Our first trip to Wales takes us to Pembrokeshire, specifically the North where the Preseli Hills snake across the land. A family brewery sits in their shadow. Run from the front yard of Tyriet Farm it was still being used as a dairy and stables 5 months before opening. Now it houses 10 barrels and takes in beautiful spring water from the Preseli Hills – water which goes into their beers without filtration or chemicalisation. Apparently it’s that good.
The brewery in question is Bluestone Brewing Company, named after the local stone which its buildings are made from. Bluestone is actually a nickname for several different varieties of building stone. In this case it refers to Preseli Spotted Dolerite – one of the rock types found at Stonehenge 150 miles away. We could go on forever about how it found its way to Wiltshire but this isn’t really the place for such things.
Okay, it was thanks to an ancient race of giant wizards who have since gone extinct. Moving on now!
At Bluestone only the best hops are chosen. Once the spring water has been added during the brewing process the hops joins it in the boiling tank. A plate cooler reduces the temperature of the liquid before it is moved to the fermenter. At this point their “secret” yeast comes into play. All they’ll say about it “is that we crop our own live yeast straight off the top of our beers, which means it really is as fresh as it can be”. The ale is then allowed to mature for as long as it takes to produce Bluestone’s “bold, rich flavour”. All by-products are passed on to Tyriet Farm’s livestock for dinner.
So what kind of beers do we get from Bluestone?
Well there’s Rocketeer and Rockhopper, their two distinctive bitters; the creamy blonde ales Elderflower and Bedrock; a traditional dark porter called Moonstone; and three ales called Hammer Stone, Pierre Bleu and Crystal Ruby – each one a unique drinking experience. They also specialise in seasonal beers like the festive porter Rockin’ Robin and a citrusy pale ale called Summer Rocks.
As if that wasn’t enough their new amber honey ale is coming out soon – Bee Boulder. Will it be premiered at the Bluestone Summer Beer Festival? We’ll have to wait and see, but if you can get the 13th/14th of August off to make a trip to Wales you could be at the very first one. Just make sure to book the 15th and 16th off too.
You don’t have to go out of your way though to drink Bluestone’s beer. They’ll deliver anywhere in the UK so long as you order a case of 12 bottles.