Real ales and craft beers have taken Brighton by storm, and many of us now know if we prefer an IPA, a Stout or one of the many others. But some of us may have started to wonder about the finer details, such as the type of hops that go into our pint or the brewing processes used. To solve this, along comes the Bison Beer Crafthouse Brew School to teach us a thing or two!
I headed down to the Fishbowl in the Lanes to check out this new venture, and to drink some beer. Our class was taken by Josh, a friendly and knowledgeable lad from Scunthorpe who grew up brewing beer and now runs the online home brewing supplier Home Brew Depot. He began by telling us what kind of ales we would be brewing and introduced us to all the kit he had set up. We divided into two teams and began the first stage of the process, and once the malted barley hit the hot water the room filled with a scent that made all of our mouths water.
Between every step, the guys from Bison Beer brought over big jugs of local ales. We all got round the table to taste and compare. Each ale was delicious and was carefully selected in order to teach us something about the different combinations of malt, hops and timings and how they change the taste of the end product.
By this time our own ales were bubbling away, letting the hops infuse with the malted barley. Having had a few drinks by now, we were glad to see the chef bring out our fish and chips. The Fish Bowl have won awards for their Fish Shack menu, and it’s easy to see why.
After a relaxed lunch chatting about beer, star wars and S&M clubs (which happens when you start drinking at midday), we cooled our ales, added our yeast and made the final preparations. Everybody gets to take home a large tub of the ales brewed, and after 3 weeks they’re ready to drink. I’m counting down the days, and thinking about what I’m going to name my brew.
The Brew School runs every Saturday at the Fish Bowl. It costs £89.99, with lunch and beer tastings included and you take home 5 litres of your own brew. You’ll also take home your own Brew Bible with all the information and recipes in. This would be a great way to spend a Saturday with some friends or even as a work do, and would make a unique birthday present. I had an excellent day, and left just tipsy enough to enjoy the sun in Pavilion Gardens, but not too drunk to forget everything I’ve learned.
If only every lecture was like this.
By Chris Simporis