Burnley-based Moorhouse’s Brewery has undergone some grand changes in recent months. Back in April 2017, they appointed new Managing Director Lee Williams, a distinct strike out into fresh new waters. Williams had previous success bringing rival brewery Thwaites into craft beer contention with popular hop-forward 13 Guns and the big success of Wainwright, which I have to confess I choose over most beers when I see it in a Thwaites pub. (I’m a sucker for the Lakes.) His appointment was given a fanfare many were unsure of – he had come to build a “modern, contemporary” brewery, filling the shoes of David Grant, a traditional MD whose career with Moorhouses spanned 14 years. Do you remember what Moorhouse’s was like 14 years ago? Their Premier Bitter won a gold medal at The International Beer and Cider Awards. The brewery hadn’t yet opened a visitors’ centre. It was exactly 100 years since the owner of the brewery was killed by an exploding bottle. That last one isn’t so relevant to my point, but it’s a pretty gruesome and interesting fact.
Why do I say that? Local beer blogger and columnist Mark Briggs aka. Real Ale Up North posted an article yesterday (Thursday 22 February, 2018) in the Lancashire Telegraph (among other local papers) revealing Moorhouse’s plans to “embrace the craft beer era” – their words, not mine.
Previously content with their offering of CAMRA-pleasing trad ales and a couple of fancy extras – Stray Dog, for example, made in collaboration with New Order – they’re now moving into the brave new world. In his piece, Mark describes a “tiny” 100 litre brew kit, used twice a week to craft 400 litres of experimental beers. He continues:
The beer that was currently being brewed, was a ‘high octane’ Russian Imperial Stout at 7.9%. Assistant Brewer, Jordan Hamer, trusted me with adding the Willamette hops into the boil.
Lee [Managing Director of Moorhouses] said: “We will be doing this Imperial Stout for the World Cup in Russia – it seemed appropriate. The Vanilla Stout we brewed recently had good feedback from both the Pendle and Manchester beer festivals.”
Head brewer Dan Casaru added: “[the new kit] gives us the option to play around with our different styles… it gives us the opportunity to brew more bold and creative beers.”
*Thwaites is mostly owned by Marstons, Moorhouse’s remains independent.