Hello! Good evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and welcome to Superstars of Brewing! Rodney Dangermouse here with you once again, with – as ever – Mikey ‘Spargearm’ McSaison alongside me. Tonight, we’ve got another fascinating heat to look forward to, as brewers from different parts of the UK gather together to undertake the ten toughest events in beer-making, and compete for the coveted ‘Golden Shovel’. Without further ado, it’s time for the opening round – the grain carry. Mikey?
Thanks Rod, this is a fearsome introduction to this evening’s beery decathlon, as our competitors will have two minutes to carry as many bags of Blimpman’s malt from the designated pallet stack up to the hopper as they can. We’ve already seen one notable casualty come to grief on the pre-slicked metal stairs – Jason Splartz of Yankee Doodle Brewing Company, who quite literally went to town…in an ambulance.
It is a very tricky challenge Mikey, those twenty kilo sacks of Chocolate Malt don’t take any prisoners. I’m just going to cut in there, and bring you news of one of the pre-event favourites. Manny Silage from Silage Ales – Devon’s foremost farmhouse brewery – unexpectedly finished last in his favoured event – the grist toss. Word reached us a few moments ago that he punted only fourteen dripping sacks of spent grain into the boot of the BBC Land Rover; way off the pace. That’s a real surprise.
It certainly is, Rod – just to put that in perspective, Manny’s PB is thirty-six sacks into the back of a Mini Clubman.
Indeed it is. I’m concentrating now on the AB-InBev Arena, Mikey, where the Presentation Events occur. As we know, brewing isn’t just about the physical side; modern practitioners need to finesse their audience at the same time. We can now show you Darren Sprat – head brewer at Little Fishes Brewery – who is a master in the Bar Balance. Just look at him there, practically on one leg, extolling the virtues of locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal Kentish hops.
He must be a metre above the crowd there, Rod.
It’s hugely impressive, isn’t it. Look – I can see a ripple of mirth through the audience, which must be one of Sprat’s well-known self-deprecating put-downs. He’ll get great points for that. I’ve also heard specific mention of an order for more fermenter’s, which will also score highly, judging by the amount of raised eyebrows and scribbled notes in beer jotters. But can Darren master the dismount? There are half-empty glasses all along the bar, the Duty Manager – the Italian judge – has set a tough test here.
Oh! I say! Sprat’s gone over!
Nasty, Rod. Nasty. A Sprat Splat. I think that’s bound to distract the competitors in the Collaboration Pit, as they attempt to connect with each-other to invent the most geek-baitingly obscure concoctions imaginable. They’ll hear the howls of the crowd from there, for sure. Thankfully, our modern British brewers are among the most inventive in the world, so they’ll be fully capable of dreaming up unusual styles, wacky ingredients, and then joining forces with another brewery, with the requisite tank-space, all without breaking the budget.
Absolutely, Mikey. I can also see my personal favourite event just starting to begin – the Mash Tun empty, sponsored by Chiquita Bananas. Harold ‘The Hammer’ Hofbangle of the German concern ‘Der böse Leber’ looks to set a tournament record, rollocking through the ten barrel brew of spent malt in under five minutes – aiming to achieve the ultimate Mash Monkey honour – the ‘four minute pile’. We’ll find out later if he can do it, as his spade will surely be glowing white-hot. He already leads the competition, of course, following the hop-breaking challenge – ripping through the oily bricks of Citra with scarcely a pause. Hugely impressive.
Before we go Rod, I think there’s just time to bring you news of the latest upstart on the block – Angus Joule of ReefShark. He flew through the Duty Calculation event with what I can only describe as moneyed flamboyance, and scored a perfect twenty on the Email Rejection round. Those Ukrainian collectors, PR-firms and beer reviewing freeloaders never knew what hit them. Angus – who has brought a shark in tank, on a lead – is currently in deep levels of concentration prior to the hand-bottling round – quick-repeating his personal mantra, ‘Craft on Draft, Craft on Draft’. He could be on to a great score today. Here he goes, stepping up to the capper handle. Oh My! He’s pulled out a can! What is going on!
*High pitched whining*
This post was inspired by the much-missed Superstars of Sport, and the following tweet, posted by the Summer Wine brewery on behalf of their mashtun behemoth Ade – clearly, a fast man with a shovel.
— Summer Wine Brewery (@SWBrewery) July 23, 2013
What other events would be in the Superstars of Brewing….?