Any brewday that starts with a bag full of pies is alright by me. Last Friday morning saw the mighty Joe Dick and his partner in crime, “Wheres Wally”-a-like brewing savant Jonny Hamilton from The Hanging Bat turning up at our door at 7 with a load of Scotch pies in one ginormous hand and a load of speciality malts in the other. Joe’s got very big hands.
We’d been throwing ideas for another collab with the Bat round since our Darkwheat brew last autumn. What with hops being so 2014, we thought we’d do something that was all about the malt; what could be better than a strong Scotch ale eh? Nothing, that’s what. A few “What about some Special B?”, “Aye, and maybe some Biscuit?” DMs on Twitter later (and a “What about some shortbread?” from irrepressible New Wave head honcho Chris) and the malt bill was sorted.
Brewers and beer bloggers will give you all sorts of nonsense about collabs being a great way of sharing ideas and trying out new things and that, but the reality is they’re just a brilliant way of getting other people to do all the hard labour for you whilst you convince them they’re having a nice time. With Joe and Hammy digging out the mash tun – Joe shovelling with his un-naturally huge mega-paws, Hammy delicately scraping away at it with a spade whilst penning a sensitive indie lovesong – I was horsing pies, bacon rolls and shortbread and barking out orders. I’ve put on half a stone and lost two friends for this beer.
Despite a slight hitch when we started mashing in without turning the hot liquor pump on – my fault that one – the brew went as smoothly as you could hope for and the beer is currently just finishing off its ferment in FV3. Early tasting suggests it’s going to taste kind of like rum and raisin ice cream with a bit of liquorice finish. We’ll be sticking it in kegs (and maybe the odd cask) in a week or so – look out for it at the end of the month. The Hanging Bat seems a fairly likely place for the launch I would say…