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#ISBF5 - Collabs 2018

Last week was a busy week.  Along with all the day-to-day exciting things involved in running a brewery, we had two special collaborations booked in!  November sees the Independent Salford Beer Festival return for a sixth year - a cracking little festival run by our good friend Jim Cullen, better known as @BeersManchester.  We've been lucky enough to be invited each year since we started brewing in 2015 and we've been asked back again this year!
This year Jim asked us to brew two beers - one for cask, which Jim would come and help us brew, and a second for keg which had to be a collaboration - but we got to choose who we collaborated with.  The beers were both brewed this week and here's what we brewed...
Dandelion & Burdock Pale
Tuesday saw us brew our cask beer with Jim.  For a while we've wanted to brew a beer with Dandelion & Burdock and this seemed like the ideal opportunity.  Our instincts told us that most people would expect a D&B beer to be dark (like the soft drink) - but we felt the strong malt flavours of a stout or a porter would overshadow the delicate herbal flavours of the other ingredients - so we decided to make this a pale ale.
Jim arrived early and we got mashed in - we used some Extra Pale Maris Otter, plenty of Wheat Malt and for some added interest a bit of Special B malt to give some depth of colour and flavour.
In the boil we used some Whitbread Goldings and Willamette hops to compliment the floral, herbal flavours from the dandelion and burdock.  We then added the main ingredients Dandelion, Burdock and a touch of Ginger - all in root form.  At this point the smell was gorgeous!
Once the boil had ended we transferred to the fermenter and pitched some Belgian yeast to contribute some spicy fruitiness to the finished beer.
The beer should finish around 4.8% and will be available on the cask bar at ISBF in November.
Plum & Liquorice Stout
When given the chance to brew a collaboration beer with anyone we chose, it was a difficult choice.  As it happened, the answer landed in our laps without us having to do much thinking!
Earlier this year we heard the sad news that Tickety Brew in Stalybridge were to cease brewing.  We remembered when Duncan & Keri Barton started Tickety Brew - some time before we did - and we'd enjoyed many of their quirky beers over the years.  Whilst talking to Duncan while they were wrapping things up, he mentioned that he'd like to continue working in the industry, and coincidentally we were looking for some extra help around the brewery - so in July, Duncan became one of the Thirst Class Ale team.  With this in mind, a Tickety Brew / Thirst Class Ale collaboration seemed the obvious choice for our second ISBF beer!
A team planning night-out ensued and Duncan came up with the idea of a Plum & Liquorice Stout - an idea for a Tickety Few beer that had never made it to the mash tun!
So on Thursday, Duncan dusted off his awesome orange Tickety Brew overalls and we mashed in using a combination of Maris Otter, Melanoidin Malt, Special B, Chocolate Malt and Roasted Barley which made for some of the finest first runnings our mash tun has ever produced!
While the mash was on, we proceeded to chop and de-stone 20 kilograms of fresh plums.
These were added to the boil along with some liquorice root.
After a rather long transfer we tucked the beer up safely in the fermenter!  We're expecting a six point something percent beer - dark as you like - with lots of fruity plummy liquorice loveliness!
A big thanks to Jim for inviting us back to ISBF this year, and for coming to brew with us.  Also for Duncan to agreeing to let us use a Tickety Brew idea!
See you all in November!

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