will be interesting to see how some of the casks which will have had the benefit of much longer conditioning in the brewery fare as well.  And to see how the kegs compare.

c57c9518db1e2b00c6b01940013c9149So, when this batch has all gone, what next?  Well there’s some discussion been had about brewing a further batch, and while I want to make some tweaks I am generally quite happy with where this recipe has ended up.  In the meantime another rather exciting offer has landed that could see a turn to something slightly more continental, making best use of facilities geared up to kegging.  Beer number two is definitely on the cards for Otherton in the coming months!

For now, here we are (nearly) Back in Macc and this first batch of East Indiaman gets one of only three outings in keg.  I’ll get what is almost certainly my first sample in that format, and I’m naturally hoping it works out.  I’m pretty sure I’ll get some direct feedback regardless!  So come along to what promises to be a marvelous event, say hi, have a taste, and be gentle!  See you there!!

Isosceles – Macclesfield Twissup in pictures

Well there it was done, and at last a period of relaxation “sans stress” is on the cards.

As promised, no more writing as I can’t tell you how the event went, all I can say is that I, personally, had a brilliant day with some the best folk in the world.

Thanks again to everyone who made the effort to be there and share the fun, but most of all to my friends at The Treacle Tap and Great North Pie Co, The Macc and The Wharf, you guys rock!  I hope that at least some of you Twissupers will return to these cracking venues to drink great beer again.

Plus of course everyone at RedWillow, who I know worked like dogs to get the brewery in the condition it was for our enjoyment, you deserve every success that you are getting and more.

Oh and finally to the pig, for tasting sooooo good! 🙂

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Breakfast pie at The Treacle Tap, another fine creation from The Great North Pie Co, make sure you check them out

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Pre noon drinkies commence, plus pie guzzling

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A thing of beauty

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Gregg impersonating Tommy Cooper “muss-like-that’..

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Sing it with me now!

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Shapeless – Cask

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or Shapeless Keg? You decide

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The RedWillow chaps pulling their pork!

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Do not, I repeat DO NOT, publish this photogr…..OOPS

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Gregg, JC and Claudia, top folk

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the amazing Mr Toby Mckenzie

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Spot the Dave?

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Weird Beard & Elusive Brewers Gregg Irwin and Andy Parker launch Nelson Saison

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Officially (probably) the worlds youngest Twissuper

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I really have no idea, Funky Chicken?

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Marc, discretely rifles my beer stash…

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Chris Stairmand pouring the delicious Isosceles IPA, no favouritism there of course 😉

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Indiana Jones’s

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Isosceles Launch at The Wharf, with Brian of Bitches Brewing and err me

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Macc Twissup itinerary #Twissupdate 8

Twissup is nearly upon us and bar a few last-minute set up arrangements, everything “seems” to be in place (crosses everything), so I thought a bit of an itinerary and directions might be a good idea.

Isosc map Jpg

As you can see from the map above, it’s all pretty straightforward on the directions front and none of the venues is more than ten minutes walk from another and probably less.

11am – 12:45 pm Treacle Tap

The first point of call is the Treacle Tap which is about three minutes easy walk from the railway station. Although not plain on the map itself, simply exit the station (there is only one exit) turn left and walk down the drop off ramp to Sunderland Street, The Treacle Tap is approximately 500 metres up the road on the right hand side.

At the Treacle we have Great North Pies delicious sounding breakfast pies and hopefully their creator in attendance, chef Neil Broadhurst. Washed down with among other things Marble Earl Grey IPA. We also have our first beer exclusive with the fabulously sounding Bondi Blues from Cheshire Brewhouse.

As a last-minute addition I’ve literally just heard the Summer Wine Brewery’s “Devil Loves Chinook” arrived last night to complete the keg line up. 🙂

There will be more beer available of course on cask and keg, plus an extensive bottle list including your chance to grab your very own bottle of Red Willow Tilting Ale, brewed for Virgin Trains.

13:00 – 15:00 (15:15-ish) RedWillow Brewery

Next up the brewery visit to RedWillow, here we will sample another brand new beer brewed for Twissup, Shapeless, a continuously hopped IPA, Witless 3, Faithless G&T Saison and perhaps more dependant on demand and numbers. If all goes well you will be able to meet Michelle from OffBeat and Brian from Bitches Brewing too, both of whom were involved in collaboratively brewing two of the beers on offer. To feed your hunger we should have pulled pork fed on RedWillow grain and marinaded in RedWillow beers.

Brewery tours will be available on a staggered basis, again dependant on numbers and demand.

The leaving time has been stretched here slightly to allow the next venue to clear thirsty beer drinkers from their bar as we move on.

15:00 – 16:50 The Macc

At The Macc we will see our third brewery launch of the day with the fabulous Weird Beard and Elusive Brewing collaboration Nelson Saison. All being well both Greg and Andy from each respective brewery will be onsite to tell you a little about the beer and how it came about etc. One not to be missed

Other highlights include Magic Rock/Kissmeyer Salty Kiss and Oakhams Eugene’s Lair.

The Macc has enough cask and keg lines to quench your thirst whatever your dispense preference and a great bottle selection including some 750 sharing bottles. Food too if you’ve room and get the munchies.

17:00-15 – 19:30 The Wharf

Finally we wind our way towards our last scheduled stop of the day (the timings may be a little out by then hence the extra noted), The Wharf, recently voted Cheshire CAMRA Pub of the Year 2013.

Here we have yet another exclusive beer launch for your pleasure, the Bitches Brewing Co & Black Jack Beers “Isosceles IPA“. Again it’s hoped that the brewers will be around if commitments allow, if not I will be and I helped to brew this one too. 🙂

Chris has also lined up a very special cask of Marble Old Manchester, plus no doubt another fine beer selection on the cask and keg lines (including Tiny Rebel Urban IPA) one of which will be on the hop rocket.

……….

Map plain ArialOf course as normal on such occasions there is no requirement to follow the crowd for the entire day, although clearly that’s the idea, but if that’s not your bag and the venue in question is rammed feel free to move around. All I’d ask is that you please make an effort to visit each participating venue as everyone has put a lot of effort into making this day happen.

One word of warning though on that front, clearly the brewery time is fixed so don’t miss that, and if you do move around, be aware that any launch beers may not be on until somewhere near to the stated times.

Links to both of the map and directions sheets pictured are below (hope they work) both of which should print very well on A4 on a good quality print setting. They will available printed too from The Treacle Tap (assuming I remember to print and take them) as will be the local CAMRA leaflets which detail other pubs in the area of note, should you want to venture further afield.

Map arial

Project Isosceles – Map rev1

Should you need a hotel, there is a Travelodge 200 metres from the train station for cheap n cheerful accommodation:  Travelodge Macclesfield Central

10 Days to go…EEEK #Twissupdate 4 (forward slash lots..)

Yes, I’m still alive and kicking and (I hope) everything is on schedule still for the Macclesfield #Twissup on Sat 29th June.

It’s been a tough old month for various reasons and the Twissup has thrown us a few curveballs to deal with, but I think we are finally getting there. Read on…

Blood Orange Pale Ale #Fail 😦

A few weekends ago I went to spend the day with Mr Jay Kraus at Quantum Brewing to brew the previously announced Blood Orange Pale Ale that was to go with the breakfast pies at our first stop. I had an absolutely great day including a post brew visit to Stockport beer festival, and helping to stave off a less than stealthy invasion of Scotland’s most famous bowler-hatted beer guzzler.

IMG_6164The brew smelt amazing and all was going well, until a week ago when Jay rang to tell me the sad news that the brew had developed some sort of infection and had to be drain poured. Gutted

This left us in the unfortunate position of being too late to brew again or source something unique as we’d hoped especially with the breakfast connection we were hoping for. So, after much ado, we sadly had to accept defeat on the new beer for the Treacle Tap.

However all is not lost, we do have a replacement that I am sure will make you very happy. It’s the latest incarnation of the Marble and Emelisse collaboration brew Earl Grey IPA. If you’ve not had it before, it’s an absolutely beautiful IPA with loads of citrus notes that should get your breakfast off to a flying start, if you have had it before, you already know that…

Triple collab-off 

1005584_10151473650023479_21125648_nMore bad news I’m afraid, (but trust me, again it gets better) the triple Mckenzie/Kraus/Stronge collaboration brew failed to materialise. Not through want of trying, purely the logistics of diaries.

854However, enter stage left Cheshire’s finest Brewster, a Dotty chick by all accounts, who joined forces with Toby at Red Willow to create something amazing featuring this lot ->

I’m led to believe this was just for starters… More news to come on that front in the next few days..

Tilting Ale – Virgin Trains sponsorship

Some excellent news that I’ve had bubbling away screaming to get out for several weeks finally broke the surface last week

Despite Toby’s ever so subtle twitter clues, not many folks picked up on the fact that this was something very special indeed.

This is massive well deserved news for Red Willow and hats off to Virgin Trains too for using locally sourced suppliers to service their onboard stores, of course it has obvious benefits to the beer loving rail traveller too as you will as of this coming Saturday be able to sup Red Willow Tilting Ale as you go, proper “train beer”. Launching at Treacle Tap on Friday 21st June it will be on trains the day after.

But there’s more.. Once Virgin learned of Red Willow and Treacle Taps involvement in the Twissup event, they contacted me to offer sponsorship (which sent me into fits of mild panic, “it’s turning into a monster” I thought). I needn’t of worried though as they have been brilliant, offering support to compliment rather than a marketeers takeover. There are a few things in the pipeline but I have managed to secure twissup attendees with a bottle of Tilting Ale for your journey home (train beer). Stay tuned for details on how to get one..

Weird Beard / Elusive Brewing Nelson Saison launch

As previously reported Nelson Saison is due in town at The Macc for #isosceles, then it nearly wasn’t after a change of management at the venue. Thankfully, after more than a few tense days we are sorted and the beer is winging it’s way north.

Cap-design-FinalI’m also incredibly excited and proud to be able to announce that Weird Beard are launching the beer on the day, so you’ll get to sample it before it hits the even the countries most exclusive beer establishments, insert really smiley bearded skull image here…

and finally

CAMRA Champion Pub of Cheshire 2013

What absolutely cracking timing for the twissup, a fine choice by CAMRA and top news for The Wharf, our last but by no means least stop of the #Twissup.

A bloody good boozer run by bloody nice folk. The special one off beer for The Wharf is brewed and will be announced in the coming days, with brewers attending on the day. Chris has his hop rocket primed and ready to go and a beer list to be announced soon, this will be good…

I shall now stop wittering and go to pour myself a nice cold one, having unburdened my befuddled brain of #Isosceles info, keep your peepers peeled though as there are lots more updates to come, including maps and a sort of itinerary..

Cheers

Please join the Macclesfield Twissup #isosceles Facebook page and sign up.