Brewery tours and beer festivals are always a welcome weekend distraction for me. Receiving an email from the Liverpool Organic Brewery in the early Autumn/late Summer was even more of a pleasure, since I had heard that they had planned to do a brewery tour much earlier than 3rd November 2012.
However, the business of running a brewery is definitely a painstaking one and concentrating on what they do best (making beer) rather than invite people to the premises for a presentation and few hours of hospitality was on the back burner for the most of this year.
Cain’s Brewery is currently the only Liverpool based brewery that conduct regular tours, which is made much easier by their vast premises (compared to the other breweries located in Liverpool). Their tour was not quite as pleasing as the one I attended most recently at the Organic Brewery’s Brasenose Street headquarters; however, it is still rather interesting.
The brewery tour for the Organic Brewery comes in at the moment at a superficially steep £20 per head, but once you’ve completed the tour of duty in the midst of their fermentation vessels, you will probably feel as I did that the value of the tour was well worth the cost – not just based on the refreshments provided, but the intimacy of the event. Managing Director, Mark Hensby, gave a very personable account of the set up of the brewery through to the brewing they carry out and into visions for the future of the business. The other members of the brewery staff all excelled when asked various questions during the remainder of the tour in which guests are given a few nibbles and as much beer as they can hold over the course of three hours (along with complimentary glass); they were both friendly and knowledgeable (no mean feat when faced with lots of drunk punters!!). The beers on offer at the event were based on the availability of what had been brewed, luckily that included two of my personal favourites in Honey Blond and Iron Men (along with St. Anthony’s Ale – Cambrinus and the Liverpool Organic Best Bitter).
The tour is by no means planned to be an isolated event. During the talk, Mark Hensby intimated that two more could be planned for later in the year both taking place in December, with the possibility of a Beer Festival taking place in the same month in the future. Good tidings! The beers on offer will no doubt rotate based on the hops that the brewery have at their disposal, with summer now over (as if we had one…) the lighter New Zealand and Cascade hops will have been used up in Iron Men and Cascade etc, so expect darker brews during the Winter and early Spring.
In terms of the breadth of beers that the brewery produces all year round, there is the possibility in a reduction of the number due to ongoing logistical pressure within the business; which is sad thing, but if it means assuring the quality of the beer produced at any given time then it is a positive longer term for drinkers.
In short, the tour is in early stages, but still very enjoyable and great value for money. Stay tuned, join the Facebook group or follow the brewery on Twitter to get information on when the brewery tours will be scheduled. I will no doubt spread the information too on my Twitter and ElectroKemist Facebook feed.
(Further details on Liverpool Organic Brewery can be found at: http://www.liverpoolorganicbrewery.com/ and they can be contacted on 0151 933 9660)