The Curious Brewery, a state-of-the-art, multi-million pound ‘cathedral of brewing’ is opening in the heart of Ashford, Kent, opposite the railway station.
The brewery has a bar, restaurant, and gardens inspired by the Kent landscape.
Curious Brew is owned by Chapel Down, England’s largest winemaker. And while Curious’ managing director, Gareth Bath, used to hold the same position at Brewdog, and head brewer Matt Anderson was nabbed from AB InBev, there is a unique third member of this team — Chapel Down’s head winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire.
The new brewery will take inspiration from the tourism experiences offered at the Chapel Down Winery. Curious’ cicerone-trained team will host small group tours of the brewery facility that will tell the full field-to-throat story of their range of premium beers and ciders.
Guests will be taken on a journey through the production side of the brewery before sitting down for a tasting of the core range and any limited-batch beers straight from the tanks.
The building, set in a 1.6 acre site, houses 19 fermentation tanks, with a total capacity of 2,900hl, meaning that the brewery can hold almost 170,000 pints of beer at any one time.
Bright beer tanks
Beer will be kegged and bottled on site, producing more than 4,000 bottles per hour in bespoke bottles. In addition, un-pasteurised beer will be piped directly to the restaurant from bright beer tanks on site, ensuring the freshest and best quality beer to visitors.
The new Curious Brewery will transform the brand’s production. The 50hl five-vessel brewhouse enables the team to more than quadruple its current total brewing volumes, producing approximately 80khl of beer, or more than 4.5m pints, per year.
Yet they will stay incredibly versatile, by brewing smaller batch sizes for improved freshness and quality, and even launching an exclusive small batch series.
Gareth Bath said: “We’ve been talking for a long time about how our drinks are ‘a conversation with the earth’. Whether we’re using grapes, apples or hops, pretty much everything we do relies on Mother Nature’s bounty as a start point.
“From there on we add the experience and the passion of our first-class Chapel Down team to make the very finest English beers, ciders and wines. This brewery absolutely follows that wider philosophy.
“And it is a cathedral of brewing in every sense. The soaring point of the roof has spire-like qualities, the people who work with and for us have a devotion I’ve not come across before, and we hope the congregation of Kentish and British beer-lovers will come and visit regularly, we are here to serve.”