Tag: Tap Room

Twisted Barrel – The Next Chapter

My ladies’ beer group, Brum Beer Babs, have been invited to brew at Twisted Barrel in January with beer sommelier and writer Melissa Cole so to start the planning process I popped over to Coventry to talk to owner/head brewer Ritchie Bosworth. Whilst I was there I took the opportunity of talking to him, his wife, director, Jen and brewer Carl Marshall about the new, expanded, tap room and brewery.

The original brewery and tap room opened at Fargo Village in June 2015 with a brewing capacity of 6BL and 3 fermentation vessels. It soon became a very popular destination with the taproom being filled to capacity on many weekends and evenings. Jen told me they seriously started to think about moving in the spring of 2016 driven by a need to expand the brewery size and increase the storage space. Not wanting to leave Fargo they found a furniture shop that had its lease up in July 2016. The owner, however, did not decide that they wanted to vacate it until the autumn and in the meantime had split the unit into 2. It was at that point that the planning and raising funds began.

Early in 2017 they applied to Funding Circle, having decided against the crowdfunding route favoured by some other breweries. However their application was not successful so it was back to the drawing board. They then heard of the Coventry and Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust who are a non-profit organisation that support businesses in the area. They submitted their business plan, attended interviews and finally found out that they had been successful in securing the maximum amount of funding. It was all systems go for the move! Jen told me that when she got the call and told Ritchie it was “the happiest moment of this year”.

Work began to totally gut and refit the old furniture shop as a working brewery and vastly expanded tap room. They certainly had their work cut out with a floor space 4 times the size of the old unit and the capacity to hold three times as many people. Of course all this work had to go on hand in hand with brewing and running the tap room in the old unit.

The doors of the new, 24 tap, tap room opened on the 13th October with the new fermentation vessels (they now have a total of 5 including one double size) arriving on 17th and the existing brewing kit moving from the old unit on the 18th. Ritchie told me they’ve brewed 9 beers in 3 weeks with their core stout ‘God’s Twisted Sister’ being the first. “It’s weird to be brewing so prolifically” he said.

We moved on to talk about the plans for the brewery including their new can range (canned on site by Them That Can) which should be launched later this month. Ritchie told me that all of the 9 beers brewed so far have either gone into cask or can. This is another benefit of the new unit in that they now have space for a cask washer and will move to use ecask for many beers going forward as in the past they have not been able to keep up with the demand for cask. They will still do keg but as Ritchie says “some beers suit cask and we’ll take advantage of that. Some taste better in cask so let’s not ignore that and get them in casks”. With the move to cans I asked Ritchie if they planned to move away from bottling. He told me that in the past this has all been done by hand and that not all their beers are suited to bottles “it’s a case of what is the best way to showcase the beers”. In general if it works well on keg then it’s going to work well in a can. The core range going into 440 ml cans (since we agreed 330ml is not enough and 500ml is too much!) are those beers which are both sessionable and sell well – Great Went, Sine Qua Non, Detroit Sour City and Naido. These will be joined by monthly specials of a new NEIPA – with each one having a different dominant hop. Bottles will still figure in the range but it could be as larger ‘special editions’ with more focus on Belgian styles.

Whilst enjoying a delicious Naido from the bar we talked about what the coming months have in store. Once their licence comes through they plan to have live music in the bar along with quizzes, speakers, film & TV nights. The bar itself will champion up and coming breweries with a definite focus on local stars “we’re not about the latest Cloudwater beer, are you a new brewer then we want you on the bar, that’s what excites me” Ritchie explained.

Another new feature will be the kitchen takeovers the first being this Sunday (19th) by Vegan Grindhouse. These pop ups will continue for one day once a month, of course with all food being vegan. I also found out that there are plans for ‘break even’ nights, bottle shares and brewery showcases for up and coming brewers.

Not content with their new tap room and brewery I also got the scoop that on 28th July next year they will host their first vegan beer fest in conjunction with Fat Gay Vegan. The event will take place in the Boxx at Fargo Village and consist of 24 lines of vegan beer along with some top vegan food to soak up the beer!

There was a lovely friendly, chilled atmosphere in the bar during my visit with a great mix of young and old, families and couples and even a dog or two. I’d like to thank Ritchie, Jen and Carl for the great chat and wish them all the very best in this new location. I’d also encourage people to go and seek out this great local gem that is not only boosting Fargo Village but the whole of Coventry. I am looking forward to our brew day even more now!

Coventry Beer Profiles – Beer Gonzo – “Buy the ticket, take the ride”

“The greatest mania of all is passion: and I am a natural slave to passion: the balance between my brain and my soul and my body is as wild and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase.”  

HUNTER S. THOMPSON, The Curse of Lono

I am a Coventry kid and very proud of it, it’s a city that has got a bad rep, often laughed about or treated with derision, but it is a city of industrious people, with a sense of independent spirit, typified by its defiance to not be part of ‘Greater Birmingham’.  It’s this independent spirit that has made the growing Coventry beer scene so exciting with Twisted Barrel, Inspire Café Bar, Drapers Bar & Beer Gonzo at the forefront of this.

Recently we had the opportunity to speak to Anthony, the owner of Beer Gonzo to learn more about the bottle shop and the exciting new Tap Room they have recently opened.

Like many recent stories of opportunity and the adventure of independent business, it starts with the credit crunch.  Around 2007, Ant was unfortunately made redundant, but thanks to a friendship with Mark Leape and a love of Belgian beer (his epiphany beer is Duvel) he began working at Inspire Café.  Once they realised people were choosing to have drinks at home, before coming out later in response to the credit crunch an off licence was the obvious choice for their next business venture.

Alexander Wines in Earlsdon had already had a reputation for quality drinks, so when they took it over in 2010 they wished to build on this reputation and add a good selection of Belgian beers to the offering.  In late 2012 they hit a speed bump when handed a one months’ notice to end their tenancy, and though they were able to find new premises would have to wait 6 months until they were able to open.

The new store, Beer Gonzo, was originally envisaged as a shop front for their online store but after they opened on May Day 2013 the beer scene had changed, with the people of Coventry excited about the new breweries and exciting new beers, and more willing to experiment.  This was underlined by how quickly they sold a bottle of Wild Beer Co, Ninkasi.

Ant’s original passion was Belgian Beer, and thanks to relationships they begun cultivate while at Alexander Wines, they are able stock some of the most interesting beers from Belgian best breweries, including beers from Brasserie Cantillon Brouwerij, St. Bernardus Brouwerij & Brasserie Fantôme and can now boast one of the best selection of Belgian beers available to buy in the UK.

With a focus on high quality breweries they have expanded their stock to include some of the most exciting breweries from the states such as Crooked Stave, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales & Wicked Weed Brewing alongside all the very best that UK breweries has to offer, including beer from local breweries such as Twisted Barrel.

Through the success of the shop Beer Gonzo has created a community feel, going on a journey with their customers exploring exciting and interesting beers together, and to quote Anthony…

“Interaction with people in a happy place”

With the increased success of the website sales, the shop store room was no longer big enough and the decision was made to move to a separate warehouse space, leaving Ant with the predicament of what to do with all the space he now had…a Tap Room of course, but a Tap Room done Beer Gonzo’s way.

The Tap Room has now been open since January and has proved to be a fantastic success, employing the principles of great international and UK based beers, with a focus on interesting and high quality.  Since opening they have routinely had one of the most interesting and exciting tap lists in the region… I mean…just look at it…in Coventry.

Boasting 16 taps with the taps 1 to 8 cooled at 8°C for Stouts and Porters and, taps 9 to 16 cooled at 6°C for sours and pales to ensure the beers are always served at their best.  Growlers can also be purchased and filled.

Along with the exciting tap list Ant has also create an astonishing collection of rare bottled Lambic that can also be purchased and consumed in the tap room.  In fact, we almost brought a tear to Ant’s eye when we raided the selection on the opening night.

Future plans include beer tastings with Roberto Ross, more meet the brewer events and setting up The Share, a bottle share.  Ant also plans to continue to have more rare Lambics.  They continue to want to go on a journey with their customer, tasting brilliant beers with people from Coventry and beyond.

You no longer need to wait to be sent to Coventry, you can choose to go yourself and drink the excellent beers available!

 

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”  

HUNTER S. THOMPSON

Check out www.beergonzo.co.uk to shop online and find out the opening times for the bottle shop and tap room.