#ISBF5 Collab Brew No 7 - Five Towns (The Trilogy Completed : AKA "A Sweet Thing at the Magic Shed")


From the very first ISBF in 2014, Malcolm Bastow and his Five Towns beers have been a fixture at our little bash. I knew they were good, but little did I know they they would become so integral to the event. Voted by drinkers as “Beer of the Festival in 2014, 2015 and last year, with last year’s beer (The Belgian Rhubarb tripel “Always Crashing….” entering local legend and an entire 9 selling out in only a few hours at the Smithfield!)

It’s become a tradition to have 2 beers. But this year……Oh bugger it. Take it away Jock - today’s guest scribe!

“So between Jim (Beers Manchester & ISBF founder) and Malcolm (Five Towns Owner & brewer), they concocted the idea that Malcolm would have 2 of his own beers and a Collab on at #ISBF5.

Well, he has earned this, seeing as his beers have won beer of the Independent Salford Beer festival 3 out of 4 previous years.

Impy seems settled in Wakefield!

Impy seems settled in Wakefield!

We were discussing the beers a few weeks back at a Five Towns Tap take over in Harry's Bar Wakefield and when Malcolm said that one of the beers would have Melon hops and a little sweetness, an idea occurred...

Malcolm is a massive Bowie fan and as I am too (Jock) and many of his beers are Bowie theme named, I blurted out 'Sweet Thing' (at least I think it was me) then we all thought,hang on….. 3 beers? Why not call them…… ...Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing(Reprise) a trilogy of Bowie songs from the classic “Diamond Dogs” album and often performed/recorded live as one longer dark and seedy wonderful song. My Bowie favourite...


So a plan was hatched, 3 beers, 3 brew days - All available first at ISBF5.

Jim, Malcolm and ISBF comrades had already held 2 of the brew days (already blogged by Jim), so this was the 3rd one, 

5.30am up and 7am start, myself and Jim arrived at same time and on entering the Magic Shed at the bottom of Malcolm's garden……..


……Where I found out that the Candidate had been casked and Sweet Thing (Reprise) was sat in the fermenter making itself beautiful for the aforementioned Charity beer festival.


The mash was prepared, with mash temp at 66.6 (a photo op NOT to be missed – Ed), Transferred to the copper then bittering hops added. Leaving those to the boil, we went for a brew of a different kind.

We had company for this from no other than the man himself - Bowie! A life size cut out in Malcolm's living room.


Breaking up the Hops is joy, smells wonderful, then this incredible smelling Melon hops 'batch one' was added, a short time later 'batch two' of the Melon Hops was added.

Only if this was scratch and sniff could you really enjoy how good the raw hops smelt.


Time for breakfast, another brew accompanied by that cardboard life-size Bowie and Bacon/Sausage/Egg muffins. Refreshed and ready for some physical work, Jim and I dug out the used Mash and put it in sacks ready for the local farmer to use to feed his cattle.

The luscious liquid then syphoned, pumped really, via heat exchange apparatus to the Fermenter. Jim added the final touch, the yeast.

Malcolm will 'dry hop' with Melon hop pellets later...job done..4 or 5 hours of the most enjoyable work this desk jockey has done since 'this time last year'


Thanks to Malcolm and Jim for a good day. And this beer 'Sweet Thing' will be a pale, lovely drinkable 5.0 to 5.5%, the other 2 beers in the trilogy around 9%!

This one will be the first one I try on Thursday 29th November. Hemsley House, Salford. I have tickets, many, many others have too, not many left....

Every single penny of profit goes to Charity.

Great people. Great charity. Great venue and GREAT BEER.”

Cheers Jock!

He’s coming. Are you? The last few remaining tickets are here