Midlands Beer Club Meet + Brewery Tour

On Saturday 22nd of this month the Midlands Beer Club will be gathering in Skellys Bar, Ballymahon from 3pm onwards. The monthly or bi-monthly meet up rotates through different venues in the midlands from Tullamore, Athlone and this time as far as Ballymahon, Co. Longford. If you’ve not been to one of these meet-ups before then it’s not an exclusive club so feel free to join us for the first time as it’s a pretty relaxed affair drinking, talking, talking about drink and drinking until we’re not fit to be talking! The plan of attack is to meet in Skellys bar at 3pm for a beer and then venture the short walk down to our soon to be opened brewery Wide Street Brewing for 4pm to let people have a browse around and see what equipment we plan on using where myself and Carla will be on hand to answer any questions that anyone has regarding our process. Once the tour (drinking and looking at stainless steel tanks) is over (about an hour) we will head back to Skellys for the evening where the homebrewers amongst us can share around our brews for critique and enjoyment. Once again you don’t have to be a homebrewer yourself to take part. Pat in Skellys tells me he plans on having a nice array of craft beers available for purchase on the day in the bar so we can get stuck into what the bar has to offer from a beer and food perspective once the homebrew is out of the way. By all means don’t be shy so turn up and introduce yourself and sit in for a few pints at any time during the day.


For the short brewery tour at 4pm I also plan on having a couple of beers on tap for whoever attends. The first of which is a Brettanomyces IPA. I don’t primary ferment or co-ferment my Brett IPA’s with saccharomyces and this one is hopped with 25g/l of Nelson, Citra, Galaxy and Columbus split evenly between whirlpool and dry hop and should stabalise at 7%. All the big guns are in there so I’m looking forward to this one myself!


Brett IPA after one week fermentation.

The second beer available on the day is a session strength 4.2% table beer in the form of a session Brett saison. I have brewed it with Brettanomyces along with a saison yeast strain in a co-pitch primary fermentation with East Kent Goldings hops. It’s only a month old but totally dried out already with noticeable mild Brettanomyces characteristics coming through with the East Kent Goldings hops dominating the flavor profile so far. It’s a beer designed to quench a thirst but would also benefit from ageing. My own personal favourite style of beer is Brett saison so this is the session strength version and a beer I plan on always having available in the brewery as  I see more and more people requesting session strength beers from me and in the pub in general.  I always love opening Brett beers months after the brew day to check in on their evolution and it’s always a positive experience.


Brett Saison in a BrewDog glimmer. Swap in yeast for hops.

In other news I applied to the Washington University Department of Genome Sciences to avail of a small sample of Pichia Apotheca to run some trials on various wort profiles and combinations with Brettanomyces to see what it has to offer through the fermentation process but that’s a future post.


Tiny vial with a miniscule Pichia sample.

In the background experimentation continues non-stop with various new and exciting yeast strains and whatever wild fruits my uncle sends in my direction! A sour saison recipe using The Mad Fermentationist blend recently got hit with 2kg of wild elderberries so that should be one for the festive period.

The wild yeast strain from my local woods also got bottled recently after training it for over a year and exposing it to different environments, temperatures, hopping levels and after sitting for four months in a 20 litre batch it’s finally producing the characteristics I’m looking for. It started out with banana aromatics and eventually evolved into a mild orange and pear flavour aided by Hallertau Blanc with a hint of white pepper in the background. Perfect for what I’m looking for and excited to use it in a commercial batch.

Over the weekend we moved the tanks into their final resting place and repurposed the pallets they arrived in on for a little bar and seating area.

Sample pics of where we’re at. Early days but making progress.

Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday if you can make it and if not don’t worry, we’ll have beer available for purchase soon enough!




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