Best known by their award-winning Mad Goose, Pure Gold and UBU beers, this brewery is located on a farm in the picturesque Warwickshire countryside and was established in December 2005 by Paul Halsey and Jim Minkin. This innovative, young and fresh brewery, it is one of the fastest growing in England and still makes the beers in the traditional way.
I was invited by Paul Halsey to see how they produce their beers and hear about the next plans for the brewery. Flo Vialan, the head brewer, would show me the process of beer brewing and the eco-friendly wetland system to treat waste beer.
The landscape surrounding the brewery is entirely formed by cultivated fields and some spread farms. It is a really relaxing place out of the crowded city, far from the typical brewery housed in an urban industrial unit. Paul told me that after a long search they discovered some old barns to start their brewery. He loves the countryside and wanted this kind of location for their project.
I was shown the brewing process, which takes several stages, starting by boiling water in a tank mixed with barley and releasing the starches in the cereal. Then, this is followed by fermenting with yeast, converting into alcohol and adding the flavouring, including hops. It may sound easy, but there are some details in the process you have to be aware and some measures to be done, as the right natural ingredients, nice colour or adequate PH.
They are currently installing a new brew house due to expansion with more modern equipment to be able to produce an increase in brewing capacity. The new facility is regenerating another old barn and it is expected to be fully functional by the next month in June 2013.
The brewery also has a strong commitment to environment and sustainability and this is reflected in their process. They invested in heat exchange technology to save energy consumption and waste is managed to naturally recycle, spent grain goes to cattle, yeast to pigs and hops become fertiliser for the local farmers. Also bottles are made from reusable glass.
The most important feature for this sustainable approach to waste management is the natural wetland system they have incorporated. The liquid waste goes through different stages in ditches and ponds filtering and cleaning it before being discharged as pure water back to the river. A varied eco-system has been developed, where the waste feeds willow and alder trees, provides food for insects and helps algae to re-oxidate.
This sustainable wetland helps minimise carbon dioxide emissions and encourage wildlife diversity. The bulrush bed treatment for the effluent attracts a good amount of birds on summer. Furthermore, they create a lovely landscape.
After I saw the wetlands, it was the end of my visit and I had the chance to look at the little farm next to the brewery. I really enjoyed watching the lambs, hens and ducks. It was a nice ending to a very enjoyable walk and it was great to discover how it is made one of the most emerging beers in England.