I neglected Essex Real Ale somewhat in 2016. I had great plans to spend more time on the site, to go to more beer festivals, to visit more pubs and improve the Essex Real Ale Map. I was going to put more effort into editorial around beery news in Essex, drink more beer and so forth.
I didn’t do any of that in 2016. But I did have an excuse – I spent a lot of time planning for, and then setting up the newest brewery in Essex – Watsons Brewery. Who’d a thunk it??
My final homebrew was at the Anglian Craft Brewer’s beer festival at the Victoria Inn in Colchester in November, a fest with barrels from non-commercial brewers. A couple of dozen excellent beers were on offer, making it clear that any stereotype of ‘homebrew’ as being the production of dodgy beers fermented in the airing cupboard was one that is well and truly out-dated. My Black IPA came third in the voting, a sound basis as the HMRC registration, and the Environmental Health inspection hurdles had been overcome, and commercial brewing was to be my future.
I’m the smallest brewery in Essex, and probably East Anglia, and possible even across the whole of the UK. The plan is to brew a wide range of beers, across the whole real ale/craft beer spectrum. I’ve had a number of brews on the shelves of a couple of bottle shops in Essex (a lot through Two Brews in Colchester), and have just had a cask at the Colchester Winter Beer Festival (end of January 2017), with four casks at the Chappel Winter Beer Festival (first weekend in March 2017).
Watch this space.