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Published on April 6th, 2016 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Small is big in new beer language

Anybody thinking of setting up a microbrewery will be well aware that maximum flexibility with the minimum use of space comes pretty close to the top of their wish-list. So, the single-vessel brewing system that Hadrian Border Brewery has been using for experimental and ultra short-run beers should be of huge interest. 

Basically, one tank set on wheels and measuring 1.3 metres square can produce three barrels – 12 firkins – of beer at a time. Connect it to a couple of small fermenting vessels and you’re away.

Hadrian Border managing director Andy Burrows says: “There are similar systems available but we took our ideas to George Thompson who designs breweries and Sam Sampson of Scotia Welding & Fabricating, and at the end of the day we all got what we needed.”

The Newburn, Newcastle, brewery has been using the highly manoeuvrable brewing system for a new American Red Ale, a chocolate beer, and a German-style Altbier that’s sitting mellowing for a few months working through complexity after complexity.

Brewing expert George Thompson says: “The system was designed to meet the requirements of a portable, 500-litre brewhouse for small production runs and for product development.

“As with all single vessel systems, the vessel is first the hot liquor tank then the mash tun and finally the wort boiling kettle. It incorporates good design practice from larger systems and has proved to be both efficient and simple
in operation.”

Andy Burrows is also keen for pub owners to make use of the one-vessel system under the guidance of a brewer like Oliver Eltringham. Bespoke beers could be just that rather than rebadged standard ales.

“We’re very open to landlords commissioning new beers on the equipment to sell through their pubs,” says Andy. “It’s an ideal size to do that – and for us it has to be a commercial unit in its own right.”

Andy also reveals that its award-winning Grainger Ale is now a gluten-free product with every batch properly certificated. It’s a commitment Hadrian Border is prepared to undertake for
an important and developing sector
of the market.

Elsewhere, the Hadrian Border is offering a programme of doorstep deliveries which Andy Burrows remembers fondly while growing up in the Midlands where Davenports Brewery operated a similar scheme. Work on its first pub, The Station Hotel in Gateshead, is now speeding up after a series of unforeseeable delays with an opening date in June pencilled in.


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Alastair Gilmour



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