The Meanwood Festival and Beyond

Things are moving at quite a pace at the moment with the Meanwood Brewery and we thought it was long past time we gave an update on our goings on. The plan in our minds was always to open up a microbrewpub: a place we can call our own and sell our own beer directly to people. That is still the plan but the planned road there has changed a bit.

A couple of months ago we were approached by members of the Meanwood Valley Partnership and decided to meet up for a beer and a chat and see how we can work together. We had a great time (we may have drank a bit too much) and the result of the meeting was that we would have a stall at the Meanwood Fun Day, the climax of the Meanwood Festival. We attended last year and already knew what a great day it can be. We were and still are thrilled by the opportunity. It will be our big debut and nothing could be more perfect than kicking off our public life at the pinnacle of the Meanwood calendar.

The meeting changed everything – we now had a deadline and could no longer wait for the perfect premises to arise so we could upscale our brewing equipment. We decided that instead of a business loan to jump in to trying to open our own place, it would be best to get our foot in the door of the industry. If we attended as many events like the Meanwood Festival over the summer then maybe we’d be able to raise enough money to setup properly with our own money behind us, not a bank’s.

As luck had it, the timing worked perfectly with Alice and I buying a new house. The final stages are going through and the instant we move, the garage will be converted into our new brewery. Graeme has been grafting away, problem solving the setup we needed and we have now purchased a one hectolitre brewery. It’s enough to get us started and much bigger than what we have been doing, but in truth it’s still tiny. With a small addition we can upgrade it to a 3 hectolitre brewery as soon as we’re ready. Which hopefully won’t take long. We’ll post some pics as soon as we’re set up in the new brewery (the garage).

We haven’t been letting the beer side of things go slack in this time and we’ve been brewing as crazy as ever. We’ve been working on our recipes and expanding our range. We’ve even done a few blind triangle tests as we try and perfect our English IPA recipe. We’re getting close and at some point you just have to call it done or you’ll keep tweaking forever. In development, but a couple steps behind are our two other flagship ales. The first is an English Pale ale. With the 2 English styles, we want to go back to the profiles of these traditional English styles and bring them up to modern expectations, without just making their American counterparts. Our third flagship ale is an adaptation of the California Common style, like Anchor Steam. Trying to work with more local ingredients, at least the malts, we are hoping to develop the Meanwood Common style. Judging from the conversations we’ve been having lately, I think once we’ve established these staple beers, things are going to get a lot more experimental. We may jump the shark, but maybe a shark infused Saison would be tasty?

The other big area of development at the moment is our branding. All the above mentioned beers have a theme, and a synergy in their names and branding. All will be revealed soon. This theme will stretch across all our first few beers at least. Our friend, Steph, is working hard on brewery logos and label design for the different styles and we don’t think it will be long till we have some exciting beer art to be showing off. And we’ll be having tons of brewery merchandise made up as soon as we have the design work complete.

Everything is go, go, go at TMB HQ and we can’t wait for everything we’re working on at the moment to come to fruition. In a few short months, you could be buying beer from the Meanwood Brewery at the Meanwood Fun Day, or a similar event over the Summer. Maybe you’ll pop into one of Leeds’ many fantastic bottle shops and see our bottles on the shelves. You may even see our name in lights. We’ll keep you updated of all the events we book in and anywhere you can find our beer. Eek!

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