Name(s): Ben Bullen
Brewery Name: Elixir Brew Co.
How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
I have been brewing beers as Elixir Brew Co. for almost 2 years now.
Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft
My father was brewing his own beers at home in Australia and I got the bug from him. I began home brewing when we moved to England as a means of producing the beers I wanted to drink. I have certainly benefited from having some great friends in the brewing world who have been very helpful with advice and the odd bag of hops.
If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
I began experimenting with my own house ales once we moved to England in 2007. After a calamitous kvass experiment and a few somewhat encouraging extract brews I moved on to all grain and set about filling the house with massive double IPAs, imperial stouts, Belgian bad boys and a host of specialty ales. My wife and I moved to Edinburgh in 2010 and began sharing these beers with friends and colleagues where I met Barry at Cloisters Bar. We formed Elixir Brew Co. in 2012 and began brewing at Alechemy Brewing in West Lothian.
How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
Beers have been produced using both the 100L and 10 barrel kits at Alechemy.
Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery's operation?
There is no automation in the production process at Alechemy. All exercise undertaken brewing beer is usually negated by the macaroni cheese and chips combo I have for lunch on a Friday.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WHITE STREET BREWING CO. FIRST BOTTLE RELEASE
MARCH 28 at WHITE STREET BREWING CO.
White Street Brewing Co. Releases Koschei the Deathless Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Friday, March 28 at 2:00pm
White Street Brewing Company will unleash their first bottle as part of their new “Back Alley Series.” Koschei the Deathless (pronounced: Ko-shy) is a big, bad Russian Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels and carefully locked away in 750ML cork and cage bottles at 13% ABV. From small town Russian folklore to Wake Forest, North Carolina, Koschei the Deathless captures White Street’s “Big Time Beer. Small Town Soul” image.
Bottle sales begin at the taproom on March 28 at 2:00 PM at 218 S. White Street, Wake Forest, NC. The taproom will be open from 2:00PM to 12:00AM and will feature live music and food trucks. Koschei the Deathless kegs will be tapped at 2:00PM on March 28 and samples will be available for $2. Bottles will be sold for $13.99 each while inventory is available.
DESCRIPTION FROM WHITESTREETBREWING.COM/KOSCHEI:
“Locked in bourbon barrels until we found and released him, Koschei the Deathless - our massive, complex, blacker-than-death Imperial Stout - will steal any soul with which he comes in contact. A Russian villain, Koschei’s immortality can only be reversed by finding his soul hidden in a needle, inside a duck’s egg, in a hare, inside an iron chest, buried under a green oak tree - and devouring every last drop.”
A very abridged version of what is happening today in Edinburgh, Scotland to a friend of CellarMonks - The Elixir Brew Co.
It seems that a regional brewer, Everards Brewery Ltd, has sent Elixir a cease & desist letter brandishing trademark of the term "Elixir". Everards has produced one beer that was termed "elixir". This was produced as a summer cask special. As of this writing, the company's own website makes no mention of that beer.
The owners and brewers of Elixir are hardworking, gracious people just trying to produce unique one-off beers for the enjoyment of those in and around Edinburgh. They are no threat commercially to Everards, yet are looking at having to shut down (possibly) as of Friday, March 7th in order to comply with the C&D.
What You Can Do
Jump on Twitter, do a search on #SaveElixirBrewCo and keep up to date on what is happening.
Head over to Everards Brewery's Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/everards} and let them know what you think.
Just keep spreading the word in general.
There are already more than 30 beers with "elixir" in their name (according to another beer review website).
We will be updating this article should we receive any more information. Stay tuned.
Update: For a detailed description of what is happening please read The BeerCast - Everards to trademark Elixir Brewing Co out of existence
Update: A statement from Everards Brewery's Facebook Page:
Update: A statement from Everards Brewery's Facebook Page @ 8:37PM:
Thanks for your comments. Trademarking is a standard business practice that we will continue to use, however the team at Everards have reflected on this particular case. We have decided that, as the name refers to the company rather than the beer, we will not pursue this any further. We are passionate about ale and support other brewers - this is demonstrated by our Project William work. We usually handle such issues directly between breweries but were keen to update immediately.
A first here at CellarMonk Beer. In our entire interview collection we had yet to interview someone from the serving end of the beer lifecycle. Well, we can cross that off the list now. We were lucky enough to get a Publican (for Americans that is someone who runs a pub, not a political party) to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame and tell us about his experiences running a pub. So please welcome to CellarMonk, our first publican, Mr. Matt Wickham.
Name of the Pub: The Evening Star (A Dark Star Pub)
When was the business founded and by whom?
It has been under current ownership since march 1992, owned by Peter Halliday and has been run since 1995 by Dark Star Brewery of which he is Chairman
Has the location that the pub is in always been a pub? If not, what was the previous business? Why the change?
It has always been a pub and can be seen on the 1871 census. It was previously owned by Courage.
How many employees (full and part time)?
3 full time and 7 part time working between 1 and 4 shifts per week.
How long is the typical day for the publican?
It can vary and certainly rarely 9-5. On a bad day I can be doing deliveries at 8.30am and still working at midnight. Staff sickness is always one to mess with hours if nobody else can cover.
Do you simply manage the pub or are you also the keg/cask wrangler, keep, table clearer, etc?
We're very hands on here, I always do the majority of work in the cellar, being a cask led pub this is often hard work! There's not much we don't do really, even unsavoury things like unblocking drains has been known!
Is food available at your pub? If so, your favorite meal (beer and food)?
Being a small bar it's never really had a big food trade. We had a chef a while ago that made amazing burgers but the food trade wasn't enough for a chef to make a living. In recent years we've only had cold snacks. People come for the beer!
How much can you pack into a week of travel? What places and people will you run into? How many different beer experiences can you have?
These are questions that just about every traveler serious about beer and a sense of adventure should ask themselves. Whether going alone (not recommended, if for nothing else than sharing expenses) or traveling with a group of friends, the traveler should try to experience what they can within the the bounds of time and camaraderie. I'd like to share with you one of my favorite experiences of the past few years which took place over nine days in 2008 and had us in five cities. To add at least a modicum of detail, I will be breaking my adventure into four parts.
Amsterdam - Day 1
As this trip was planned (our little group usually plans at least the cities we will visit a couple months prior to travel), our first stop would be Amsterdam, The Netherlands. My roommate, for at least the first few days of the trip, had gotten us a hotel room very convenient to the main train station. We would be leaving early the next morning and heading to Brussels, Belgium in order to attend a once every two year beer festival (more on that later) and this made it easy to pick up and go. My first day in Amsterdam was what I expected. Amsterdam is a very large city and for someone unfamiliar with its streets, it can be somewhat confusing. Not knowing where exactly my roommate had booked the hotel, led me to wander around one of the busiest parts of the city looking like the quintessential lost tourist (backpack, water bottle, sleepy glazed over been on a plane for 8 hours look). As it happens, I did a lot of wandering for nothing. The hotel was within eyesight of the train station (my new phone has GPS). Lesson learned.
Stopping and dropping my backpack at the hotel and freshening up a bit was the first order of business. My travel mate, Gordon, had been to Amsterdam before, so he had a much better grasp of the city than I did. Since we would only be spending one night in Amsterdam in the beginning of the trip, with two days spent at the end, we did not do very much sightseeing. Being new to the city as I was though provided me with an immediate mini-sightseeing adventure. Gordon and I took off for parts both known and unknown. You see, many times we travel with a sense of purpose (gonna see this or see that), but not a very good sense of direction. Mainly wandering and stopping when something seemed interesting. Most of the time what interested us was one bar/pub or another. Since Gordon would not be with us the last two days of the trip, he wanted to stop at local shops and try local beers. Being the accommodating person that I am, I obliged. A good part of my time spent wandering with Gordon on the streets of Amsterdam was spent trying not to get run over not by cars, but bicycles. They are everywhere you look. On the streets, in alleys, in the canals or chained to posts, bicycles are a mass mode of transportation in Amsterdam.
Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer.
-- Frekerick William