Archive for the ‘Not brewing’ Category

Watch this space….


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It may well be the backend of October already, but most of the handpumps around these parts are still busy serving a range of distinctly Summery golden ales, with just the occasional musty cider or conker-coloured seasonal starting to break through. It’s time for a change on the homefront.

We’ve got a lot of work on here sprucing the place up, cleaning out forgotten vessels and planning an inventive brewing schedule that’ll churn fresh brews out in the ol’ Nick of time for the Christmas break.

No recipes to share just yet, but anticipate a stout or two and a stab at a festive red.

Back with more to report soon, promise…

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Can it really be a whole year since we last updated The Boxshed Brewery website? Pretty unforgivable perhaps, but actually in such a fast-moving world it can sometimes be pleasant to take time out from writing about daily life to sit down with a pint or six and just enjoy it!

Many seasonal brews later, it’s April 2011 and life in the Boxshed is much the same as it was this time last year. It’s Dark Ale time once again in the brewery, while milds, porters and stouts are also fobbing away at my local. None of this beer is going to mash or drink itself – time to get back to black.

We’ll be posting some more updates soon enough, beginning with the outcome of this dry Suffolk stout, currently conditioning in the shade during a surprisingly hot and sunny East Anglian spring. In the meantime, get out in the sunshine yourself, visit your local community pub and check out the dark stuff coming onto taps and stillage.

It’s probably your round…

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Like many aspiring brewers, Matt Nadeau started brewing beer at home – in his basement in fact – honing his craft before eventually growing that hobby into an exciting microbrewery venture in Vermont, New England.

Rock Art Brewery now employs himself, his wife and seven others, all busy mashing and marketing innovative heavy-hopped beers for American microbrew lovers. But now Matt is subject to a cease and desist nuisance order from a billion dollar corporation and overnight his business aswell as the livelihoods of his employees are suddenly at stake.

Hansen blends the MONSTER brand energy soft drink in California, is worth over a billion and has global distribution agreements
Matt brews a 10% ABV anniversary barley wine called Rock Art Vermonster for a small loyal customer base

There is clearly no brand infringement case here, but in US law a cash-rich company like Hansen can appeal court verdicts repeatedly until the smaller company that is often in the right, can no longer pay up the $65k a time it takes to fund those court appearances.

We realise that UK pubs and breweries are having the rugs pulled out from under them every day, and quite rightly these issues feel closer to home because they affect us more directly. Like many of you, we do what we can to support local breweries and our community pub. We even remember to pay our fees to CAMRA and force ourselves to drink more than we probably ought to at its festivals. But we couldn’t help feeling frustrated by Hansens’ treatment of this New England microbrewer and thought we’d share. It’s, well, its just not an obstacle the guy would have thought about while brewing in his basement – like us, he was probably more concerned that he’d remembered to switch all his taps off.

If we were American, we’d say the situation sucked big time. As Brits, we still think it’s a poor show, and hope you’ll join us in supporting Rock Art brewers – they need your clicks and emails, even if we can’t place beer orders from outside the US. Shame.

****UPDATE : 22nd October 2009****
We’re delighted to say that for once sense prevailed and Rock Art won this round of the battle against corporate America. It’s all official, The Vermonster is free, and everyone can stop writing to Hansen and get back to their beers. Good stuff.

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…well, in the brewery at least!

I’m very sorry for the lack of updates of late, but I’ve been too busy with everything else life has been throwing at me to even think about making or writing anything enjoyable. It’s not a great situation, but that’s just how it is at the moment.

Rest assured that at some point I will have major updates to share in brewfacturing, hop growing and brewing plans – I just haven’t got enough hours in the day right now to get them out of my head and camera, and into WordPress. Soon though.

In the meantime, why not check out these three posts that have impressed me recently!

A US brewer who has taken a giant step beyond the capabilities of the Boxshed garden and has begun growing his own barley

“How to brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel”

Life at the End of the Road

Back soon, I promise!

A sack of future beer

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With my bottles of APA rapidly depleting as friends and family blink into the sunshine and take a refreshed liking to pale ales, we’re soon going to be out of beer. A few pints of stout and a couple of crates of random ales aren’t going to last a lengthy fermentation and conditioning period, even if brewing could start right away.

For this reason our plans are changing, and not in an exciting way, sadly. I can’t wait to accrue enough cash to buy any new gear, with the exception of a pair of site tubes destined for the HLT that is still a boiler, and the boiler which only exists in my head.

I’m also delaying ordering interesting hop varients from New Zealand (Craft Brewer doesn’t seem to be accepting orders anyway right now?). Instead we’re going to kick into 2009 brewing action with a very simple, low gravity ale just to get something in and out of the fermenter quickly. Barley Bottom’s new site is tempting me into a few modest malt purchases to tide me over, and I really ought to read Graham Wheeler’s latest edition too.

I’ll post up a recipe soon, but even as I type and survey my meagre victuals, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a gentle ale made with fuggles and goldings or similar, with a modest weight of pale malt to keep the ABV below 3.5%.

A supping beer to take us towards another payday and provide some further inspiration, then. More when I’m able to drag myself away from spreadsheets and the like…

In other news, The White Horse in Edwardstone recently finished its week long Winter Ale Festival and has already started scheming for its excellent Dark Ale Days fest, to be held in May. I have to admit that some of the stronger Winter fayre proved a bit chewy for my tastes, however Dark Star came up trumps as always with its Old Chestnut, while Oakham’s Oblivion was every bit as impresive as I expected it to be. Good stuff

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Hmmm,  ‘Winter Hiatus’ – not a bad name for a nice brew actually – maybe a ruby porter? Must think on…

Hopefully I’m nearing the end of my self-imposed brewing hibernation. A combination of factors ganged up and stopped me posting for several weeks. Chief amongst these was of course laziness, but there was more to it than that. I think.

Before Christmas we filled all our kegs and went on a  brewing break. After Christmas the whole credit crunch malarkey really hit home, resulting in me spending every waking hour (and some not quite so awake) sitting in front of this here screen, typing for the man. Of course I’d rather be messing around with grain, hops, yeast and various bits of shiny stainless steel, but needs must, and money’s been too tight to mention.

However, I do hope to get back in the swing of things soon. I have grain, plenty of hops in the freezer and no mild on tap, for a start!

We’ve had snow then floods here in East Anglia, but this weekend I’m hoping to get into the garden to clear up the havoc and pile some compost on the hop bines. I may even buy a new plant this week – the year is rolling on and plenty of rhyzomes are back in stock.

As far as equipment goes, my immediate plans are to replace my boiler with a slightly larger capacity vessel and move my current boiler to become a heated HLT rather than the current insulated job. I’m looking forward to this project, but again it’s a question of getting money together here and there which isn’t needed for more pressing matters. Like food. And beer from the local.

Aaaanyway – expect to hear from the Boxshed a little more frequently from now on, at least. More frequently than not at all, anyway, eh?


ps. If you’re at a loose end between 13th and 22nd February and you happen to be in the area, why not visit the Edwardstone White Horse Winter Ale Festival?  The tied Mill Green Brewery is serving up five ales (including the excellent Good Ship Arbella APA) and there will be a further 16 ales on stillage over the week, plus the usual Adnams Bitter and Crouch Vale Brewers Gold on tap. Well worth checking out – you might even catch some live blues and folk while you’re sinking a few.

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