Nick Briggs. It’s fair to say that if he wasn’t such a clumsy numpty, this brewday would have happened 12 months ago – as it was scheduled to.
For those unaware, Nick is one of the brewers at Mallinsons. And he’s bloody good. That good that you’d never be able to tell his beers from those brewed by Elaine Yendall or Tara Mallinson. And THEY set high standards.
I’d sorted back to back brewdays with Nick (in his Briggs Signature guise) and Elaine. Or thought I had. Until Nick wandered in with his arm in a sling! Looking slightly sheepish…..
So. When I bumped into him at The Corner earlier this year and asked if he fancied it if I cashed that “rain check”, he promised to stay healthy.
Nick brews superb hoppy beers, but deliberately differentiates his beers from those of his day job by avoiding single hopped brews, blending hop flavours to achieve his taste objectives.
I wanted something (needed!) something of session strength. Nick was only too happy to oblige. So, for MY final brewday, I had no qualms about hauling my fat ass out of the house at Who Time (5:15 – I don’t do funnies…..)
OK. I was really early. Time for a full breakfast. In a cafe I’ve wanted to go in for AGES unsurprisingly. And it was excellent.
Vast majority Pale malt (as with most beers) with a bit of Munich for body, I blended the malts to Nick’s instructions and mashing in was a doddle – with those soul lifting hot porridge aromas filling the brewery.
At the risk of repetition, if you don’t love these smells, you don’t cast a shadow.
After sprinkling in a good weight of black and chocolate malt on top the top of the transferring mash – all shall be revealed – sparge commenced. Rinsing the colour from those darker malts soon started to have an impact…
Time for some hops. A lot of hops. Starting with a kilo of highly aromatic Centennial for bitterness.
Nick makes bloody excellent session strength hoppy pale ales, so, you can probably see where this is going, especially when you have late additions or 5kg of Cascade and another 4kg of Centennial.
A Session Black IPA is what we were brewing and the smells from those hops after the various additions was so fruity and sharp.
Testing of the wort at various stages gave us readings projecting a perfect abv of 3.9% abv, just what the Salford Doctor ordered!
I may be wrong, but I think – as does Nick – that Manchester hasn’t seen Briggs beers before. So, for us at #ISBF4, a very tasty sessionable first. Most of his beers – like many of the better small Yorkshire breweries, stay East of the Pennines.
But we’re getting one. And that makes me very happy.
A brewery you may never have heard of? But listen now. I don’t invite just anyone.
Few remaining tickets here. Get on them before it’s too late. (I hate tears….)