West Coast Rock Brewery

Whilst the craft beer boom has matured in some major Northern towns and cities, it has been a little slower on the up take in others. On a recent trip to Blackpool, I visited West Coast Rock Brewery. Here, they are developing their craft, and bringing Blackpool drinkers along with them on the journey.

Jolly CAMRA Outing

As a reward for their hard work, Leeds CAMRA often put on a special event for those who volunteer at their festival. For the 2018 festival, a trip to Blackpool and Fleetwood was arranged.

Included as part of the trip, was a visit to West Coast Rock Brewery in Blackpool. At just 6 months old, it is one of the youngest breweries in the North West.

After a two-hour journey, we finally stepped off the hot coach and into the 1887 Brew Room; the tap room for West Coast Rock.

The 1887 Brew Room

This was a large bar, with plenty of seating and tables. On the bar, a range of around 20 draught beers (keg and cask).

Despite it only being open a short time that day, the place was already very busy, showing how popular a venue it is.

The Brew House

After ordering the first pint, it was time to go look around the brew house. Our tour guide was Andy, the Head Brewer.

Andy started off with some history. The 1887 Brew Room has previously been a pub for many years, formerly trading as the Blue Room. Indeed, Andy’s experience has been as General Manager here. The site remained derelict for a while, before being bought last year and transformed into the new brewery and the 1887 Brew Room tap room.

Although they originally planned for a 2.5 BBL brew kit (approximately 400 litres, 720 pints), after seeing the space they had available, they opted for a 6 BBL kit (approximately 980 litres, 1728 pints) instead. A decent investment to kick off the brewing, and they still have room to expand if they wish to.

Andy proudly showing his mash tun cleaning device

Andy himself is fairly new to the brewing process. Having spent a while as GM at the pub, he then went to another local brewery for four months to learn how to brew.

The first brews at West Coast Rock came at the end of January this year.

Sharing a bit about their brewing process, Andy told us that he and his assistant Olly are responsible for the recipes. Local tap water is used, and a brew day can take 8-9 hours. They use dry yeast to ferment their beers and fermentation then takes around 6 days to complete. Andy added he hoped one day they’d be using their own yeast strain.

After an interesting and informative tour, it was time to carry on sampling the beers!

Blackpool Themed Beers

All the beers produced by West Coast Rock are available in the 1887 Brew Room. And, although predominantly cask beers, they do have a conditioning tank in the bar for a lager-style beer.

When I was there, there were five West Coast Rock cask beers to choose from, along with the lager.

The keg range

First up, ‘Spirit of 77’ their summer ale, at 4.4% ABV. The beer gave off a citrus aroma, with quite a bitter taste.

I followed this up with ‘God Save the Queen’ a session red ale at 3.5% ABV. The pump clip featured a rather unusual image of Donald Trump wearing a crown!

Finally, I tried the ‘Oyston Stout’ at 5.7% ABV. This particular version was a blueberry special, and the sweetness of the fruit came through on aroma and taste.

The other two were the 3.5% ABV ‘Hoppy Day in Cambodia’ and the 5.5% ‘Tangerine Dream’. To get the flavours in the latter, the brewery add marmalade right at the end of the kettle boil. They also used Simcoe hops to compliment the flavours.

I didn’t try the lager, however this is brewed in the brew house and transferred to one of two 300 litre conditioning tanks behind the bar. In these tanks, the beer is chilled, with carbon dioxide added to create the fizz. It’s then piped through to the bar. The beer doesn’t have to travel far!

The tank beer

In addition to the West Coast Beers, they also showcase a number of guest breweries, both on draught and in bottles and cans. Whilst there, I noticed among the breweries available were Thornbridge and Weird Beard.

Beer Buddies

To encourage people to try craft beers, West Coast Rock have created a ‘Beer Buddy’ scheme.

Beer Buddy Scheme

For a one-off £10 payment, members of the scheme get a percentage discount on draught products. Also, they are invited to exclusive free tasting sessions and once a month Meet the Brewer night’s, with guest breweries. There are occasional trips to other breweries and members get to vote on which beers the Brew Room sells too.

I thought this was a great idea, and Andy shared with me that they have around 150 members now signed up.

I really enjoyed my trip to West Coast Rock Brewery. It was great to see the setup and I expect the brewery will do very well locally, particularly as more experience is gained.

If you’d like to try West Coast Rock beers, you’ll be able to sample them at the 1887 Brew Room and sister venue Pump & Truncheon. You can also follow their activities on Facebook.

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