Always half full!
Not very local ingredients, but there is a bright side . . .
We are based in the northwest of England where sheep and cattle rule, so no truly local source of malt, much less hops. But from an environmental point of view, the fact that we have to buy our ingredients from a distance in order to sell our beer locally is no different to buying locally and selling nationally - the end result of having breweries based only in arable areas on environmental grounds. The upshot is that I can buy ingredients on the basis of quality, without feeling environmentally guilty about not using a local supplier.
We use primarily English pale ale and lager malts, and trust the maltster, Bairds Maltings based in East Anglia, to get the variety and specifications right. That is their part in making a good beer not ours, and to be honest I couldn’t recognise “Only the finest malt” if it jumped up and hit me in the face! Occasional continental malts, together with English crystal and caramel malts, chocolate, roast barley and wheat malt, complete the pallet.
Hops are mainly from Charles Faram in Newland, near Malvern in Worcestershire., But increasingly from other suppliers as some varieties become more difficult to get hold of.
Water from the Lake District (delivered by United Utilities to our tap!). Now that might not sound very romantic, but it does mean that we have very soft water with a very low mineral content. In brewing terms, this gives us a mineral profile incredibly similar to Pilsen. From this starting point, we can adjust the mineral profile of our “liquor” to suit pretty much any ale or lager style. A big advantage over those breweries situated in areas of hard or alkaline water, who’s beer styles are incredibly restricted without substantial financial investment to put the situation right.
More specifically . . .
Our beers contain:
Water; malted barley; usually wheat; hops; yeast; minerals according to the beer style.
We DO NOT add any flavourings, colouring or preservative (although finings always contain sodium metabisulphite which is carried through into the cask beers). If ever we make a banana beer it will have been made with bananas!
Neither do we add any processing agents such as head retention or filtering additives. We do use a fining product in the copper based on seaweed. Without this it is not possible to have clear beers. Our Wildside branded beers have an enzyme added to destroy the gluten - the only way to make “real” beer that is gluten free.
Allergens & Vegetarian info - Our beers contain:
Gluten (except Wildside brand - see above).
Sulphur dioxide - Our cask beers contain a small amount of sodium metabisulphite, a preservative added to the finings that we use to clear them. We do not add any other preservative. Bottled and keg beers are free of this preservative.
Isinglass is a fish derivative so potentially an allergen, and is one of the finings added to our cask beers. It’s been used for centuries to clear beer, and hasn’t yet been bettered. There is little if any left in the beer after fining, but if you are vegetarian or allergic to fish then be aware.
You CAN have too much of a good thing . . .
Our beer and your health
Those of us who drink real ale, whether eighteen or eighty, are not usually the ones who give beer and alcohol in general a bad name. We drink it because the brewers who make it, and the people who sell it, generally have a passion about the quality of the product. It’s like Artisan bread vs plant bread; freshly landed cod vs boil in the bag; 4 week matured beef from a good butcher vs supermarket beef!
Our beer is made to taste. We put into it a lot of effort and expensive hops. It would be a shame to swallow it without noticing!
If you drink a few, we make money and you have a good time (good). If you drink too many, the whole drinking culture and industry gets a bad name and you get bad health (bad).
If you are really thirsty, down a pint of water. Save your money, calories and alcohol units. Then TASTE a pint (or two!) of our beer.
If you are pregnant, breast feeding or driving and feel you have to drink - drink another brand. We don’t want the guilt!
. . . Everything in moderation
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