Hello Beer lovers, our blog has sadly been quiet for the last couple of months as all the team have been working flat out moving the company forward. There has been a number of developments over the summer, and we have more still to come, so a full update on the world of Mad Squirrel is long overdue.
Here’s what’s going on:
The first parts of our brand new brewhouse arrived at Boxted Farm on the 19th July. It took a couple of days to fully unpack and move into place, but now it is in situ it really is a remarkable piece of kit to behold (at least for stainless steel nerds).
From there it has taken several weeks to plumb up and commission. We had hoped to start brewing on Wednesday 9th August, the day after we ceased brewing on our old kit, in our old unit, and therefore causing absolutely no disruption to supply of Mad Squirrel beers. Unfortunately, these things never go quite according to plan and we had a couple of hold ups due to technical issues.
We finally got brewing on the kit on Tuesday 15th August.
This does mean we have had a temporary shortage of our two biggest sellers, Hopfest and $UMO, which isn’t ideal, but this shortage will be short-lived as the first brews from the new kit will start to hit outlets in just over a week. Our brewers are currently working flat out to replenish stock levels and make sure that we have no more shortages.
Alongside the actual brewhouse we are now fully moved into our new offices and are currently building our new brewery taproom & pizzeria. We have a soft opening of the new taproom booked in for Saturday 16th September, there will be another post about this closer to opening.
With production being so flat out to keep up with demand on our core beers over the last few months we have not had capacity to brew any new brews, but now we are on the new kit we can start getting adventurous again.
ROADKILL OPAQUE IPA
This week we are brewing our first commercial scale run of Roadkill, our opaque IPA. We have been talking about this beer for months now but it is only now we can finally make it a reality. Roadkill will be 6.5% ABV and will be a New England style IPA, so expect a very hazy golden appearance, thick mouthfeel, low bitterness, high juiciness and impressive drinkability. The first batch of Roadkill will have the same hop bill as Cyclone, the Limited Release opaque session IPA we released earlier this year (Citra, Azacca, Equinox, Idaho 7).
However, in order to keep things interesting we have decided Roadkill will have no fixed hop bill and each brew will feature different hop varieties, we will be adding a page to the website so you can look up each batch and find out what hops are included. This will keep our brewers, and you hopheads, on your toes.
Roadkill is being debuted at the Amersham Unhinged Beer festival on September 22nd (see details below.)
Our next Limited Release beer will be Berkhopsted, our annual wet hop harvest ale, made with hops grown in the Berkhamsted Tap & Bottle Shop garden. Berkhopsted will be 4.2%, exclusively in cask and unfined. This beer was a huge success for us last year and we are hoping this year will be just as good. Harvest and brew day are pencilled in for Monday 11th September.
The beer is officially released on Saturday 30th September, however there will be a members only preview evening, upstairs at the Berkhamsted Tap & Bottle Shop on Tuesday 26th September. The evening will include 1 pint of Berkhopsted and a short talk on the project, by our resident Beer Sommelier Tim Hickford. Tickets are available at the Berkhamsted Tap & Bottle shop now and cost just £4.
Beyond Roadkill and Berkhopsted we are currently planning more Limited Release brews for the rest of the year.
Now we are not confined by maximised production volumes and the technical capabilities of our old kit, expect to see some increasingly interesting brews coming out.
Alongside our brew-kit, our new canning line arrived on site in early August. It was perhaps the most awkward piece of kit ever to be unloaded off a lorry, but now it is in place we literally cannot wait to get it up and running.
2017 CANNING LINE
The designs for our first two cans, Hopfest & $UMO were finalised and have been sent off to the printers.
A couple of our staff went up to the can-makers last week to check out some sample cans being printed, as you can see from the video below:
The first 50,000 cans of each line are now being printed and should be with us by the start of October, so expect the first Mad Squirrel 440’s to be out towards the end of October/start of November.
One of our last blog posts was about our exciting plans to expand our Amersham Tap & Bottle Shop into the unit next door. It took five weeks of flat out work, but Amersham V2.0 finally opened on Friday 21st July. The venue now includes a pizzeria, gin selection and twice as much seating both indoors and outdoors. The expansion has gone down a storm with our loyal customers and Amersham has been packed every night since opening!
Now Amersham is finished, and our new taproom is close to completion, we will soon be turning our attention to opening more Tap & Bottle Shops. We have a couple of sites currently going through the legal loopholes required to open which we hope to be able to share the locations of soon, in the meantime, if you see any sites you think might work well for us please let us know!
On the weekend of 22nd-24th September we are holding our first “Unhinged beer festival” at Amersham Cricket Club. We are getting some of our favourite beers from our favourite breweries in. Alongside the full Mad Squirrel range, expect beers from the likes of Arbor, Wild Weather, Gipsy Hill, Track and others!
The total line-up will include more than 50 different beers across cask and keg, 20 different ciders, wine and prosecco. Alongside the liquid, there will also be street food vendors, live music from the likes of The Running Guns and These Certain People, stand-up comedy, Beer talks, a pop up barbershop and more!
As said previously Amersham Unhinged Festival is also hosting the launch of Roadkill Opaque IPA, It will be the first place to pour the beer with it not hitting our own outlets or trade accounts until the following week.
More details can be found on the Amersham Unhinged page on our website and advanced tickets can be bought here, there is a 20% saving when buying tickets in advanced instead of on the day!
The weekend after Amersham Unhinged we will once again have our own bar at the CAMRA St. Albans Beer festival (27th-30th September) We will be serving the full Mad Squirrel cask range, including Berkhopsted on the stairwell bar. If you’re planning on going, make sure you come and say hi and have a pint.
With everything that is going on in Mad Squirrel, numerous career opportunities are coming up, if you are interested in joining the team make sure you keep an eye on our careers page for vacancies.