Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog: cask beer
Showing posts with label cask beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cask beer. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Torrside Brewery: 2nd Birthday Open Day

Since its opening two years ago, Torrside Brewing have produced some of the best beers from a new brewery we've ever had. Operating in a unit by a private marina in New Mills, they brew an excellent mix of cask, keg and bottle, nailing classic best bitters and pale ales alongside a dizzying array of high ABV small batch brews - the Monsters series.

We first met the team - Peter, Nick and Chris - at a homebrew competition that Jim was asked to judge at Brewdog Manchester, about two and half years ago during his time working at Blue Monkey. The competition was entered by numerous brewers who have since gained a foothold in the industry. Amongst over 100 entries of astonishingly high quality, all three now-Torrside brewers won an award. Whilst producing excellent homebrew in itself doesn't necessarily mean you can run a brewery, it does imply you know what you are doing... and it seems that once these three teamed up and pooled their skills and experience, there was no stopping them (not to mention that they're all some of the loveliest people you'll ever meet in the beer world).


Anyway, onto the brewery. We first visited almost exactly two years ago - the tanks were in place, and the first beer was days away from being brewed. The unit seemed cavernous at the time but they've had no problem creating a welcoming space, with plenty of seating surrounding the brewplant and an inviting bar area. 

We launched into a sunny afternoon's drinking with Route 366 - a 4% Columbus, Cascade and Ekuanot hopped pale, which instantly flung itself into contender for cask beer of the year. Reminiscent of what makes the ever popular Sonoma by Track Brewery (their brewer Matt being yet another success story of Brewdog Manchester's homebrew competition - Jim still has dreams about that brett stout!) so special. Pale in colour with a gentle malt sweetness, tempered by soft bitterness and ending with a tangerine-grapefruit character from the Ekuanot hops that absolutely dances on the tongue. Stunning, crisp, and delightfully sessionable. The Yellow Peak pale, 4.2%, was similarly quaffable with the combination of Amarillo, Summit and Mosaic providing a fresh and zesty character with a delicate herbal backbone.

At the other end of the spectrum were two collaboration beers with Elusive Brewing. The first, Creature of Havoc, is a 4.6% cherrywood smoked red, fermented at Elusive. The second forms part of the Monsters series - Coalition of Chaos, weighing in at 9% and taken from the first runnings of the bigger batch brew. Strangely, the stronger beast was the more drinkable of the two (although both were delicious), with a rich malt backbone easily carrying the smokiness of the brew.

We ended the afternoon on a peat smoked barley wine, Hopscotch, which we quaffed on whilst the frankly adorable Kami (Chris's Shiba Inu, and undisputed queen of the brewery) had a little sit on our feet and gazed wistfully upon our bowls of chilli.


Currently the brewery mainly operates at weekends, as the chaps still all have full time jobs not related to brewing. However, the guys make this work to their advantage - this shows through in the beer selection, which oozes a total attitude of care and consideration, and a massive emphasis on quality of flavour. Each and every beer is so carefully thought through, and it's clear that the team really want to create something stunning and aren't willing to compromise by making average brews.

What Torrside have created in New Mills with their brewery open days is a space which is open, inclusive and welcoming to everyone. The brewery was full all afternoon, with the crowd formed of walkers off the hills, families including children, beer industry folk, dog owners, and men and women clearly ready to hop on the train for a night out in Manchester. It reminded us of our time last year in Colorado, where there was no culture of stereotyping the beer drinker and where an industrial warehouse becomes a vibrant atmosphere.


In case it isn't clear from the above, we had an EXCELLENT afternoon. Congratulations Torrside on your first two years of brewing, and here's to many, many more.

Cheers!