Love beer? Go inside Tring Brewery
PUBLISHED: 15:41 24 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:50 24 November 2020
A day in the life of Charlie Hudson, brewhouse operative at the Hertfordshire microbrewery
The morning begins just after eight with the team huddled around a fresh pot of coffee discussing logistics for the day ahead. We typically decide which beer is ready (finished fermenting) to package, what packaging that beer will go in and what beer is needed for the day’s dray (delivery run).
Once the morning’s formalities have concluded I make my way into the brewhouse to begin a plethora of technical tasks. From measuring fermentation to washing casks, labelling bottles and cleaning vessels, there’s always something to be done. As a brewhouse operative I work in close proximity to our brewers Barry and Sam, who are always blending hops, malted barley, water and yeast to create any of our 13 permanent beers. It’s not all back-breaking work at Tring Brewery, the daily ‘chores’ include the hotly-contested task of beer testing, to check if ales are ready. It’s always best to check with a second or third glug of course.
Once our brews are ready, they are transferred to holding tanks where the beer is stored bright (settled out of any yeast or sediment), to be decanted for brewery shop patrons. When the shop gets busy I’m called in from the brewhouse to keep the fresh beer flowing. Our brewery shop is decorated with local produce, merchandise and bottled beer but most come for the fresh stuff! Once drawn-off from the holding tank, fresh draught beer can be taken away in containers ranging from one litre all the way up to 72-pint firkins (the stainless-steel casks usually for pubs). Decanting is a delicate job; filling the chosen container with the preferred ale, then labelling and capping the beer before it is brought out to customers.
Once in the shop, it brings peace-of-mind to check on our new safety procedures. On my way back into the brewhouse I check the computer too, to see if there are any web shop purchases to prepare. Along with our contact-free drive-thru service, we have just launched an online shop for our beer to be couriered throughout the UK.
Back to the brewhouse and there’s packaging to be done. Over 100 casks are filled from a typical brew, with just as many washed and cleaned for tomorrow’s packaging. As you may imagine this is laborious work but the promise of a brim-full pint at the day’s end makes it all worth the while. As the day draws to a close and my post-shift-pint is in sight, the gates of the brewery open once more to welcome our dray fleet back to the yard. Returning empty barrels from the now freshly-stocked pubs, the van brings back the necessary casks to start the process afresh the very next morning. From the grains of the brewing process to the glass of the drinker, our job is done for another day. Cheers to legendary beer from Hertfordshire!