Crumbs Brewing

first brew

By in Our first brew 2

Finally, it’s here! And its better than a date with Jet

I’m glad to say I have finally lived out a childhood fantasy! No, not going on a date with Jet from Gladiators. Better than that, I got to venture through the round window on Playschool into my very own “today we’re going to learn how beer is bottled” episode.

It was awesome – although I’m still open to the date with Jet should the opportunity arise – it’s OK with Elaine as she’s on my laminated card.

Sorry to those of you that are either much younger than me, much older than me or didn’t grow up in this country. This blog post won’t have made a blind bit of sense so far. Although, let’s face it, they rarely do so at least I’m proving true to form.

Anyway, back to the beer!  It was an exciting day at Goddards as Crumbs Brew #001 finally got to flow through their bright, shiny (and rather expensive) new bottling line. When I say bright and shiny I’m not exaggerating. It’s pretty much fresh out of the box and has more gizmos and gadgets than you can shake a stick at.

I’m glad chief bottler Marc had read the instruction manual as the control panel alone looked like it could have landed a small space ship on Mars.  As it purred into life the button was pressed on the creation of the first ever bottle of Crumbs. With hindsight, we should have better marked the moment, but I’m not sure Marc would have fancied a smashed bottle of champagne over his new machine. Maybe one day when Crumbs has become one of the most desirable bread based beers in the world* there will be a small plaque on the brewery wall to mark the date, time and the pioneers present.

The childish grins on our faces grew and grew as the first bottle made steady progress through each stage. First the label, then into the closed chamber to be cleaned and emptied of beer ruining fresh air with a pump of CO2. Next, attached to a line of silver udders (not the best analogy I know but you get the drift) where the delicious amber lager filled the bottle with 500mls of pure pleasure. Finally stamped closed with a shiny cap and passed on to the packaging line where it was wrapped in cases of 12, ready to spread joy around the Reigate area (and beyond)!

The machine’s erm… udders filling in our swanky bottles with the amber nectar

It was my honour to crack open the first case off the line. I might get into trouble if I say this was the proudest moment of my life. I have fathered two children after all and getting married was pretty good too. So maybe it comes in at number 4. Definitely ahead of the time I won a silver medal at the county spots day for throwing a cricket ball. God is that the only other proud achievement I can dredge up from my life so far?? I need to get out more.

You cannot really fake this reaction after a first sip…

Some of the first bottles with their venerable ancestors: delicious Golden Bloomers from Chalk Hills Bakery!

Posing again for the camera, this time in front of the distinctive casks of our friends at Goddards Brewery

So the taste!?!?! 

Thankfully as spot on, indeed even more spot on, as our first test batch. We made a few tweaks to the final recipe which has caused a few sleepless nights given we had 3000 litres of the stuff whether we liked it or not. So, I am VERY glad to say it’s delivered in every sense.

“When can I get my hands on it?” I hear you scream!? We’ll I’m glad to say NOW!

Either drop us an email at hello@crumbsbrewing.co.uk and we can arrange a direct delivery to locals at a very competitive, direct from the brewer price.

Very shortly we will also be available at several local shops, so keep your eyes peeled. Our very good friends the Vineking and the new kids on the block Four Hops will be pedalling our wares with any luck!

Also, look out for us popping up at several events in the coming months. More details on this website as confirmed.

Before that, I’m just off to triple check this first batch tastes as good as the first did……

 

*from Reigate and called Crumbs

 

By in Our first brew 0

Crumbs! It’s brew 001

Today was a day of firsts

The first time our resident Spanish Crumbs Spreader, Adria, visited the Isle of Wight.

Crossing the Solent in the sunshine

It may not be as warm as Barcelona just yet, but there are few more beautiful places on earth than the Island when the sun is shining. If you believe my Father, the sun always shines on the Isle of Wight. I can tell you for a fact that’s not true – it almost always rains when I visit. So much so that Elaine and I have been branded the rain doctors by my Island based family. Many a summer has descended from pavement cracking heat to freezing rain and gales on our arrival. So it was a refreshing change to enjoy the short ferry ride from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, laden down with a number of large sacks of bread crumbs, in glorious sunshine…..

The first time in a long time I’ve set my alarm for 4am.

Far too early to be out of bed

I’d definitely rather have avoided this first. The whole reason I wanted to get into brewing and not baking was the unsociable hours bakers have to deal with. So it was a bit of a shock when our partners at Goddards Brewery announced we’d be starting the brew at 5am. Isn’t brewing all about long leisurely lie-ins, a spot of brewing and tinkering during the day and then an afternoon and evening of product sampling? I’m not sure this is what I signed up for?

Anyway – any discomfort of the early hour was soon forgotten as we embarked on the most important first of them all…..

THE FIRST EVER full scale brew of Crumbs Amber Lager! Exciting indeed! Exciting and a little nerve wracking. This was the first time we had ever brewed our rather unconventional beer using full scale kit. If you’ve been following our journey you’ll know we’ve been pretty thorough with our homework and recipe development but this was a true journey into the unknown. Something that quickly came home to Goddards Head Brewer,Nigel, when we realised our lovely cold stored bread crumbs were going to have a significant impact on the overall temperature of the initial mash.  His skill and experience (combined with a little bit of luck) came through though and we successfully settled our first mash at a perfect 65.5 degrees. Phew – any lower and we would have had a very expensive failure on on our hands.

Nigel’s smile (left) once we realised the process was actually working!

 

Nursing the rather unusual mash

Sampling the wort

From then on it all went remarkably smoothly. The separation of the sweet wort that contains the sugars that will eventually ferment into our Amber Lager was excruciatingly slow (the bread crumbs create a far denser mash for the liquid to drain through versus a normal grain only brew) but the resulting gravity (a test to ultimately determine how much alcohol will be in the final fermented beer) was spot on.  Cue picture of me looking at a glass of the wort like I have any idea what I’m actually doing…!

 

The intoxicating Progress hops were next into the mix as the wort boiled in the copper. Opening up the lid to pour in the hops into the steaming liquid was an interesting experience – a warning from Nigel not to be tempted to have a sniff of the mix was well heeded. As he put it, “it’ll be the last thing you ever smell if you do!”

Eventually it was time for the brew to make its final journey of the day into the fermentation vessel where the yeast will do its job to create our fabulous beer.  Time to hang up our overalls and sample a few of the excellent beers Goddards already make (well we wouldn’t let any old team brew our first ever batch of Crumbs would we)!

Not long to wait now….. please form an orderly queue…!