It was a chance to do something different away from the Vineyard and annual making of wine, when Duncan had bought his Brother & Father a Christmas present to spend a Day as a Brewer, with Amber Valley Wines good friends and food festival event cohorts Derventio Brewery.  So he decided to join them on the Saturday at the Brew Shed in Darley Abbey.

Derventio brew several excellent beers, today we were going to be making their chocolaty stout Barbarian.

It was work time from the moment we arrived as we started the mashing of the malt into hot (not boiling) water, washing it into the brewing barrel making sure all the malt got a good soaking, Once complete this needed to then be left to steep for an hour – perfect time to tuck in to the provided breakfast of Bacon Cobs, and talk through the processes, business etc of craft brewing and Derventio, how it started and where they’d come from.

Derventio is owned & run by former railway engineers Pete Nash & John Baldock.  John was away on holiday on our particular day but we were being able instructed by Pete throughout the day.

Post steeping, Bacon Cobs & a cuppa it was time to move the “wort” over to the kettle, leaving the malt behind, for boiling. During the boiling process we started adding the hobs – once this has boiled away for a while we added the yeast to create that magical mother nature process of turning this liquid into Alcohol!  During this boiling and adding of ingredients we had a a lunch of cheese cobs and further talking with Pete about the brewing trade in general, the different malts, barley and hobs they use in their beers.

Final job was transfer the stout to the tank to sit and ferment for 4/5 days before moving into either bottles or casks for consumption.  As our work came to an end around 4pm Pete’s work carried on as a group arrived for a tour & tasting of the brewery that is also available.

A thoroughly enjoyable day – even more enjoyable when we arrived home and tasted a couple of the gift pack set of bottled beers we got to take home as part of the day.  I would recommend this to anyone – interesting and entertaining as well as educational and tasty!

Book a Day as a Brewer here : CLICK HERE


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