Review – Bison Beer Brewschool
As Homer once said “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems”. So here in Brighton we now have the Bison Beer Crafthouse and Home Brew Depot beer making course to once again be the solution… And the problem.
Every Saturday, Bison Beer Crafthouse along with Home Brew Depot brewing company host a 6 hour course where you can brew your own American pale ale, chat and drink. At £89 a head including lunch and 5 pints of your own beer to ferment at home I was extremely excited to have a beer fuelled day of learning.
Sadly, the course wasn’t hosted in the luscious beer-like sweet shop that is Bison Beer Crafthouse, but the room above the Fishbowl – a Drink In Brighton pub located opposite. To be honest, the setting for the day was slightly lacklustre. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no snob – and we’re not exactly making champagne – but the room didn’t really scream £89 bespoke beer making course and did get uncomfortably hot after 6 hours.
No matter, its all about the beer and upon waiting for the class to begin we get a drink from the Fishbowl which gives us enough time to meet the other junior brewers; a not so rowdy stag do and a very friendly husband and wife duo. Our host for the day, Josh, introduces himself and explains what the day will entail and with a brief “cheers!” we’re away.
The first part of the course was extracting the sugars from the barley by filling our vats with hot water and oats creating a mash tun, this got very hands on very quickly and was a great first part to the course.
We had a short hour wait while the oats did their thing in the covered vat. This gave us some time to drink some bespoke ale and interrogate Josh on beer facts.
Next was by far the most exciting part of the course; the sparging of the mash. We each poured hot water through the mash of oats twice before collecting the liqour in a large pan, which at this point started to slightly resemble our American pale ale.
Once our beer had been collected it was then time to heat it and add the bitter hops and then after 45 minutes the aromatic hops. At this point we had a break for lunch from the FishBowl Fish Shack.
After a short wait and some oohing and aaahing over our bubbling vat of hot beer, we finally had our (nearly) finished product. We had yet another short wait whilst our beer was being decanted into 5 pint containers and we were finally done! With an explanation of beer after care, how to add the all important yeast etc, we were sent on our way to see us through till 10 days time when our American pale ale will finally be ready.
Fast forward ten days…
So after 10 agonizing days of “is it doing something?” we were finally ready to sample the beer. At this point I’d like to add that my beer foamed and moved round in fits and starts so before I tasted it I was very dubious of the end product, my partner saying that she most definitely would not want to try any…
But I was pleasantly surprised! The beer was a bit stinky, the sort of flat beery smell that you get from a pub, but it was drinkable. It had a nice bitter taste and was fairly potent, everything I want in a beer.
I enjoyed my time at the Bison Beer Brewschool, but with a fairly hefty price tag I’m hesitant to recommend. The long waits couldn’t be helped but with not much else to fill the time other than drinking the course fell flat when the beer ran out. With a few tweaks I feel that this could be an amazing day out but at the moment I would be slightly wary of paying £89 to attend.
However, its great to see local breweries trying something new, and the Bison Beer shop on East Street is highly recommended – not to mention their 1.9 litre growlers being perfect for long summer days.
Bison Beer Brewschool, Fishbowl Pub, 74 East St, Brighton, BN1 1HQ
Rob’s ticket was complimentary, courtesy of Bison Beer and their PR company.
Featured image Bison Beer’s own.