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St Austell gets creative

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted November 23, 2015
st austell opens small batch brewery
Booze lab: Roger Ryman and the new Small Batch Brewery. © St Austell Brewery

St Austell unveils Small Batch Brewery with new limited-edition beers available at forthcoming Celtic Beer Festival.

Cornish brewery St Austell Brewery, the Rake & Herald's most local brewery, has opened a Small Batch Brewery (SBB) that will allow the brewery to offer "a range of new and exciting brews as [the brewery continues] to deliver more choice for beer lovers"... from the brewery.

That's the word 'brewery' used seven times in a single sentence.

Beat that, you hippies!

Anyway, according to a press release, the SBB "will build on the success of the company's previous micro-brewery" but offers "the opportunity to brew 3,000 pints at any one time instead of the previous 600".

This, it continues, will enable St Austell "to provide its managed estate [of 35 pubs across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset] with a constantly changing selection of new styles for customers to experience".

Better still, thirsty beer lovers will be able to check out some of the new SBB's output at this year's Celtic Beer Festival, which will take place in the cellars of the brewery (located on Trevarthian Road) this coming Saturday (28/11/15).

But more on that later, yeah?

"All of our leading brands, including Tribute, Proper Job and Korev, started as experimental brews," St Austell's brewing director and head brewer Roger Ryman explains.

"With the Small Batch Brewery we can produce more limited-edition beers, some of which could be the new brands of the future."

Taking inspiration "from all corners of the world", St Austell, the press release states, "will be producing everything from Belgian beer to Eden Project-inspired pints" at the new unit.

Indeed, one of the first beers to be brewed at the SBB, it reveals, was a Belgian-style dubbel called Cardinal Syn, "a rich malty beer with some spicy characteristics".

"It is about perfecting recipes and increasing our knowledge as brewers, learning how different ingredients work at different stages." – Rob Orton

"We brew some fantastic beers for the St Austell Brewery Beer Festival and other events and wanted to be able to share them with more people than ever before," says brewing team leader Rob Orton.

"This gives us the opportunity to build on our brewing skills and create a whole new world of beers for people to enjoy."

"People's tastes are changing and we want to reflect this by showcasing the amazing styles that we can produce here."

"People are becoming a lot more aware of what they enjoy and they are curious, but this isn't just about making new beers."

"It is about perfecting recipes and increasing our knowledge as brewers, learning how different ingredients work at different stages."

"There are well over 100 varieties of hops that all give different flavours so we are looking forward to playing with flavours and styles and making good quality beer as we always have."

five new beers from St Austell
Your new five-a-day from St Austell: Some of the SBB's recent output. © St Austell Brewery

And now, as promised, more on the Celtic Beer Festival, which, a different press release states, "is one of the biggest in Cornwall".

As such, it "will offer punters a choice of over 170 different beers, ales and stouts, including the recently launched Mena Dhu Six Malt Cornish Stout", which seems to have changed it's name slightly since we ran a story on it a couple of weeks ago.

Furthermore, as alluded to above, "there will also be a selection of beers brewed especially for the festival" at the SBB.

But what are Ryman's top five SBB-brewed beers to sample at the festival?

Well, first up there's Pacific Jade, a strong blonde ale brewed with New Zealand Pacific Jade hops and which, the brewery says, boasts "hints of cereal, banana and fruit".

Then there's Smoking Guns, "inspired by the wood-smoked beers of Bamberg, Germany" and blessed "with an aroma of beach [or beech?] wood-smoked malt".

After that, get in a load of Vanilla & Bourbon Porter, "a dark malty beer brewed with loads of fresh vanilla with added bourbon whiskey making it deep and complex", a bit like an underpaid editorial assistant at the Rake & Herald really.

What's more, for all you daredevils with a passport who dream of one day venturing Up Country to England for some reason, there's East of the Tamar EPA, which uses "new experimental English hops" that deliver "distinctive tangerine and satsuma flavours to this English Pale Ale".

But if the thought of heading into the frozen Arctic wastes of Devon and beyond is too much to bear, relax because you can always play it safe with some Underdog Session IPA instead, "a light 3.5% beer packed with Simcoe, Galaxy and Styrian Cardinal hops" that you can probably drink all day until the barrel's done.

Get on, boss!

More info on the beer festival here.

Chief hack's note: Cheers, Sandi. However, as you failed to mention that a) the SBB will become "part of the company's enhanced visitor experience in 2016" and b) the Celtic Beer Festival will run from 11:00 to 23:00 local time (with tickets priced £10 ($15) on the door and including a commemorative glass plus two 0.5-pint beer tokens), I'm going to have to dock your wages. Again.

But enough of you, you dozy mare. Here's Roger Ryman talking a bit more about the SBB, embedded here on the booze-tastic
Rake & Herald from St Austell Brewery's YouTube channel, which you can check out here.

See also St Austell launches Mena Dhu, posted 5/11/15, among others.

Sandi Toxic
was raised by wolves inside a disused clay pit near Lanjeth. You can befriend her on FaceBook here. She is still quite feral.

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