We are the third (that we know of) owners of our brewhouse; a traditional, wood clad three-vessel, 9.5hl system. It began life in the UK as a lager brewery, before finding it’s way to a Dublin warehouse, where all it did was gather dust for a year or two due to planning regulations. After some spirited negotiations with its Dublin owners, one dark and wet January evening in 2014 it was loaded onto a 40-foot trailer, leaving its frantic urban home for the rural tranquillity of Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon.
Technique not Technology
Our brewing process is almost entirely manual. We say (only half jokingly) that if a brewer from 100 years ago paid us a visit, he mightn’t be too familiar with electric pumps, but otherwise he’d get on just fine.
Production began with two open fermentation vessels, with two uni-tank style fermenters joining the team in the intervening years. Once primary fermentation is complete, the beer is chilled in the fermenter before being transferred to a cold conditioning tank. The beer rests in the conditioning tank from 10 days to several weeks, depending on the style, and the brewer’s judgement.
Packaging is the source of most of our grey hairs and wrinkles; curiously it’s also the only high tech bit of the operation. Once cold conditioning is completed to the satisfaction of the brew crew, the beer is prepared for packaging into either glass bottles, or kegs. All bottles, and some kegs are naturally carbonated through a process of secondary fermentation in the vessel. This is essentially the same method by which Champagne gets it’s fizz.
Our bottling line is a semi automated rotary filler, with a max speed of approx. 2,000bph. We can’t keep up with it at that speed but a two-man crew can “comfortably” package 2,000l in a little over 3 hours.
Once packaged, the beer gets another ambient conditioning rest, this time for a minimum of 2 weeks, before its ready to head out to meet the world.