(AKA : “Beer is a fine thing”)
This first guest post was written by James (AKA “Beerfinder General”) - who, being a bit enamoured of the brewery in question, selflessly offered to “assist” the brewers along with his own arch-nemesis Lee (aka “Leggywolf”)
Over to you J…..
Beer is a fine thing. Not just because it’s beer, or even because it occasionally allows the wash of alcohol to soak your bones and unlock parts of your brain that are normally untapped (NOT untappd), but because it should be part of social interaction and spending time with people.
Ever since ISBF2*, which for me was a watershed in terms of getting to know people who are now close friends (oh, and @leggywolf), beer and the people linked to it have been part of an ever growing sense of community and friendship. This isn’t hyperbole, or at least I don’t think it is, but just how I’ve seen my own sense of place and connection develop alongside the wider Manchester beer scene.
And an epicentre of that change has been Torrside brewery. Partly because they are local to me, partly because they have helped me discover beer styles that I’d never heard of previously, partly because they brew consistently great beer, and partly because they are, to a person (and this includes the wider team), lovely people (and Kami is ok I guess but she’s no Stanley…).**
So taking this starting point, and adding in one of the breweries who originally got me excited about beer in Manchester, Runaway Brewery, meant an ISBF5 collaboration brew between them could not be missed. And so I didn’t.
Arriving at 9:30am, a full 45 minutes before Lee (@Leggywolf) even though he set off 2 hours before me (a worthy punishment for living in Blackburn 😊), I bumped into Mark and Jack from Runaway at New Mills Newtown station. We arrived to the impenetrable expression of Kami and the mashing in began, cups of coffee were rustled up, and stirring paddles were held aloft. Inevitably, the stars of the show, ‘the famous giant spoons of Torrside’, were presented for everyone’s appreciation although unfathomably they weren’t to be used for this brew.
It wouldn’t be a Torrside collaboration brew day without appropriate snackware. Pork pies, Percy Pigs, pork balls (even if they have egg in the middle they are still pork balls Kate!), and the essential hummus were all present, which was just as well given that the first beer of the day (All Day Breakfast appropriately) was generously presented at 11am…. Lee even created the ultimate craft snack – a Bugle crisp filled with hummus finished with a chipstick 99!
The rest of the brew day was as you’d expect. Bursts of activity in between waiting and chatting, and chatting and waiting. This could be boring, or at least drag in places, but really the day was about the company and that company meant the day flew by. I’m fairly sure my face now has at least 15 extra wrinkles from laughing so much, although that could just be old age - the bastard.
You might be surprised that there isn’t really talk here about the hops used (a massive 10KG each of Citra and Mosaic BTW), the process undertaken, the sparging, the re-circulation, the yeast used etc.
But it really was about the people and spending the day just having a great time (myself and Lee did actually do some work, although it mainly involved walking up to refill our glasses with the kindly provided beers on tap 😊). And I suppose that brings us full circle back to the Independent Salford Beer Festival - people first (but good beer helps!).
Finally, a massive thanks to both Torrside and Runaway for a great day.
See you at Hemsley House!
*I missed the first one due to poor planning to my eternal regret – I’ll now never have a full set of ISBF glasses which, I’m sure everyone would agree, is nothing less than a tragedy
**this praise is a fairly blatant attempt to usurp Lee as Torrside’s No 1 Fanboy. If it doesn’t work I know this will always remain a distant dream