Festive Bulletin

This last month or so, since our quite amazing launch at the Hippo Taproom, has been a little surreal. It’s probably been a bit more like what running a functioning brewery is supposed to be like - we’ve had so much to do we’ve had very little time to make more beer.

Within a couple of weeks, all but a couple of earmarked cases and kegs of the launch beers were gone. We’ve sold only to a select few places in Glasgow, and haven’t chased up most of our preliminary contacts. We don’t have enough beer.

A couple of Sundays ago, the three of us got together to do a double brew day - something we hadn’t attempted because a single brew day has taken us somewhere between 10 and 13 hours thus far. We brewed our India Pale Ale and our Telford Road Extra Pale Ale back to back. We started at 8am, and finished at 1am. It was intense.

Somewhere towards the small hours, we decided to tear the tape off one of the few remaining cases of our first attempt at the IPA. This is the one we dumped, and the only reason about 10 cases remained is that we hadn’t got round to dumping them yet. It’s a laborious process.

We popped a bottle. Slightly fizzy, but not foaming out the top. We poured it - light haze, not murky. The smell - super dank West Coast hops, light English yeast phenols. The taste is complex - dry, very bitter, and with quite a bit of yeast character. Overall impression: very nice indeed. Overwhelming sensation: regret.

Having dumped 1300 bottles down the drain, this was the most gutting news possible. But rather than wallow, we’ve decided to make the last remaining cases the first of a series of special edition, one-off beers, sold at a very reasonable price to a select few retailers. Its name: Operation #001.

A black label for a black bottle.

A black label for a black bottle.

The first place you’ll be able to get it is as part of our Gift Pack at Hippo Beers on Queen Margaret Drive, in this: the final week before Christmas. This awesome wee selection of three beers is the perfect last minute present. After that, look out for Operation #001 it in only the trendiest of bottle shops.

Our Gift Packs, available in time for Christmas

Our Gift Packs, available in time for Christmas

 

And on that subject, here’s an update on where you’re able to get/have got our beer:

ONLINE - https://hippobeers.co.uk/collections/out-of-town-brewing - Order by Midday Tuesday 20th December for Christmas Delivery

Hippo Beers - Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow - Bottle

Hippo Taproom - Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow - Bottle / Occasional Keg

The Drake - Woodlands Road, Glasgow - Bottle

Crossing the Rubicon - Great Western Road, Glasgow - Occasional Keg

Brass Monkey - Argyll St, Glasgow - Occasional Keg

The Hillswick Shop - Hillswick, Shetland Islands - Occasional Bottle

Inn Deep - Kelvin Walkway, Glasgow - Occasional Keg

The Cave - Great Western Road, Glasgow - Bottle

Valhalla’s Goat - Great Western Road, Glasgow - Bottle

 

Got a shop or pub and want to stock our beer? The only place you can currently get it is Fusion Beer Distribution, who are selling for the same prices we are. Contact them here: http://fusionbeerdistribution.co.uk/ . When we’ve got a bit more beer, we’ll update you with a new a list. On that subject, our new IPA. What follows a double brew day is a double bottle day, which has just been completed. The IPA is tasting… well.

You’ll just have to wait and see.

James, Owen and Rich x

Serve with lazy dogs and log fires.

Serve with lazy dogs and log fires.

Welcome

Dear all,

I cannot believe we are here. Since the idea first infected each of our minds, Out of Town Brewing has seeped into every aspect of our lives. It's taken us many months of planning to get to now. Finally, we can sell some bloody beer. It hasn't been an easy road.

We've been tripped up a fair few times. Our lack of appreciation of the intricacies of VAT. Our underestimation of bureaucracy in various council and government departments - and we've dealt with them all. The council. Then duty. Then the AWRS. Then environmental health. Then trading standards. It's inspection after inspection. Fire safety keep popping by, but we keep missing them.

Our launch was planned for early September. We were going to hit the Glasgow brewing scene with two new beers - our India Pale Ale and our Glasgow Porter. With a week to go, our Porter was tasting awesome. It had every roasted, caramelly flavour we were after, and its intense carbonation gave it the presence and mouthfeel of a much stronger beer. Our IPA, however, had only just been bottled. We were tasting it every day and, though young, we could tell it had some issues.

Supposed to be our flagship beer - an IPA to end all IPAs - it wasn't good enough. And of course, we properly freaked out. We thought the most likely explanation was an infection with Brettanomyces - it was way too fizzy, too cloudy and had loads of yeasty, fruity esters. Following many more bottles, much deliberation and frantic microscopic analysis, we found this wasn't the case.

It was the cumulation of issues. We had problems during that particularly protracted brew day (our hop basket broke mid-boil), as well as with our yeast (we didn't know exactly how much we added), during fermentation (Owen blocked off the cooling circuit) and then at bottling (we added too much sugar). This resulted in a "B minus" beer - good, but overly bitter and far too fizzy, with too much estery yeast character and nowhere near enough hoppiness.

And so we cancelled the launch. We needed time to make sure our Porter was not going the same way, and we made the decision we always said we'd make about a frustratingly not-quite-good-enough beer. We dumped it. One by one, we poured all 1200 bottles down the sink, and scrubbed the bottles clean to be re-used. The beer duty return that month was predictably cruel - "Nil return."

(continued below)

Dumping this beer was hard, but it was worth it. It was proof that the transition from home brewing to commercial brewing isn't completely smooth. And it is proof, to you and to us, that we will uphold our values and only release beer that we feel is as good as we can produce. We are poor as a result, but hopefully our black bottles and plain labels can garner the reputation we're after.

We have, of course, refined our system and since brewed two new beers with great success - our Telford Road Extra Pale Ale and our Keller Steam. These are tasting as we'd hoped and dreamed, and we can't wait for you to try them with us. You'll find them, next to the Glasgow Porter, from 7pm on Thursday (24th) at the Hippo Taproom, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

See you there!
James