This week I have been on work experience with the Allendale brewery in Northumberland, a little country 10 barrel plant on the outskirts of Allendale the village. Here I was greeted by the head brewer Tom Hick, who I have known from phone conversations dating back to November that concerned both my beer reviews for the local paper and job hunting. In person, Tom seemed like one of the friendliest head brewers ever and the actual brewing being himself showed me round the brewery and signed his autograph in my beer diary before we got onto some proper work.
Over the three days of work experience I was given some of the greatest hardcore brewery tasks imaginable, including cask filling, manual bottling and o-yes, digging out the spent grains from the mash tun. However the greatest honour of them all was being given the chance to add both bittering and aroma hops to the pending Curlews return brew. All in all a great experience making some lovely beers, most of them I have reviewed ether recently or along time back. In fact I showed Tom my reviews and he was very impressed, so much so that he says he will be using them for his web reviews when he gets a chance, check it out on www.allendalebrewery.com. Overall I have found the Allendale beers noble in character, with an edge of creativity but true to the roots of British brewing.