Pig Smasher - The tail about the beer

26th October 2016.

It was an extra special day for our Weird Beard calendars. For those who have been following us for a while, you may know it marked our 4 years of “Weird Beard Brew Co” coming into fruition. For those who follow us more closely and are close to us, it also marked headbrewer and co-founder, Bryan’s birthday. And the cherry on the top, we brewed with the guys at Against The Grain (ATG), at their brewpub over in Louisville, Kentucky!

Let’s set the scene a little more around this collaboration brewday...We had a couple of the team over in Louisville for the annual Shelton Brothers’ Festival. This awesome fest moves around the States, is held each year and all the National and International breweries, which the Shelton Brothers’ distribute, are invited.  So we knew we’d been in town where Against The Grain have been making their innovative beers and it so happened, a couple of Indy Man Beer Con’s ago, we’d struck up a friendship with the founding members at ATG. Well, if jumping around to “Jump Around” in the deep-end of a drained pool at one of the UK’s best Beer Festivals is by any means a definition of friendship. I digress...The equation of us being in Louisville and catching up with ATG meant a beer needed to be made together. With Bryan and my flights booked, the brewday was booked in and we were all set to make beer!

The brewpub is one of 2 of ATG breweries; it is their first location and situated in Slugger Field at the corner of Jackson and Main Streets, Downtown Louisville. The actual brewery part is located above the smokehouse bar and 2 storeys up a ladder. This made for a pretty awesome view of the restaurant filling up as the brewday progressed. See picture below. The collaborative brew team consisted of ATG’s brewery operations manager and one of the founders, Adam, their headbrewer, Amelia, and lead brewer, Brian plus our headbrewer, Bryan. I was more behind the scenes/behind the screens social-media-ing the action. We were greeted bright and early by all including another founder, Jerry, with the quintessentially American breakfast of coffee and donuts. With a maple syrup iced one with candied bacon in hand, this is how Bryan’s birthday brewday commenced. Looking back, the fact Bryan had a pig-based donut and the beer being called “Pig Smasher” is quite fitting indeed!

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Now for the important bit, the beer itself; we had decided to go for an American Red. We don’t get to see those often and always enjoy them when we do. To get that truly red hue, the grainbill featured, amongst other malts: Special X, CaraRye, Red malt and a touch of roasted barley. For the hops, it being an American Red we went for....yes, you’ve guessed it, all-American hops: Bravo, Simcoe and Chinook in the Kettle. For the dry-hopping we added more Bravo and threw some Summit into the mix.  For an alternative take on the style and to play up on the caramel semi-sweetness that lies beneath the hoppiness of American Reds, we added ample honey into the boil. The resulting beer ticked all the boxes for a classic American Red, chock full of lovely, citrus & piney hops but with the honey adding an interesting dimension of sweetness to the flavour profile. At 6.8%, it goes down easy; not too sweet, not too resinous and as the label states: no animals were harmed in the making of this beer! There may come a day bacon goes into a beer of ours (certainly not my idea) but as things stand we’re putting out vegetarian and quite often also vegan friendly brews.

As for the name of the beer, that is something of a story. We at Weird Beard are quite selective about how we name our beers and because of that we do have some fantastic names for our beers. ATG are particularly playful and witty in naming their beers so we really had to come up with something that fitted the bill. And this small dilemma manifested itself for a little while as we had no obvious inspiration for a name after the brewday. I remind you that we were over in the USA primarily for the Shelton Brothers’ Festival. This kicked off 2 days after our brewday with ATG with the first day of the beer-filled antics being on the Friday. The venue for it was at the Copper & Kings Brandy Distillery in Butchertown district of Louisville. It was a delightful day, lots of sunshine, lots of people and lots of beer. There was a not-so-nice aspect to the day and that was the Eau De Butchertown. Being a vegan myself, you’d think I may be escalating the situation but ask anyone who was there, that smell was potent! It came in waves and it got quite bad that someone had to enquire “What actually is THAT smell?” To which the response was: “Oh they’re smashing pigs today”. 

Reminiscing back to the brewday, and our time in Louisville, the idea of naming our ATG collab "Pig Smasher" as suggested by Brian, with “an ode to the ol' Butchertown stink” (quoting Amelia from ATG) seemed like a very Weird Beard and Against the Grain thing to do.

Christmas Extravaganza Open Day 2016 Line-Up

With the weekend on our doorstep, we thought to kindle your excitement for our upcoming Open Day by announcing what's in store for the event.

First things first, since the Defacer mini-cask we had on in August went down a treat (even at 11.1%), we decided to have another super-special beer on cask. This time, we've got a one-off polypin of Rye Smile (10.6%) Rye Wine. Come early to not avoid disappointment, once it's gone, it IS gone. Then, our exceptionally exciting Keg-list is as follows:

Black Christmas, 4.5%, Cranberry Christmas Stout

Little Things That Kill, 3.9%, Session IPA *latest recipe*

Sadako, 9.5%, Imperial Stout

*Against The Grain Collab Release* Pig Smasher, 6.8%, Honey Red Ale

*Brussels Beer Project Collab Special* Churchill's Delusion, 5.7%, Tobacco English Mild

*Redemption Collab Special* South Pacific Pale, 6.7%, Southern Hemisphere Pale Ale


Plus in bottles, we'll have our core, occasionals and these select specials: 
Safe Stout (released only this week)
Churchill's Delusion
Something Something Dark-Side
Something Something Barrel-Aged
Double Perle (Buffalo Trace Edition)
Sadako (Bourbon Edition)
Rye Smile (Regular and Bourbon Edition)

Just a reminder, all drink-in will be happening from Unit 5 - our Brewery; all take-out will be happening from Unit 9 - our Warehouse.

On top of all the above liquid-deliciousness, you can expect the following tastiness:

  • the yummiest artisanal Scotch Eggs & Sausage Rolls (veggie options incl) by Pig & Hay
  • thirst-quenching Square Root sodas including their special Pear & Aronia (a.k.a Chokeberry!)
  •  what we call, "snack-crack", Karkli
  • heart and soul warming Indian Street Food by 10 year veterans of the Great British Beer Festival, King Samosa

Also, it being the holidays and all, we've got a whole next level of merch for sale. Jump in on informal brewery tours, just collar someone at the bar if interested. 

We can't wait for Sunday, hope to see you folks there!

Safe Stout - the fun & games of brewing it

Good brewing involves a healthy dose of craftsmanship amongst other things. When you’re witness to good craftsmanship that often brings inspiration to the table. So, when a good idea knocks us on the head there very well may be an element of building on top of something that we already know works. And this, we’re happy to admit, is how Safe Stout came about.

We brewed our Christmas beer, a Cranberry Stout called Black Christmas, last year and found the juiciness of the fruit made for a satisfying and flavourful beer that outshone all those too potent with sickly Crimbo spices. We found the red-fruit notes worked really well to lighten the darker and roasted malt flavours and was something worth us remembering for future brews. (We do log a lot of ideas that come to mind and would make for a great beer, should we have space in our brew schedule and revisiting the list of sometime whacky and sometimes simple recipes is always a lot of fun).

In the same year, we had also brewed Safe Word, a fruit IPA with slightly tart chokeberries. With this recipe, we discovered that the fruit aromas and taste of Mosaic hops really sung when used in conjunction with the chokeberry. With both these tasty brews under our belt, it wasn’t too long before we found ourselves driven to do a dark version of Safe Word.

Using a very similar grain bill to Black Christmas, except for accommodating for the same ABV ballpark as Safe Word, we pretty much had a solid recipe at our fingertips. We experimented a little with the quantities of fruit in the recipe re-write, to get the level of juiciness we wanted in a darker beer. We also dropped out the dry hops we had for Safe Word when making Safe Word to ensure the richer, stouter flavours still had prominence.

Both beers rock playful, gimpy Lup’ins which to us, represent the fun-loving, no holds-barred ethos we have regarding brewing. They also represent the out-of-the-ordinary, little-bit-daring nature of our brewing with an odd fruit called chokeberry as well as the recipes we like to have some fun with. If you want to know more about chokeberry, a.k.a Aronia, read here.

As with our chokeberry IPA, Safe Word, when drinking this beer you’re guaranteed the same punchy chokeberry delivering tart, red-fruit notes.  Tie in the aforementioned, juicy Mosaic hops to play on that, and also subdue some of the fruit's bitterness, this beer goes down far too easy for 7%. All the while that you’re relishing these flavours, you’ve also got melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and a silky mouth-feel desired of a delicious stout.

With great pleasure do we share this beer with you. Cheers!   


Meet the Weird Bearders

Weird Beard Brew Co. is known to be founded by Gregg Irwin and Bryan Spooner. Our founders are both bearded brewers who, other than their mutual love and passion for beer, share a similar interest in music, horror films and Metal that you will see and continue to see featured in our branding. These guys were running the show as a duo for the best part of our beginning. As we grew, Gregg has transitioned away from physically brewing, still developing recipes but runs the business-side of things. He is our Spreadsheet Ninja. Bryan on the other hand, well described in his twitter bio of “brewery gimp” is strapped to the brewhouse most of the time. He’s not complaining though as he is in his element there. You’ll hear Bryan say how lucky he is to have a business partner, like Gregg, who had the skills and want to put down the mash-paddle but take up the reigns of running the business.

But Weird Beard couldn’t have grown like it has without some extra bodies. We’ve seen some great individuals, mainly our friends, come and go onto progressing their career, making a mark on our beers and contributing to the dynamics of our team. We’ve also had some folk, the majority of whom started off as part-timers, get happily stuck among us. Suddenly it’s 2 years and still counting. So here’s a little bit about each individual who makes up our slightly eccentric team. Other than the same enthusiasm, respect and love for brewing and beer, there isn’t a defining factor of what makes you Weird Beard. But, we’re pretty sure we’re a fairly weird lot and we like to think our mish-mash individualism lends to the fact our beers are never too ordinary, we know no bounds and are always pushing for innovation.

Here’s us:

Gregg Irwin
Director, Co-founder, Spreadsheet Ninja
Beard Status: Big badger beard
Fun fact: Previously ran his own Photography business, who besides Spreadsheet Ninja-ing with us is an international lacrosse referee

Bryan Spooner
Director, Co-founder, Brewery Puppet-Master
Beard Status: Down-to-his-belly long, often plaited
Fun fact: Formerly a BBC Broadcast Engineer for all national stations with an obsession for classic VW Campervans and shouty music, so not a hippy

Patrick Knowles
Warehouse Manager, Master of Warehoue Tetris
Beard Status: Depending on his mood, bearded or baby-faced
Fun fact: Spent a day driving Wolf from Gladiators around in a Vauxhall Zafira

Natasha Wolf
Events and Communications Manager, Brewery Mouthpiece
Beard Status: Invisible beard, but if you saw it, surely ginger
Fun fact: A pick’n’mix in terms of heritage, Greek-South African by nationality with German, Polish, Russian, Israeli, Dutch and Irish thrown in

Rachel Esker
Sales Executive, Beer Pusher
Beard Status: Invisible beard, she’s ballsy so beardless is not an option
Fun fact: Classicist by trade, her cars are often named with a nod to Ancient times and she currently drives Archimedes

Ryan Ringsell
Lead Brewer, No.2
Beard Status: Patchy at best
Fun fact: Exchanged Architect’s blue-prints for brewsheets and is our one-eyed team member who we affecionately albeit jokingly call Ryeclops

Kit Kazarinov
Brewer, Mr. Acid
Beard Status: Still trying
Fun fact: Kit’s extra-brewery achievements are as cool as his dreadlocks: Master of Philosophical studies, long-time DJ, improvisational Jazz pianist

Ben Hughes
Brewer, The Machine
Beard Status: Luscious beard
Fun fact: Machine at any physical activity inside and out of the brewery including packaging, cycling and race-car driving

London Beer City Open Day Line-Up

We've promised an amazing line-up for Sunday's Open Day and we feel we've done just that.

Since it’s London Beer City (LBC) and all, on our “Friends’ Tap” we’ll have the official London Beer City beer on. This is brewed by our friends at Fourpure, Five Points and Beavertown alongside Fullers. The beer is refreshingly light and summery, easy drinking and we’re stoked to be one of the few taprooms to have it on.

Now you’ve probably heard about “Hops Maiden England”, the all-English hopped pale ales we’re churning out in the hope to find a wickedly tasty and exciting prototype that will feature as part of our core range. The blog here bares all. Anyways, we’re getting a lot of good ratings for both the prototypes we’ve first released but not many votes as to which one is better. We will be releasing more but want to get the ball rolling on what hops work and are preferred. So we’ll have Hops Maiden Englands on: Olicana, Minstrel and Bramling Cross in bottle vs. Olicana, UK Chinook and UK Cascade on draught. The former has the aroma of British hedgerow, Primrose Hill summertime and floral notes; the latter is zestier with some earthiness and sandalwood. Make sure you cast your votes!

Warning contains Nuts! Sally Squirrel is our pretty whacky (or nutty, if you’ll excuse the pun) collab with Tim Anderson for Nanban. It’s essentially a dark lager base, brewed with miso for umami & saltiness, chokeberry for tartness & sweetness, walnuts for an added dimension of earthiness and Mosaic hops for bitterness and a fruitier aroma. Then we fermented it with Sake yeast to dry it out and well, because Tim and ourselves are Japanophiles. It sounds full on but like any great chef and with the help of one, we worked real hard to balance those aromas and flavours.

Lord Nelson was originally brewed at our brewery when Andy Parker of Elusive Brewing had just started out. This is version 2, called Lord Nelson (2016), where we got to christian Andy's brewery with his first collab and re-make this fantastic beer. The beer itself is a farmhouse style ale fermented with Saison yeast and heavily hopped and dry hopped with much coveted New Zealand Nelson Sauvin. Full of lip-smacking gooseberry and vinous notes on the palate with a dry finish.

Now an occasional brew but originally a milestone beer to mark our reaching Brew 100, we love a bit of Double Perle. Essentially, an amped up version of our Black Perle, it is more of everything: creamier, slightly sweeter and more chocolate-y. It’s a richer beer but we suitably add more Has Bean coffee to compliment the roasted flavours of the darker malts used.

The big beer of our Open Day is massively limited and supremely special. We will have a Brewery exclusive pin of Defacer, the triple IPA that we developed to mark our 200th brew. Casks of this bad boy do not exist so this is a big deal. That’s an 11.1% beast of an IPA, with heaps of Sorachi Ace alongside Summit and Apollo. It’s got lemoncurd, sherbert, coconut and citrus notes, packing a juicy punch with its strength and bitterness. Yet we find this is one of the easiest drinking TIPA out there.

But that’s not all! We’ll have other specials to drink-in or take-away:

·       7th Church of the Apocalyptic Lawnmower: our Anspach & Hopbday collab Dark Cream Ale

·       Safeword: Chokeberry IPA that’s officially an occasional beer now, with an awesome new label

·       Attack of the Ryeclops: the 1st of our Rye series, a Rye Pale Ale

·       Heaven & Hell: Heaven Hill bourbon barrel aged Holy Hoppin’ Hell ie: barrel-aged DIPA that is as great as the song it’s named after

·       Sadako, barrel aged in Jack Daniels Whisky: 660ml waxed bombers of beautiful beer

Remember drinking-in will be happening at Unit 5 our brewery, whilst take-out is from Unit 9, the warehouse. T-shirt and glassware sales will be facilitated at both. Also at Unit 9, be sure to partake in the LBC raffle. We’ve got a range of prizes from free-drinks or bottles or merch.

See you at the event Sunday!

Hops Maiden England - All English hopped Oatmeal Pale

We decided there was a hole in our core range, there was room for another pale beer.

Weird Beard have been feeling the strain with hops, as outlined in our Spreadsheet Ninjas blog. We are frequently struggling to get the hops we want from around the world, mainly US and New World. This frustrates us. We are also becoming more aware of interesting new British hops coming out on the market. They all have big bold claims about the tropical fruit flavours, but I am sceptical. I have tried some great UK hops, but they are always unmistakably UK hops; they all have a tell-tale earthiness to my pallet. Something down where the bitterness lingers, that just screams UK hops.

And we have experimented with British hops on a number of occasions. To me, the most successful of these was Weird Wired, a beer we brewed in collaboration with NZ brewery 8Wired. The idea of that beer was to pair UK and NZ hops in an ultra simple, ultra pale beer. We went with Bramling Cross for the UK hops, and it tasted great, but the beer had those NZ hops to prop it up.

Our session IPA, Little Things That Kill, in which the hops are different in each batch, has also had the UK hop treatment recently. We made a couple of really good batches, but again, we mixed in some US hops. Some people didn't rate these batches, because it didn't give the usual big US or NZ hop profiles we usually go for. But you have to take UK hops for what they are, and alter expectations accordingly.

A good example of this, and a bit of a marketing failure for the hop sellers in my mind, are UK Chinook and UK Cascade. These really shouldn't be called “UK blah” in my eyes. People are obviously going to judge the hop on its US counterpart, and these hops have no chance of standing up against those. It makes it difficult for brewers like us, who like to sell beer on the hops used, as people will see Chinook, or Cascade, and in their mind they are already anticipating something, leading to disappointment. The beer may be great, but it was not what the drinker was expecting.

We don't have a lot of experience of most of these hops. We have used them, as explained above, in combination with other, more tried and tested varieties, but the idea here is 100% UK hops. So we come up with quite a classic malt bill with oats and a touch of biscuit to compliment, yet give the hops a chance to shine, as a backbone to this beer. A number of incarnations will be brewed, with different UK hops each time. Then, looking at the sales, feedback and our own personal tastes, we will decide on the combination that will make it onto our core range.

First up we have Olicana, Minstrel and Bramling Cross. And second we went with Olicana, UK Cascade, UK Chinook.

We are quite well known for the inspiration for our beers, especially the naming and branding. We draw a lot on our love of horror movies, but mostly heavy music. This time was no exception, and the perfect name came to us almost instantly. Usually we go with song titles, but this time it was the title of a 1988 world tour by one of the biggest metal bands in the UK, and a personal long time favourite of mine. We contacted the band, through someone who knew someone, who knew someone...you know how it is. We explained our idea, and asked how far we could go with the branding. If you look at our recent beer, 7th Church Of The Apocalyptic Lawnmower, we have totally based the product's name and label around the band. But on the other hand, we have Little Things That Kill, that some people still don't realise is a song title. Here, however, the band in question's representatives gave us full permission to use the name, or the 2 words we wanted from the English language put together, as long as the label was “not overtly metal”. Now a lot of our branding is pretty metal anyway, so this put us in a bit of a pondery. We currently have a basic label and branding for this beer while we test out the different hops, but will come up with something different when the final beer is decided on.

We hope you enjoy the beer as much as we always enjoy developing and brewing all of our beers. And we invite you to be as critical or as complimentary as you want. All feedback will be great, so let us know by email, comments on the blog, postcard, or the usual social media what you think. We will also be checking up on things like untappd and RateBeer, so be sure to check in the correct versions.

Hot and Cold Liquor Tanks up for grabs



We are giving away our old Hot and Cold Liquor tanks!

Totally free, you just have to come and collect them.

When we started, back in 2013, we got these liquor custom-made. They were designed hoping to work in a 10 Barrel set up, but didn't really have the capacity. We used them for over 2 years, changing the way we operated, so it is possible. I would recommend their use with a 7 barrel or smaller.

Not sure of the weight, but without the lids, 2 strong people could probably lift one.

They are both essentially the same size, with different fittings for purpose.

Fibre glass shell with around 10cm of insulation.

The base that sits on the floor is 120cm by 125cm. There are various connections coming out, so space around the tanks will be required.

They have a large main lid, so you can get inside safely; this is then bolted into place. There is another square manhole on each, which a person could happily get through.

With the main lids on, which over hang, the footprint is more like 130cm by 230cm.

Heightwise, with the lid on, and the hatch, they stand about 125cm tall. But they are pretty strong, and the top can be used for storage.

Both are 2000L in total volume, holding around 1400L of usable liquor. This is due to how they were designed with the various fittings etc.

They both have sight glasses, thermowells and float switches.

The HLT has an 18KW element, which is already installed.

See the diagrams and pictures below for details on fittings etc.

Cold Liquor Tank


Hot Liquor Tank

Please feel free to contact us at info@weirdbeardbrewco.com for more information.

Or come on down to us to check them out, although please let us know in advance if you plan to visit, as they are hidden away at the moment.

June Open Day Beer List

Let's get you psyched about Sunday’s Open Day by announcing the taplist, shall we?

As with last time, for this event, we’ll be pouring 6 taps of great beer: 5 of our own and 1 which is “The Friend’s Tap”. Just a reminder of what this relatively new feature is about: at each Open Day we're now offering a guest beer from a brewery that we have collaborated with or are in the process of collaborating with. We showcase their beers because we rate them and think you should to, hence providing you the opportunity to try the beer.

This time around we’ve got something from the guys from Anspach and Hobday who we've quite recently collaborated with to make a Dark Cream Ale (sorry, you'll have to wait to hear more about that in later blogs).

Cream Ale 5.2%

A cross between a pale ale and a lager, Anspach and Hobday's take on this style is uniquely aromatic and flavourful. Bursting with Sorachi Ace deliciousness, perfectly creamy, this beer remains light and quaffable.

Black Perle 3.8%

Roasted flavours and chocolate star in this beer which has the added oompf of Hasbean coffee. Lashings of lactose smoothes the bitterness of dark malts and plays well with the milky quality of Perle hops. It's a treat of a sessionable dark beer!

Little Things That Kill 3.9%

This brew is part of a series where the grain bill is the same but the hops differ in each batch. Here we've got UK Archer and Olicana teamed up with US Amarillo for fresh fruit hopiness.  Always low ABV, this session IPA is still full-bodied because of additions of lactose and oats.

Attack of the Ryeclops 5.5%

A new beer from us: a Rye Pale Ale in fact, that we're launching on Sunday. It's got the perfect combo of floral and spicy hoppiness meets rye chewiness and further spice. Peppery Columbus, fruity Equinox and herbal Chinook all feature in this beer but we've struck an awesome balance to ensure this beer is easy drinking.

Boring Brown Beer 6.5%

Originally number 1 in our "Single Hop Series", this is a our rendition of an Imperial Best Bitter, hopped solely with Chinook. It's lightly nutty, satisfyingly biscuit-sweet but balanced with resinous hop aroma and flavour. This beer is the first we ever brewed commercially on our premises so it's a bit special. It's also a beer we're thinking of laying to rest so be sure to have it this weekend or you may regret it!

Tsujigiri 7.3%

This Japanese inspired I.P.A is brewed with fresh yuzu juice and fermented with sake yeast, certainly a great summertime beer. Sorachi Ace hops add lemon-sherbet notes that compliment the citrus yuzu as well as imparting herbal qualities to the beer. Chinook hops add spice and rounds the drier flavours given off by the yeast.

Other special beers, which are not mentioned above, that will be available for drink-in and/or take away include:

  • Limited bombers of Saison 28 (an Imperial Farmhouse IPA)
  • Double Perle - Jim Beam Barrel Aged (Bourbon barrel-aged Coffee Milk Stout)
  • Something Something Barrel Aged (Bourbon barrel-aged Double India Stout) 
  • Weird Wired (Extra Pale Ale brewed in collaboration with 8-Wired

No doubt about it, we'll have a range of our core and other occasionals too. Plus, expect some seriously tasty snacks from Pig and Hay and Karkli. Food from Redneck Smokehouse will be on sale outside and we've stocked up on refreshing Square Root Sodas including their "prepared-to-get-hooked" seasonal Strawberry soft-drink.

Merchandise will be on sale from Unit 5 including:

  1. New addition of branded Pint glasses (£3) 
  2. Branded stemmed or Craft Master glassware (£3).
  3. Assorted T-shirts including new Baseball designs (£15)
  4. Hoodies (£25)

We're looking forward to Sunday and hope to see you then!

Saison 28 - Our 300th Brew

In some instances, our brewers at Weird Beard are creatures of habit. Yes, we certainly like change in certain things: we have several hop-changing beers (Little Things That Kill, Holy Hoppin' Hell, Spreadsheet Ninja...etc) and we like to veer away from convention in terms of brewing, beer-style, ingredients, whatever we fancy - but all the while we do have our habits. One being, when it comes to a brewery milestone such as a centenary brew, we like to go BIG. It's just how we do those things. 

So, let's take a walk down memory lane...For our 100th brew, which took us 17 months to reach, we made an amplified version of our award-winning Black Perle, a coffee milk stout. This was Double Perle, a double stout version with a similar recipe but additional lashings of lactose and more coffee. 

We approached our 200th brew a little quicker, 11 months after, and we made Defacer. This was a triple IPA version, still a redevelopment of a previous brew: Sorachi Face Plant (double IPA) beer. Sorachi Face Plant, itself, was an amped up version of Little Things That Kills (Summit, Apollo and Sorachi Ace edition), also known to some as "Sorachi Face Punch". Digressions aside, fast forward 9 months later, we hit brew 300 and we're sticking to the same trend in how we mark the special occasion. Since we're still going strong, the beer that we put out, it's gotta match that.

This time around, true to our Weird Beard selves, we remained unconventional in our ideas for the brew. We re-developed the recipe of Saison 14, a 5.6% French/Belgian Farmhouse Ale to make an imperial version, which the name quite obviously yet cleverly implies. Voilá Saison 28

Like I said, we mark milestones with a bigger beer. We increased the grainbill and tweaked the proportions of malts used so we could hit an ABV above 10%. To counteract the sweetnes of the higher malt-base, we ensured we enhanced the hops adequately. Keeping to the same hop-schedule of Saison 14, we simply made sure we added more of the same: Pacific Gem and Sorachi Ace. "Of course, there is Sorachi in this special beer", we hear you say. Indeed, we love the stuff!

With Saison 28, the malts and hops play well together to create flavours of candied fruit. Pacific Gem boasts NZ tropical fruit notes but in this beer, it's all about candied papaya and juicy blackberries intermingling. With Sorachi Ace, you've got flavours of lemon-curd developing into coconut. And somewhere in-between, you get candied orange coming through. 

We think these well-matched, fruit-bowl flavours lend themselves to the refreshing quality of a Saison, a beer that we like to sip all through Summer. And, although this beer is big on all accounts, it wouldn't be a Saison by any means, without the Belgian yeast quality. Belle Saison yeast imparts a bold, full-on Farmhouse flavour that rises up to the challenge of the magnitude of hops we've chucked into this brew.  The hops here aren't timid; you get them on the nose, in tasting the beer and the lingering bitterness. It's that bitterness that made us decide to call this beer an Imperial Farmhouse IPA. Even as hoppy, bitter and just the right amount of boozy this beer may be, it's undeniably a saison with spice and peppery flavours coming from the yeast in the finish. 

So there you have the lowdown behind Saison 28. Happy 300th brew to us and happy drinking to you; there's most definitely a "Cheers" in that. 

Not only is this beer a celebratory brew but it's the kind that's for sharing so we've packaged it into 660ml bombers. Saison 28 will be launching on keg at our event at The Hopsmiths on 26th May from 4pm and will be available from then on after.

April Open Day Beer List

It’s with great excitement that we announce this coming Sunday’s Open Day beers.

For the event, we’ll be rocking a 6 Tap bar, which includes a new feature: “The Friend’s Tap”. On top of all our latest brews, we will be offering a guest beer from a brewery that we have a collaboration in the pipe-line or under our belt.

To kick start this special feature tap, we’ve got something from our long-time friends from up in Manchester, BlackJack Beers. With these guys we’ve brewed beer together, drank beers together, pub crawled, festival-ed, you name it…and they are the guys that have been bringing our beers up to the Greater Manchester region for yonks. We got a lot of love for them and think you should too.

Dragon’s Tears 5.2%

A classic saison style infused with “Dragons Tears” Jasmine tea leaf that have been picked within the first 3 weeks of the season. Expect this to be floral and fragrant, with the refreshing quality both a saison and iced jasmine tea has to boast.

We always strive for an amazing taplist for those who venture to our brewery but this time, we’re also making up for the recent postponement of the open day. So with Dragon’s Tears to get you thirsty, here’s what Weird Beard brews will be pouring from draft:

Weird Wired 5.7%

A very recent release and all sold out within a week, this is our collaboration brew with 8 Wired Brewing Co and in partnership with the NZ Collective. A crisp, light Extra Pale Ale that is all about showcasing the UK-NZ hops we used for it. Blackcurrant meets tropical fruit in this super quaffable number.

(Disclaimer: Only 1 keg of this so come early to avoid disappointment but we do have some bottles of it also).

Spreadsheet Ninja 4.8%

Our Pilsner, refined and rebranded to a hop-changing lager that now weighs in below 5%. This batch is a reworked recipe of our Gregg’s favourite version and is Citra hopped. For those who know about hop-shortages and follow our blog, we’re lucky and so pleased to have this hoppy Pils on tap.

Five O’clock Shadow 7%

Our core American IPA but the tweaked recipe, which you can read all the about here, that recently won best at BottleDog’s “Blind IPA Tasting”. Because of hop availabilities, we’ve opted for a different choice USA hops: Centennial, Simcoe, Summit and Chinook as well as re-jigged he malt-bill. We believe in staying true to ourselves but here, change was a very good thing.

Single Hop Centennial 8.7%

With a personal favourite of Gregg’s we ought to have the other co-founder and headbrewer, Bryan’s, personal favourite on also. Here it is! A pine-y, orange-juice fruity double IPA that is quite frankly too delicious for its/our own good. We here love this beer so much, we’ve had to hold back on pillaging the fridges of any bottles so that you too can get your hands on them this weekend.

Ole Smoky Blend Barrel Aged Sadako 9.2%

Brewed with 10 different malts including oats with additions of honey, molasses and fresh coffee beans, this is our flagship Impy Stout that has been barrel aged and blended in Ole Smoky Bourbon barrels. It’s a deliciously rich, complex and intense dark beer that has hints of Campfire marshmallow. Limited bombers are available for treating yourselves and others.  

Other bottles, which are not mentioned above, that will be available from drink-in and/or take away include:

  • Limited bombers of Macallan Barrel Aged Weird Brodmance (a Maple Syrup Imperial Stout)
  • Sorachi Faceplant (A Sorachi Ace Hop-bomb of an IPA)
  • Something Something Barrel Aged (Bourbon barrel-aged Double India Stout) 

And a bit of a show-stopper, since it’s only ever been brewed and released one time before a few years ago:

  • Bearded Nurse (a Barley Wine) 

All the delicious snacks from Pig and Hay, food from Redneck Smokehouse, Square Root Sodas and Karkli will be on offer as expected from our past events.  

Plenty of merchandise including branded stemmed or Craft Master glassware (£3), assorted t-shirts (£15) and hoodies (£25) will be on sale. 

On that note, we’ll let you plan your beer wish-lists, plan your route and see you at the brewery from 12-7pm on Sunday!

Weird Wired - a collaboration between us & 8 Wired Brewing Co

I remember back in the day when Weird Beard was just in the planning stage. Lots of talk and dreams, but no real decisions or substance; we hadn’t even agreed on a name. I was still at my previous job, on a night shift, filling the time reading blogs from other breweries as usual. To this day I remember one particular blog that really stood out. I had done some googling after I had enjoyed a stout, rare to these shores a few times, called iStout. I really liked the beer, but did not really know much about the brewery, 8 Wired Brewing Co, as there wasn't much of their stuff around at the time.

Here's that blog. It was really inspirational reading about a guy (Søren) working in a larger New Zealand brewery, who were letting him brew his own stuff on any spare capacity. The beers he made impressed people so much he went on to open his own brewery. 8 Wired beers are now a lot easier to find, thanks in part over the last year or so to Todd and the NZ beer collective.

Everyone at Weird Beard see Todd, and few other people working for the NZ cause, as friends. We've worked many festivals together, meeting a number of Kiwi brewers along the way. It really was only a matter of time before we managed to get together with one of these guys and brewed something special. So when we bumped in Todd exciting a great cask bar in central London where he mentioned that Søren from 8 Wired would be in town in a few weeks and was keen to brew with us while he had the chance, I have to admit to being just a little excited. The very next Monday, emails started flying around and it was official, Weird Beard and 8 Wired were going to be brewing a beer together at the end of February.

We are fans of hops - you may have figured this out by now - but it's always worth mentioning. And what is NZ known for? Could it be all those lovely New World hops? It was obvious, this beer had to be all about the hops. A super basic malt bill was required, with a single sack of Carapils, and then Lager malt, loads of Lager malt. In fact, this beer has a higher percentage of lager malt than our lager. Then, our standard yeast, a nice clean US style yeast that doesn’t add a lot of character, leaving a nice light, easy drinking but essentially blank canvas to paint our hoppy masterpiece. Anyway, back to the hops...we had a brewer from NZ brewing a beer with a UK brewery, so we had to run with this love in, and get some UK hops working in harmony with some NZ hops.

Left to Right: 8 Wired's Søren, Weird Beard's Gregg, Ryan and Bryan rubbing hops

Left to Right: 8 Wired's Søren, Weird Beard's Gregg, Ryan and Bryan rubbing hops

Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough time to have Søren smuggling hops into the country and we were restricted by our hops contracts; anyone who follows our blogs will know how much fun they are. Out of what we had, Soren went with Kohatu, one we have used a few times in the past and we went with a UK hop that just oozes lovely, fruity blackcurrant, but one usually found in darker beers, Bramling Cross. Just to bridge the gap a little, we went for another NZ hop that we have been using since Gregg's first home brews, and a big part of our flagship pale ale, Mariana Trench. Pacific Gem, a hop that brings more blackcurrant to the party, in a very NZ way.

I had a great day working with Soren and think the resulting beer is something to be proud of.

Get stuck in while it is available. 

Weird Wired will be sold in keg, cask and bottle formats. It's launching on cask tonight (5th April) at our Meet the Brewer event at the Union Tavern.

February Open Day

The weekend is imminent and that means so is our open day. Head over to our brewery on: 

Sunday 7th February
Photo by Dom Hemy

Photo by Dom Hemy

As per usual we will have:

At least 5 Draft Beers
A range of our core, occassional and special bottles
Drink-in or Take-away
Growler fills, if you have a growler handy
Artisanal Scotch Eggs & Sausage Rolls to snack on from Pig & Hay
Tasty, home-made fruit sodas from Square Root
T-shirts & Branded Glassware Merch
Meet the Brewers
Informal Brewery Tours 

We've recently released some really amazing collaborations beers, which you can find more info on here. We will have these on sale as well as brewery exclusive or limited release bombers. How do you like the sound of Red Wine or Tequila Barrel Aged Sadako eh?

But we've also decided to make some changes to how we run things on our open day, making it even better and in order to beat some of the busier periods! Firstly our warehouse, which you may or may not know about, at unit 9 will be the point of call for all take-out beer. If you want any beer for home, ensure you head there! Off-sales won't have you waiting at the brewery bar this time around. Secondly, we've got all-American BBQ and Smokehouse food trader, Redneck Smokehouse, to come on down and serve up delicious hot meals that you can enjoy hand-in-hand with our beers. Vegetarians and vegans, rest assured, we've taken care that there will be options for you too.

And if all that news is not sweet music to your ears, here's our fantastic draught line-up:

A collaboration with Bexar County Brewery that has flown out from the brewery. A treat of a low ABV beer with the right amount of lemon tartness and fruitiness, met with subtle sweet biscuit malt notes and creamy lactose.

This is a inspiring yet classic Pilsner style which strikes a balance between Czech hops and German Pislner malt and yeast. An easy-drinking yet satisfying kind of lager for an easy and satisfying kinda Sunday. 

A luxurious stout with plenty of cacao and freshly roasted coffee flavours. Robust in taste, as is expected from a stout but smooth and subtly creamy because of the addition oats to the grain-bill.

An interesting fruit IPA, originally made with the team from BrewDog Shepherds Bush but re-brewed because of its popularity. Made with chokeberries that give juicy but tart flavours, which we've complimented with tropical fruit notes of lovely Mosaic hops. 

A Heaven Hill barrel aged version of our latest Holy Hoppin' Hell DIPA. This beer is big, bold and beautiful when it comes to aroma, flavour and bitterness. The vanilla and marshmallow notes from the barrel complements the slightly chewier malt-bill of this style of beer. We've got it reigning our taps as the heavyweight for Sunday's line-up.

Check out the event page and see you then!

A Celebration of Collaborations 3

Now here's the sort of trivia that could feature in a 'craft beer pub quiz': Dave of Kew Brewery used to brew for us here at Weird Beard before setting up his own venture. It's been a long time since Dave left us. Looking back now, it's been a full 18 months that we have gone without Dave. In truth we have had his cheery self drop by for a friendly visit but we hadn't brewed together. As our world carried on without Davy, his world has gone from strength to strength with the opening and success of KewWe always talked about doing a collab when Kew was up and running. Again, the holiday period offered some free-time and a free fermenter for doing just that. We set a date for the brewday, got a thread going and put our heads together to come up with a recipe. It didn't take long to come up with a no brainer, delicious idea. Kew have won awards for their Chocolate Porter, and us for our Milk Coffee Stout (Black Perle). What we went with was a Mint Chocolate Stout.

We collaborated on the recipe, selecting the grains based somewhere between our two dark beer malt-bills. We wanted both chocolate and robust flavours but nothing too overpowering either so we added lashings of lactose. This, to give a sweet and silky body to our beer. Hop-wise we went with Perle, which we are so fond of in Black and Double Perle. The reason it is a favourite of ours in dark beer styles is because of its slightly milky and herbal flavour. We wanted to emphasise that but also added some Willamette for its spicy character. 

Now for actual mint choc-chip constituents! We added a load of fresh mint, which we spent a considerable amount of time de-sprigging and chin wagging whilst doing so, and cacao nibs at every possible stage. We also made a mint tea-like wort infusion, which we added into the underback, to really amp up the sweeter mint flavours and help in layering them. During the conditioning phase of the beer, we did more of the same but also adding a cold brew of cacao. In doing so we aimed to get a deep mint-chocolate flavour that lingers.

If the recipe and collaboration wasn't fun in enough, we really got into the naming this beer. When Dave used to brew with us, we had some fantastic soundtracks to our working day. As most of you may know, we at Weird Beard have a history of naming beers with nods to some of our favourite bands/songs also. When it came to this beer, music was our first port of call for inspiration. Bryan discovered Carter USM's "A World Without Dave" on his iTunes and it made 100% sense that this was what we rolled with.

We whole-heartedly suggest you play the tune, grab the beer, drink & enjoy. A World Without Dave is so much easier to bear with this brew in your hand.

Debuting tonight at the harp in London if you fancy.

A Celebration of Collaborations 2

Next collaboration we’re pleased to announce is “A Lemon Tree My Dear Watson”. This, we brewed with Steve of Bexar County Brewing (pronounced “Bear County” with the “x” being silent).

Both Steve and our Bryan have been drinking at festivals for years and we have always found ourselves drinking Bexar County beers at events - even if it was a Squid Ink Gose. Nevertheless, a collab’s been on the cards as we’ve admired the whackiness of Steve’s beers and share the ethos of brewing whatever we want. It was only a matter of time and over the holiday period, we had just that.

Simply enough we got Steve down to West London to brew one of his trade mark ‘out there’ beers with us. In the lead-up to this event, loads of ideas were batted around. The most unusual included guano as an ingredient, but that was just bat sh*t crazy, quite literally. Eventually we settled on the idea of Lemon Meringue Pie; a quintessential American dessert and well, who doesn’t like a bit of Lemon Meringue Pie? The idea was we de-constructed the dessert and made a beer that featured a little bit of all the tasty components that make up the pie.

So, the grain bill has delicious biscuit malt and when we say delicious, we really mean it. We couldn't help but munch on this at the start of the brewday! We also added a little amber malt for some sweeter, Digestives base flavours. When it came to the lemons, we went all out to maximise their flavour and we sure did use a lot of lemons. In the boil alone, we added the zest of 30 fresh lemons, which were then quartered and threw in also. We wanted a balanced beer, so afterwards we loaded the kettle with lactose for more sweetness and to create a creamy body to subdue the tartness of all the lemons.

For the hops, there had to be Sorachi Ace. Firstly, we love that hop and really don’t need much of an excuse to brew with it and secondly, it gives huge lemon refresher flavour. This works with what we were going for, but we also added Citra, for more natural citrus-fruit notes. Then, a hefty amount of dried lemon peel was added as the beer made its way to the fermenter, which adds layers and complexity to the flavour profile of the beer. When fermentation was finished, we dry hopped with more Sorachi Ace, Citra and a little more dried lemon peel. Altogether, our efforts created an easy drinking, 3.7%, Lemon Meringue Pie in a glass. 

This treat of a beer is available in all formats: cask, keg and bottles.