The latest brewery to open in the Trafford & Hulme area is also one of the smallest. Craftsman Brewery is located in the cellar of The Old Abbey Inn on Manchester Science park and at time of writing was brewing on a 100 litre plant - a little over half a barrel or 175 pints. The first test brew was completed in the middle of March with the first beer - an English Bitter in the Taylors Landlord style - going on sale at the pub on 4th April - and selling out in one night. Opening Times tagged along a week after the launch when local branch Trafford & Hulme were invited to the pub to sample the beers.
Head Brewer is Paul Scrimshaw who has a long history in the licensed trade ranging from wine trader to landlord - in the T&H area he's had stints at The Steamhouse in Sale and Lloyds in Chorlton, but this is his first foray into actually making the drinks. The tiny plant has been supplied by North Wales' Powell Brewing (www.powellbrewing.co.uk) who specialise in nano-brewery kit mainly for home brewers.
Since the kit arrived, Paul has been on a self taught crash course in brewing four times a week trying numerous recipes in a whole variety of styles while honing the techniques to get control of ABVs and ensure a clear pint. Although most of the brews so far have been based around staples of Maris Otter malt and Fuggles & Target hops, the brewery currently has a total of 12 different hop varieties in stock.
On the bar when the branch visited the brewery on a social in April were Bruntwood Bitter, a 4.2% pale ale modelled on the much missed original Boddingtons' recipe, and MSP London Porter, a 5.6% sweet rich dark brown beer. Both beers were clear and bright, with good condition - the Porter being particularly lively - and both were very well received by those present that night. Other styles lined up in the pub cellar include a Scottish style Mild (MSP Mild), a strong golden ale (MSP IPA) and a classic best bitter. With confidence that the first beers were up to scratch, a larger 300 litre plant has been ordered which should be in place by you read this. The smaller plant will be retained for test brews.