Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year, new blog, new bods and new beers

So finally in 2011, Dark Star is getting a much needed new website. Hopefully it will be far less annoying and a lot easier to navigate. It will also look damn cool! As part of that, I will be doing this blog to keep anyone who cares abreast of what the hell we are up to in our pursuit of brewing and drinking great beers (and other random stuff no doubt).

There has been a lot of change in the brewery over the last few months  - after years of having the same staff, almost everyone has decided they've had enough of me and my OCD tendencies. Toby left to set up The Kent Brewery, J left to run one of our pubs, The Duke of Wellington, Shoreham (and is doing a fantastic job too - pop in when you're in the area!). Now after months of anticipation, George is moving to Japan to work at Kiuchi Brewery and pursue is interest in Japanese women. George has been with Dark Star for over four years and during that time has been totally dedicated to the Brewery and our beers. It has been a joy to see him develop as a brewer. We wish him every success in this new adventure and will watch with interest as he tries to purchase size 13 shoes out there.

So that leaves me and Dave...
...and the new guys - Steve gave up a cushy lifestyle (much to his families chagrin), put himself through the Brewlab course, did time at St. Peters and Purity before realising there was a brewery a little closer to his home town of Brighton. Josh has moved over from Australia and arrived just in time to see England doing rather well in the Ashes. Back in Oz, Josh worked at Little Creatures and was the Senior brewer at Gages. Finally, Brian is jumping ship from King & Co. to join us on 10th January as Production Supervisor.

The tasting notes for 2011 were finished in the usual rush and were finally delivered to us on Christmas Eve. Permanent beers remain the same, Saison has slipped in as a seasonal, from a monthly, as has the Smoked Porter that I brewed with the legendary Doug Odell last year.
As usual, there are a few additions to the specials list. Kicking the year off is the porter that I brewed with Melissa Cole back in November. Pretty excited about this one - definitely malt led with 8 varieties including aromatic barley, roasted wheat and peated malt, then balanced with a subdued blend of Willamette, Brambling Cross, East Kent Goldings and Amarillo's. To top it off there is a small quantity that have been aged on vanilla toasted oak chips and some on mocha toasted oak chips. I have yet to try this beauty in the pub but regular tastings revealed a super complex beer that over time had matured from snotty brat to well rounded individual. I'll be gadding around London with Melissa on January 20th to promote this beast in The Rake, Cask Pub and Kitchen, Euston Tap and The White Horse...
Other new beers will include Carafa Jade, a new world red ale that will be showcasing Pacific Jade hops  from New Zealand. Then there will be a beer aged on Seville oranges and El Dorado hops - a new variety that I was lucky enough to secure a portion of. Oh, and there will be a Maibock with green peppercorns...

All in all 2011 should be an interesting year!!!


  1. Hope to see the new website soon - what sort of features are you looking to implement? Have you considered surveying customers to see what they want?

    Personally I'm very interested in ordering beer (I use Beer Matt at the moment) and also what beers (if any) are vegetarian and what beers could be made to be.

    An interactive map of what pubs serve DarkStar would be great as well (Thought about trying to get the newly re done Good Companions to serve DS? they have 8 (eight!) ales on tap )

  2. Hi Miles,
    Thanks for the info on the GC! The new website will have an beer finder app, store for merchandise and beer, updates on goings on etc. Watch this space.

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