#ISBF5 Collab Brew No 9 - Neptune Brewery

Today was important. This was for me (Jim). A lot like the Bexar County brewday. Let me explain.

Over two years ago, numb with grief, I made the decision to continue with #ISBF3. I needed something to keep me moving. To stop me falling into a pit. I wrote about that here.

It was the right decision for me. But I couldn’t face all the brewdays I’d organised. And one by one, I had to make phone calls cancelling arrangements. For me, the calls were “simple”. For the recipient they were harrowing. One such was to Les O’Grady. And I remember exactly where I was when I made it. As – as I found out today – does he.

This year was about catching up. And dealing with unfinished business. With bloody good people.

Les & Julie have been with us each year. Each Saturday lunch session. It’s like tradition. And from the moment Les started brewing, I wanted his beer. And we’ve watched Neptune develop into a little Liverpudlian powerhouse, pushing out exceptional beer, punching above their weight and steadily gaining an excellent reputation for flavour and consistency. Never shouting about it, letting the beers talk. And they do.

So this year, I wasn’t going to miss this. No matter what.

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Which is why I find myself at Aintree station in North Liverpool. Awaiting the loveliest taxi driver.....

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Space. Shiny floor. Shiny kit. Then a hug from Les. He knew. They both knew. I just knew this was going to be one of those “good days”. A reintroduction to Gav and we were ready to roll with some lovely malt. Including one new to me, Gambrinus Honey Malt. Exciting!

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I love that smell of hot porridge. I never could tire of that. The brown malt boomed out aromas of slightly burnt toast with a real sweet smell from that honey malt coming through. The brewery smelt astonishing. And I take some astonishing these days.

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The brown malt had an instant colour impact. So it was fortunate that we were planning my favourite beer style. An American Brown Ale.

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As anyone who’s done this before will know, a brewday is brief flurries of activity followed by...... waiting. So we’ll skip a bit eh?

Having helped Gav dig out that deceptively deep vessel, it was time for lunch and a delicious Mosaic & Citra IPA....

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And the aromatic “trial” that is breaking up the 5kg of Centennial (I did say that was my catnip hop, right?).

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With rich earthy smells from the transfer to the copper filing the air, it was time to sample the wort. And oh was it surprising! Earthy, deep and earthy, but really light with an initial impression of a really light dirty chocolate Crunchie! It’s really the only way I could describe it! Another is delicious. And That’s before the hops....

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Speaking of which...

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Following which the place was flooded with earthy fruity aromas. It was a bit like Beery Aromatherapy.

Before I knew it the day had flown – and I’d blagged a t-shirt – we’d transferred to FV & pitched the hydrated yeast (expertly whisked by YT). Home time came far too early. But I’ve got a day job. Otherwise....

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This was an important day. We talked about important things. And shot the breeze about lesser stuff. And do you know what? I left with a sense of achievement. I’d finally, FINALLY, brewed with Neptune. Not only that – and having had an ACE time – I’d helped make what initial tasting tells me is going to be exceptional. And a “must try”. Even Les will enjoy THIS one at #ISBF5!

Come try “Atlantic Ridge”. You’ll LOVE it!

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And if you haven’t got tickets, be quick. All gone except Thursday evening. And only 15 left of those! Click here

Only 15 tickets left.