48 Photos - Sep 8, 2013
Photo: Arriving off the A1 then the A57 to High Brecks Farm on the plain of the River Trent, we thought of Belgian château breweries we had visited where the beers were brewed in redundant farm buildings, and where fine food was often available!Photo: Part of the brewhouse is in the original building on the left and the new timber and metal building is used for fermentation and packaging. On the right is the new restaurant.Photo: This says "Welcome to the Pheasantry Brewery".Photo: a nice herringbone brick floor which would have drained well had livestock still been kept herePhoto: One of the conical fermenters can be seen through the big window in the end of the building, and yes that's a neat row of lavender between the path and the lawn.Photo: fermentation and packaging in the new building, mashing, boiling etc in the brick bitPhoto: Customers of the bar and restaurant can enjoy fresh air, croquet, table tennis and distant views of Cottam Power Station.Photo: The vessel in which the wort is boiled still gets called a copper and is located to the left behind the sliding door, even though its just anodised cladding in this case. In full view is the mash tun. Think of it as the teapot where the brewing grains are infused before being brought the boil. It's the vessel that needs a big door for the removal of spent malt. There's usually brewing twice a week here.Photo: They were going to start out with secondhand kit but that deal fell through. The kit is a mixture of Canadian and European equipment.Photo: photo taken by Simon Chappell who's head and shoulders taller than me!Photo: Photo: hot liquor tank (left) and cold liquor tank (right)Photo: most of Pheasantry's malt is sourced from Fawcetts of Castleford, where barley from the farm is also processedPhoto: Malt is emptied into the grist case and drawn up the pipe to the mash tun by means of an auger.Photo: Mash tun (right) and copper (left with vent pipe).
By means of the manifold beneath the steps the wort can be delivered from the mash tun to the copper to be boiled, and thence through the heat exchanger to a fermenting vessel in the next room.Photo: The heat exchanger uses cold water to cool down the wort after boiling (if it's too hot it's going to kill off the yeast). That cooling water thereby gets heated up so is worth storing in a well insulated hot liquor tank so the next brew doesn't have to start from clap cold.Photo: a view into the fermentation room from outsidePhoto: Conical fermenters not only maximise floor space but also concentrate any trub in the cone end. The brewery can also make use of one of the fermenters for its own lager , taking several weeks and using a bottom fermenting yeast which works at a lower temperature.  The fermenters have an inner and an outer skin to form a jacket so that water can be pumped around to regulate the temperature as required. The continental-style lager does not go out to a mass market but is served on site and sold in bottle.Photo: fermenting vesselsPhoto: from the left, grist hopper, malts, control board, brewer's bike, well insulated hot liquor tank, cold liquor tank, laboratoryPhoto: In the packaging room, 500 ml bottles, und Achtung, minikegs which hold 8 and a bit pintsPhoto: An overall view of the packaging room with steel firkins and plastic pinsthe machine in the middle can be adapted for keg filling but mostly it fills those bottles, two at a time, with brewery conditioned beer for the supermarket and off-licence trade. It's not such a slow process as you'd imagine but a bit mind-numbing.Photo: For bottling the beer has first to pass through the plates of this filter.Photo: For the kind of operation run by Pheasantry the bottled product needs the stability of having been filtered and to have a degree of carbonation.
Mark Easterbrook explains the workings of the bottling machine.Photo: The Australian-designed EcoKeg is a recyclable non-return packaging solution. 
It can be used without CO2 for cask ales drawn out by a spear extractor. See this case study at
http://www.ecokeg.com/downloads/ecokeg_case_study_moor_beer_2012.pdfPhoto: Here's the bar in the restaurant. The brewery's website has sample food menus.Photo: Mark's career has been in food technology, so everything in the brewery is immaculate and spotless - think aseptic is the word.  You can't imagine them ever needing to pour away an brewlength as some places visited by us have had to do at some time in their first year of operation. North Notts College not far away in Worksop is a leader in training for the food industry.
Nobody was disappointed by the beers, which are all in the "supping" strength range.Photo: Wakefield CAMRA Chairman Albert Bradbury begins a speech of thanks to brewer Mark.Photo: This shot of Albert was taken to test the efficacy of fill-in flash when photographing contre-jour. You don't want the subjects coming out as silhouettes, but you don't want a nasty patch of flare from fill-in flash either,Photo: Mark is thrilled to receive one of our framed thank-you certificates.....Photo: ....and chuckles as he reads what's on it!Photo: He's truly fired up.Photo: "We haven't had many of these".Photo: The restaurant food is a bit special. Here our Jonnty tucks into a plate of moules - normally he reckons on getting his moules in Belgium each Easter.Photo: Albert's beautifully presented burger came with a mini chip basket. Everything they do here seems to have special touches.Photo: This is the brewery shop where you can buy carry-outs of the cask ales or minikegs/bottles which will keep longer, as well as t-shirts printed front and back, beautiful greetings cards and other tastefully selected merchandise. Opening times at http://www.pheasantrybrewery.co.ukPhoto: These demonstration hops are planted in the paddock outside the restaurant. Here the plants have to compete with tree roots.Photo: Photo: Hops planted in open ground do much better for water. The country's Northernmost hop gardens were at one time not far away at Tuxford, and the hedgerows of this area are still full of feral hops.Photo: The clay soil and high water table of the plain of the River Trent suit the needs of hop bines.Photo: These are currently the brewery's three regular ales, with a seasonal which for the Summer was Dancing Dragonfly at 5.0%.Photo: These are the backs of the beermats in the previous photo.Photo: Worksop Railway Station, where a Pheasantry beer was on the bar of the Mallard (Photo by Simon Chappell)Photo: Pheasantry beers can often be found at the Mallard on Worksop Railway Station. The Mallard has a cosy small bar at platform level and a cellar bar which can be opened up when the Mallard has beer festivals. (Photo taken by Simon Chappell)Photo: No visit to Worksop is complete without dropping in to the Grafton Hotel, brewery tap for Grafton Brewery. (Photo taken by Simon Chappell)Photo: Photo taken by Simon ChappellPhoto: You get plenty of information on each beer! Note those prices, too.
(Photo taken by Simon Chappell)Photo: It's a special afternoon as Doncaster present an award for Grafton being top in a category at Doncaster CAMRA's 2013 beer festival.
(photo taken by Simon Chappell)