The group poses outside of Marston's Brewery in front of the vintage beer trucks.
Brewtopia Events LLC

England Cask Ale Tour
with Terrapin Beer Co.

Hosted by Owen Ogletree

February 2010



Webpage by Owen Ogletree.  Photos by Owen Ogletree, Karen Watts and The Beer Wench.
Posted February 2010

After 2009's magnificent beer trip to Belgium, the gang from Terrapin Beer Company, Five Points Bottle Shop and Taco Mac decided to fly to the UK in 2010 for a worldwind tour of some cask conditioned, real ale hotspots.  This webpage chronicles the journey.

Contact Owen (link at bottom) if your group would like to hire him to plan and host a special beer trip.

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England Cask Ale Travelogue & Photo Album...

John Keeling, Fuller's head brewer, began our UK journey with a walk around the historic London brewery.

After our Fuller's tour, we enjoyed tastes of the cask ales in the Fuller's Hock Cellar.

Next stop was the delightful Hook Norton Brewery near Chipping Norton. Our two guides were marvelous hosts.

The old steam engine inside the Hook Norton Brewery.

  This open fermenter at Hook Norton uses an interesting "scoop" to harvest yeast from the top of the fermenting beer.

Spike gets a photo inside Hook Norton's old domed kettle.

Russ, Spike, Sachin and Richie cap off the day with a pint inside the Chequers Pub in Chipping Norton near our hotel.

Karen, Shreya, Terri, Brittany and Brian relax at the Chequers.

Up close and personal with a Burton Union fermenting vessel at Marston's in Burton-On-Trent.

These magnificent Burton Unions carry out the specialized fermentation and yeast harvesting at Marston's.

Dustin and Terri are surrounded by paparazzi outside the Marston's visitors center.

Brian and Brittany mug for the camera in front of one of Marston's gleaming stainless steel brew kettles.

We ended day two with a pub crawl of Sheffield.

Stuart Brasford of Kelham Island Brewery shares a cask ale in the brewery's famed Fat Cat pub.

Here's our friend Trevor Wraith behind the bar of his award-winning Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield -- voted top pub in England two years in a row!

The amazing new Sheffield Tap is located at the main train station and serves a wide range of rare cask ales.

The group attempts to sample several ales at Sheffield Tap at the end of a long day of quality beer -- not an easy task at all.

The Beer Wench hobnobs with some of the guys from Thornbridge Brewery at the Sheffield Tap.

A morning visit to Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster started our day three. Here's The Beer Wench with one of the brewery's shire horses.

Zo, Shreya and Russ learn about cask production and maintenance from Samuel Smith's cooper.

Dustin snaps Spike's photo in front of the old brew tanks at Sam Smith's.

Samuel Smith's does not offer public tours, so our group of beer writers, pub owners and brewers felt very grateful for our visit.

Spike Buckowski, brewer for Terrapin Beer Company in Athens Georgia, checks out the whole leaf hops at Sam Smith's.

These sacks of whole leaf hops from Kent were bigger than Terri!

Sam Smith's Simon Poynton discusses UK ale with Fred Crudder, beverage director for the Taco Mac pubs in the southeastern U.S.

Samuel Smith's brewing director explains how the Brewery Bitter is fermented in old slate squares. Pumps "rouse" the beer from the bottom and recirculate the liquid to keep the yeast active.

Wooden casks are filled with Old Brewery Bitter and finings in the Samuel Smith cellar.

Dustin tries his hand at pouring a pint of Old Brewery Bitter at Samuel Smith's.

Simon and Owen discuss cask ale carbonation levels.

Clockwise: Sed, Melissa, Brittany, Terri, Shreya, Zo, Karen and Brian enjoy the ambiance of the Samuel Smith cellar tasting room.

Here's the whole crowd outside Samuel Smith's Old Brewery in Tadcaster.

While overnighting in York, our group visited several personable pubs. Here's Brian, Spike and Zo in The Maltings pub.

The tiny York Brewery owns several pubs in York -- including the Three-Legged Mare.

Day for began with a quick tour of the amazing Thomas Fawcett Malting facility in Castleford.

Thomas Fawcett still maintains an old style floor malting area.

Back-breaking work! This is the old-school way of turning or aerating the malt on the floor.

Steam rises from the ceiling of the building where the malt is dried.

A manager of Thomas Fawcett explains how barley is turned into malt.

Thomas Fawcett's old malt roaster turns pale malt into black malt for porters and stouts.

Next stop was Moorhouse's brewery in Burnley.

Our group visited Moorhouse's old brewery just before construction began on a new brewing facility.

Sachin explores the nooks and crannies of Moorhouse's.

Spike and Richie at Moorhouse's.

Moorhouse's brewery tap in Burnley is called The General Scarlett. The brewery produces some of Owen's favorite UK cask ales.

The beautiful Grey Mare pub near Beltorn, Blackburn is the ideal place to enjoy the range of cask ales from Thwaites.

A scene from the massive snowball fight outside the Grey Mare.

Cask ale and traditional English pub food inside the Grey Mare. Brittany said, "I'd heard that English food was not good, but it's great comfort food -- I love it."

Dustin and Terri await dessert at the Grey Mare.

Karen and Zo fell in love with real cask ale on this trip. The best English cask ales are served with soft, pleasant carbonation at a cool 53 degrees F (cellar temperature).

The friendly staff of the Grey Mare serves up perfect pints of Thwaites' cask ales such as Bomber, Wainwright, Nutty Black, etc.

"Real ale" is naturally carbonated with residual yeast and sugars inside casks kept in cool cellars. The beer is pulled to the bar taps using suction from hand pumps.

We overnighted in Fleetwood and visited the Steamer Pub before walking to the 28th annual Fleetwood Beer Festival.

Our group got a wonderful write-up in Fleetwood CAMRA's Fylde Ale publication. The article talked about "an American invasion" of the beer festival.

Here's our group taking a break from beer sampling at the Fleetwood festival.

CAMRA real ale festivals offer a chance to sample a wide range of cask conditioned ales from around different regions of the UK.

Here's a brewer from a regional cask ale producer near Fleetwood.

Ed Hamrick is distraught at being asked for photo while holding an empty glass!

Russ and Spike talk about real ale with the Fleetwood locals.

Alan Doggart (left) is the director of the Fleetwood Beer Festival. Owen Ogletree (right) enjoyed bringing the group to experience this excellent, regional event.

Day five got off to a fine start with beer and lunch at the magnificent Cock Hotel pub in Telford, Wellington.

Peter Arden, owner of the award-winning Cock Hotel, shows off his tip-top cask ale cellar.

Russ orders a bottle of Orval Trappist ale in the side Belgian-themed bar of the Cock Hotel.

Peter and Elizabeth Arden show off their 200 year old deed and lease for the Cock Hotel.

Day six had the group seeing London sites and visiting the best pubs in the city. Above are Richie, Ed and Russ sampling half pints of Harveys ales at the must-see Royal Oak (44 Tabard Street, London).

Here's the Royal Oak's owner enjoying a tipple of the delicious Harveys Mild Ale. Harveys beers are brewed at their historic brewery in Lewes, East Sussex.

The London Eye provided an aerial view for the group to get their bearings for our one day in London and last day in the UK. What a memorable trip!

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