A look around Duration Brewing

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A look around Duration Brewing

Back on a Saturday in late July I took a lovely drive up to a village called West Acre near Kings Lynn in Norfolk (a bit over an hour from me). My destination – the West Acre village fete. I haven't been to a fete for some twenty years, so watching a duck race with a Brixton APA in my hand was something of a new experience for me. 

The reason for my visit really was for a look around what I really hope will become the home of Duration Brewing (which was on the same site as the fete, in case you're wondering).

Compared to other parts of the country, Norfolk and Suffolk currently have relatively fewer breweries (or should I say a 'lesser density' of breweries), but believe me when I say the breweries we do have, are really, really, interesting. 

This project is so enormous, so ambitious and so visionary, that I would be doing it a tremendous injustice if I tried to explain the detail. In fact, all the detail you could possibly need at this stage is provided in this excellent blog post on the Duration website. They've also got a nice video.

Let's take a look at the site.

Above: The brewery is set on a vast country estate (somewhere to the tune of 14,000 acres!).

The immediate surrounds are simply stunning.

This vast barn will be divided into both the main brewhouse (far left) and the tap room (far right).

Currently supported by steel joists and scaffold, the end wall will be left to fall (as it's irreparable). Here will become a tap room with a glass facade.

This will be the main brewhouse, working from the left to the right.

On the left here will be a canning line wth integrated packing area and immediate access to the yard.

Here will likely be an outside seating area.

The site benefits from an extraordinarily large open spaces. This is one of them!

Join Duration Beer on Twitter tonight (Tues 15th Aug, 9-10pm) as part of the Norwich Craft Beer Week Craft Beer Hour takeover.

Hope to see you in Norfolk soon!


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New Brewery Month


New Brewery Month

All four weeks in July on Craft Beer Hour will be dedicated to new breweries – New Brewery Month we'll call it.  This will be the first time we've dedicated a whole month to new breweries and in fact, to just one, single theme.

Of course, there are soooooooo many new and small breweries we would love to include, so hopefully it'll be a popular theme and we can do it again. If you would like to be featured next time, just let me know.

The reason for this post is to give you advanced notice of who our hosts are going to be to give you a chance to try and find the beers. Also, to help make them easier to source, I am trying to encourage bottle shops and tap rooms to get involved throughout the month by ordering beer from these breweries (even just a small amount).

Bottle Shops / Taps / Bars / Pubs — we need your help!

Help our four featured breweries get their beers further afield so that more people can drink along on Craft Beer Hour.

If you would like to stock beers from one (or some) of the breweries taking part in July, then please contact them directly as soon as you can (see below). Let me know what you take (or indeed what you already stock) and I will ensure that you feature on this website, in my tweets and on my Craft Beer Hour emails.

Let's make New Brewery Month a regular thing!

July Schedule

Tuesday 4th
Unity Brewing Co – @unitybrewingco 
Based in Southampton

Tuesday 11th
Frameworks Brewery – @frameworkbrews 
Based in Leicester

Tuesday 18th
Bianca Road Brew Co – @biancaroad
Based in Peckham

Tuesday 25th
McColl's Brewery – @McCollsBrewery
Based in County Durham

The beers to look out for

#beerfridge #biancaroadbrewco #craftbeer #brewery #peckham #sessionipa #redrye #paleale #lager

A post shared by Bianca Road Brew co (@biancaroadbrewco) on

Coming soon..... #beercomingsoon #northeast #countydurham #beer

A post shared by McColl's Brewery (@mccollsbrewery) on

If you don't manage to get hold of these beers – still join in. The theme for each week will be "New Breweries" – so you know what to do.



Meat and Cheeses


Meat and Cheeses

Meats and cheeses on Craft Beer Hour

Next Tuesday will be the third week of the first dedicated Beer & Food month on Craft Beer Hour. In a bid to help us (or me anyway!) learn a little more about pairing meats, cheeses and beers this Christmas, I'm over the moon to tell you that wonderful Friends of Ham will be our hosts. 

In preparation for this mouthwatering occasion, Assistant Manager, Billy, has very kindly put together these outrageously good suggestions for us...

Meat: Cecina De Leon   
Cheese: Stichelton   
Beer: Kees Caramel Fudge Stout, 11.5%

Big, rich, sweet and moreish. This banger from Dutch masters Kees is every bit on a par with any big stout you can find. Mouthfeel of velvet and the body to back it up! Full of lactose sweetness and rich caramel and brown sugar notes. Finishes of with light roasty flavours and that caramel singing all the way through.

Cecina is a deeply smoky and rich beef, with a texture akin to leather (in the best kind of way!). Super heavy smokiness and a slight herbal note from the seasoning. The smokiness really brings out the roasty malt that can otherwise be lost in a sea of lactose sweetness and sticky caramel. The stichelton cheese adds a creaminess and a tang from the blue veins that backs up the toffee flavours in the beer.

Meat: Finnochiona    
Cheese: Vacherin Mont D'or  
Beer: Mad Hatter Harvest Saison, 7.4%

Mad Hatters Harvest saison packs a massive funky, peppery flavour with a very subtle sour finish. Quite boozy at the back end with assertive hop bitterness to finish off. Cracking with funky cheese! Vacherin Mont D'or is a bold and funky wash rind soft cheese from the mountainous Franche-Comte region of France. It sings funk, earthiness, spruce and sweetness. Everything you want to enhance in a great saison.

Finnochiona is a traditional Italian salami, heavily seasoned with wild fennel seeds. The herbal and aniseed notes from the salami compliment the earthiness of the saison, all rounding up into a sweet meaty flavour from the pork that balances the hop bitterness perfectly.

Meat: Iberico Bellota   
Cheese: Kirkhams Lancashire     
Beer: Cloudwater IPA Mosaic EXP431 6.5%

Cloudwater are (in my eyes) the king of the IPA in the UK. Every one seems to take the previous one to the next level, this is no exception. Mosaic hops bring the tropical fruit party, the EXp431 brings some delightful floral and spicy notes. Just when I'm expecting this massive bitter hit, all of these soft fruit flavours just dance around! Magic! I barely want to play with this beer, but alas here we go!

Kirkhams Lancashire is a beautifully buttery and crumbly Lancashire cheese, the last of its kind! it Has a richness and complexity that only goes to enhance the caramel malt body of this beer, but doesn't overpower the tropical hop notes. The layers of flavour from this cheese intertwine perfectly with the fruit and floral notes.

Iberico Bellota is the king of ham. Fed purely on acorns and cured for 3 years. Christ! It has a sweet and nutty flavour that balances fantastically with saltiness and buttery undertones. Simplicity and depth of flavour compliment the layers of tropical hops and sweetness from the malt brilliantly.

Meat: Carne Salata     
Beer: Burning Sky, Gaston Belgian Pale 6%

Gaston, a belgian pale designed to pay homage to the traditions of Belgium. First thing that hits me is Sherbert and sweet candied sugar. Then comes the hops. Light bitterness that sits next to a complexity brought from the yeast cultures. This needs delicacy and and complexity to stand up to it.

Carne Salata is a cured beef, lightly smoked and rubbed with cloves, garlic, salt and pepper. Its texture is tender and delicate, much like the beer we are pairing with. The cloves and herbal notes soften the sherbet and candy flavours in the beer and allow the complex yeast character and spice to come through. the smokiness of the beef is not overpowering, but enhances the malts and brings out a more earthy character in the beer. 

Wow! Thanks so much to Billy at Friends of Ham.

Go forth everyone and source some beers, meats and cheeses for Craft Beer Hour on Tuesday 20th December.  

I can't wait!




Beer Snacks


Beer Snacks

Beer Snacks on Craft Beer Hour

Next week's Craft Beer Hour (Dec 13th) promises to be extra special. Firstly, it's always fun when the Hatters are in town. Secondly, the amazing Karkli, Soffles, Serious Pig and Smo Fo have all sent out samples – 80 parcels in total!

Here are some pairing suggestions from Sue at Mad Hatter if you fancy getting hold of some of our hosts' beers and pairing them with your snacks:

Classic Karkli – Farmhouse Saison or Tzatziki Sour

Soffles Pitta Chips
Spring Onion & Italian Cheese – Penny Lane (Pale Ale)
Rosemary & Thyme – Easy Imbiber (Vermont Pale) or Farmhouse Saison
Chilli & Garlic – Tzatziki Sour

Serious Pig
Classic – Lick Face (American Pale Ale)
Chilli & Paprika – Harvest Saison 

Smo Fo
Smoked Buffalo Beans – Nightmare on Bold Street (Milk Stout)
Chilli Dusted Smoked Roast Corn – Salted Caramel Quad (Quadrupel)
Hickory Smoked Scratchings – Easy Imbiber (Vermont Pale) or Penny Lane (Pale Ale)

These are only pairing suggestions. As always, all beers are welcome, as are all snacks. Show us your own pairings on Tuesday! 

See you on #CraftBeerHour.