Friday 27 May 2011

Fairwell, Fair Cruelty

I was sat down on the sofa in Chateau Howe to finish this post and I turned on the TV for a bit background noise. I was confronted with Zoe (26) from Maidstone who has a fishy “down below” on channel 4. I think entertainment like Embarrassing Illnesses, showcasing victims of bacterial vaginosis shows how far we come as a civilisation since the dark ages. Are we to believe that Zoe’s kipper-flavoured lady problem was too embarrassing to show her GP so instead she decided to expose it to half of the UK? I’m sure the few hundred quid that Zoe has earned from her appearance will more than compensate her for hearing “Oi! fishy fanny!” from white vans, pubs and building sites across Kent over the next year or so. If I was a cynic I would say it’s a glorified freak show exploiting the afflicted and desperate. I know that this is not a TV blog but sometimes it draws me in.

This week I am saying goodbye to the old brewhouse. Our 50 barrel plant is slowly being dismantled to allow for its transportation to another brewery. I have some fond memories of that equipment and some very “unfond” memories. Getting the 50 barrel brewhouse up and running was my first job when I arrived at Sharp’s. I did this while I was on shift, brewing the beer and taking over running the rest of the brewing operations. The plant as first installed couldn’t make beer so the first few weeks were hard. I used to get Saturdays off in those days and I would sleep from Friday night until Sunday morning. I lost a stone in weight in 3 weeks.

Eventually we managed to get some great beers out of this brewhouse and it was working 24/7 when the 150 barrel plant was commissioned in 2008. I’m sure that the team at the brewery where it is destined to next reside will enjoy it and the beers it can produce. I haven’t got time to be sentimental but seeing the mash tun hanging from a crane should make me stop and think for a while.

I still hold the record for speed digging the 4 tonnes of spent grains out of the mash tun. Not because I am superhuman but because none of other brewers were stupid enough to rush. I learned in during my first couple of attempts at glory that Cornish for “tosser” is tosser. I think the same can be said for my hop back digging record at Brakspear. The picture at the top of this post shows a former stalwart of the brewery Bald Mike resting during a mash dig on a winter’s night. I think you’ll agree the image has a dantesque feel to it.


ZakAvery said...

Hang on, someone's clearly playing a horrible trick on someone else - I distinctly remember your mash tun raking itself empty on my visit. Or did I dream that?

Stuart Howe said...

That was the 150 barrel mash tun Zak. I kept the old brewhouse hidden on your visit.

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