Brass Castle Brewery


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a homebrewer dreaming of progressing my hobby in the hope that one day I’ll be successfull in selling my beer.  With the brewing industry going from strength to strength and scores of new breweries opening in the last few years, I happened across one start-up brewery who is living this dream.  Brass Castle is a real ale nanobrewery in Pocklington, East Yorkshire.  I hail from a small town in East Yorkshire and moved to Bradford 25 years ago, but I still have a strong connection with the region which makes Brass Castle that bit more of an interest to me.  I’m also very interested in the use of social media to promote brewing and was in touch with Brass Castle when I researched one of my previous blog posts (You are Mutually Oblivious & subsequently You are Mutually Oblivious 2), which shows their Twitter Following rapidly increase as they engaged with the brewing community.  This appears to me to be a subject being taken more seriously by brewers entering a very competitive market, and one where you may see more breweries following Camden Town Brewery‘s example in their recent appointment of Mark Dredge as their social media guru.

The Brass Castle Nanobrewery

Phil Saltonstall is the owner, brewer and general brew-monkey of the Brass Castle Brewery.  There is definitely a romantic image of owning your own brewery, but I happen to know that it doesn’t all smell of hops!  Plenty goes on behind the pint glass and and it’s hard graft.  Phil is just one example of an amateur homebrewer who, over a period of years, has taken the plunge and turned professional.  Through homebrewing and through his time working at the Triumph Brewing Company in Princeton, New Jersey, Phil has honed his skills and his confidence and is putting his money where his mouth is.  What strikes me though as that you can make this transition from any walk of life and in some cases it is possible to balance brewing with a busy life.  Before concentrating on his beer-calling, Phil was a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter pilot for 9 years and is now a full-time coastguard, but following a Brewlab course at the University of Sunderland and I imagine countless hours he has successfully built his brewery, tested his recipes and sold his beer! Bravo sir!

Phil Mashing In

To paraphrase some of the comments Phil has made in response to his beer going public, he has been both delighted and encouraged with the early interest he’s received from local pubs and festivals, so much so that he brought forward the launch date of his debut beer.  The original plan was to launch at Pocktoberfest, (@Pocktoberfest if you want to follow their updates), the Pocklington based Music & Beer Festival 2011.  However, given the opportunity to get involved in nearby York, Brass Castle’s Cliffhanger debuted at The Swan and The Slip Inn’s beer festival between 2nd and 4th September.  Seemingly things went well for their first commercial outing and an empty cask along with positive feedback says it all.

Next up is the York Beer and Cider Festival on Knavesmire 15th-17th September where punters will have the pleasure of trying Brass Castle’s second brew, Bad Kitty, a 5.5% abv vanilla porter, along with Cliffhanger 3.8% abv and described as a refreshing hop-laden golden ale, infused with a wave of citrus notes (brewed in honour of Coastguard Rescue Teams, and a proportion of the takings at The Swan and Slip Inn were donated to the Coastguard Association).

Following on from York’s Festival it’s on to the local Pocktoberfest ,29th-30th October, where there will be a chance to try the third addition to Phil’s range, a 4.5% abv Best Bitter.  All’s left to say is keep up the good work Phil (and Harriet) and I look forward to trying your beers the next time I make a trip back to visit family… although I may call ahead and reserve some to make sure I don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading.

If you want to read more about Brass Castle Brewery you can do so at Andy Mogg’s Beer Reviews site in his regular spot; ‘Meet the Brewer‘, in the York Press ‘New Brewery on a Real Cliffhanger‘.  Also, keep an eye on the development of Phil’s website too and don’t forget to Follow @BrassCastleBeer on Twitter to get an insight into a brewers crazy world.  N.B Brass Castle’s beers are also suitable for Vegans.