Imperial beer festival – part 2

By: JimOldfield

December 3rd, 2011

Malty Towers’ a hidden highlight

Smuggled in, and poured out covertly to just a strict few, Dale Palmer and Alan Bainbridges’ single brown bottle of home-brew caused tongues to wag in more ways than one at the Imperial Club and Brewery’s New Breweries Festival.

The sneaky gatecrasher – a rich, creamy liquorice and fruit stout akin to liquid treacle – was gulped down by a lucky gaggle, and, along with its creators, was soon the talk of room.

Hand-Pumped managed at least three slurps of the delicious beer, and grabbed a word with the delighted pair who concocted their “Winter Warmer”… on a stove in a house dubbed “Malty Towers”!

Watching gleefully as the ale-fans swiftly emptied their sole sample, Dale and Alan revealed the secrets of their 10th – and most successful – attempt at home-brew.

Brewing on his kitchen stove on-and-off for a decade, 29-year-old paint salesman Dale is the mastermind behind the Malty Towers nano-brewery in Thurnscoe and he is rather pleased with his latest efforts.

“Did you notice the dried fruit finish? We put them in the end to bring them out strongly in the flavour”, he said.

Dale was originally hooked on brewing after a tour of the Theakston Brewery but has also taken inspiration from a former work acquaintance who left to successfully start his own brewery, and latterly from watching Imperial head brewer Gary Sherrif in action.

Said Dale: “I thought, if they can do it, then so can I”. Now he and his neighbour Alan – whom he recently helped convert to real-ale devotion – regularly sample ale ingredients in their raw state, to try and determine the best constituents for their next brew.

Said Alan: “We chew different malts etc, but it is a big question of trial and error. Although we’re not quite like Jilly Goolden from the wine programme, talking about all the different flavours in every sip.

“This is probably our best yet, but our raspberry stout was delicious too.

“We just wanted this to be a nice beer to enjoy over Christmas. We didn’t think it would be quite this popular.”

But, although Dale jokes that taking over Scottish and Newcastle is part of his brewery plan, he says there are no plans to give up the day job just yet.

Which, to Hand-Pumped, is a real shame, as Winter Warmer from the Malty Towers home-brewery, could be a very worthy winner at any future festival.