Driftwood Spars Brewery has taken to Crowdfunder to raise money for a 70-litre pilot brew kit to complement its existing set-up.
Lou, Mike, and Tim, at Driftwood Spars Brewery
The plant will be used to trail new brews, perhaps adding to the Cove series of beers, which have been a huge hit since new head brewer Mike Mason joined in 2020. He took over from founding brewer Pete Martin, who sadly passed away early last year.
In their Crowdfunder pitch, the brewery team write: “For over ten years we have brewed small batch, traditional beers with exclusively British hops and malt. We choose to use British ingredients for two reasons. Firstly, to reduce our environmental impact through avoiding long boat and airplane trips for our hops. Secondly, we are completely committed to empowering the local economy, where we can we will always spend our money locally.
“Recently we launched our more contemporary Cove range of canned beers, using locally sourced ingredients such as seabuckthorn berries and taking inspiration from the sights and stories around us. These include a 6% milk stout, a 21st century English IPA, and as a Christmas special we brewed a Gingerbread Imperial Stout.
“Since the beginning we have been relentlessly experimenting. We’ve worked alongside British hop growers to experiment with new varieties — we brewed with Harlequin years before it had a catchy name, to us it was known as CF212. In 2018 we were the first Cornish brewery to become completely gluten free and in 2020 we made all but one of our core beers vegan.
“With the introduction of our new head brewer, Mike, perfecting big, decadent stouts has been a focus of ours, as well as using more of the natural ingredients that surround us. That’s where we, as brewers, have fun — experimenting, tweaking, and letting our imaginations run wild.
“We have always wrestled with the fact that whilst our brew kit isn’t huge, the minimum amount of beer we can brew is somewhere around 900 pints, which is a lot of beer to brew to test an idea we’ve not perfected yet.
“The covid-19 situation has really amplified this issue for us, meaning we just can’t risk brewing such a large quantity of any experimental beers. You can imagine how daunting it was, mid-lockdown, adding a bucketful of seabuckthorn berry juice to a full batch of a perfectly good saison in hope that it would make it a brilliant beer…”
The solution is the pilot kit, which will sit alongside the current brewery and offer the flexibility to bring to life those experimental ideas. It also means the brewery can be much more flexible in offering bespoke beers for weddings in the pub. The team can also teach more of the public about how to make beer at a smaller scale, and can test new British ingredients in manageable sized batches.
The first three beers brewed on the new kit will be exclusively for crowdfunders only. They will not be available to anybody else and the recipes will be unique.
Pilot kit brewdays will aim to be educational, fun, and a benefit to everybody, from complete novices to experienced home brewers.
“Having our crowd’s names and messages on the pilot kit will make this a really special part of our brewery, and our story.”