Day one began back in 1982 with the purchase of The Rising Sun in Frampton Cotterell.
An addition of a traditional wooden floored skittle ally with full bar was added. This has been used for various functions including birthdays, anniversaries and even wedding parties!
The old bar in the main pub was stripped out and a new, still traditional, bar was put in. lengthening the bar by about 2 metres. This included 3 more hand pumps for real ales, which extended the range from 3 to 6. This increase in ale capacity no doubt lead to us receiving the pub of the year award in 1995
Pub of the year award given to The Rising Sun. The rising Sun has however been in the ‘Good Beer Guide’ for as long as anyone can remember and the pub goes back to before the 18th Century.
The turn of the Century was a big occasion for everyone on the planet but for The Rising Sun it was refurbishment and renovation time. The kitchen, ladies toilet and the cellar underwent massive construction. The result was a brand new conservatory with 36 covers, a new ladies toilet and a bigger more adaptable kitchen. This not only changed the appearance but allowed us to gain the status of ‘country destination pub’ that is known as today.
2000 – 2007
It was ‘Drink and Observe’ time. This was where most of the knowledge on what Ales are more popular than others. This was an essential experience in the starting of the brewery.
Great Western Brewing Company Ltd was established In April 2007
Kevin and Sandra purchased The Old Bakery in the village of Hambrook, near Bristol. The property, an historic old bake house, dates back to the 1700’s with its own resident ghost (Sydney) !! Restoration work commenced in June 2007 and the property has been transformed into a show-piece brewery with many of its original features restored.
The work began with shot blasting the entire inside of the building, stripping away old paint and rotten plaster. We replaced floors, joists and even the odd wall that had become corrupted.
2007 – September
Once we had the inner structure of the building stable we moved onto fitting the electrics, by this time the glorious English summer had ended, abruptly. When the electric board was about to connect us up when they noticed a cheeky waterfall cascading down the wall. Needless to say it was beer o'clock early that day.
2008 – January
With the prospect of brewing commencing very shortly, we needed drainage. This was to become the worst job (in my opinion) that we had to finish before any production of beer could be started. This was mainly due to the fact that the entire building was built on bed rock, not your average concrete, which presented a challenging obstacle.
The work put us back a few months and finally we were able to install our three, 10 barrel fermenting vessels.
2008 – March
Brewing started in March 2008. This by no means meant that the building work was finished.
We had the brewery at a standard were we could heat our brewing liquor, bring the copper to the boil and sterilise our casks. This was all down the the fact that we based our heating capabilities on steam. We did our research and found from multiple sources that steam was the most reliable, powerful and controllable way to heat any medium, be it treated water or wort.
The steam comes from our 12000 horse power boiler, aptly named Hercules.
After a year or so of testing out different malt and hop combinations we decided to increase our quality control capabilities. We created a dividing wall down the middle of the room that is located towards the back of the brewery. We then insulated, clad and introduced an air to air heater to the room, creating a cool or warm room (depending on what time of the year it is).
This is important because secondary fermentation occurs at anywhere above 10*C, having a room that is below 5*C can stop this from occurring leaving a flat and unconditioned beer. In contrast a very warm room with temperatures of 15*C and above can make the beer very lively creating a large pressure build up inside the cask, sometimes resulting in the odd shive blow-out. 5 gallons of beer on a floor with no drainage can be a very tedious job!
After we had the storage sorted next we had to address the ingredients. Up until this time we had been buying in pre-crushed malted barley. The problem with crushed malt is that the more it is moved before reaching us the more crushed it will become. The only way to get rid of this uncontrollable factor is to crush it ourselves. So we invested in an English made two roller Alan Ruddock malt mill.
The malt mill gave us complete control of the consistency of the grist. This is crucial if we wanted a consistent quality mash. This is obtained by cracking the malt husk open just enough so the starch inside is exposed.
Racking Machine & Cask Cleaner.
Since we started in 2007 consistent quality has been our main objective. The policy is especially important in the racking of the beer from fermenter to cask. A full, clean cask is vital for long lasting great beer. Filling the cask up to the brim removes are room for air to linger, creating a sterile environment in the cask.
We Purchased a automatic cask cleaner with 3 wash cycles. Pre-rinse, Chemical clean and Hot wash.
Next we bought a racking machine with two peristaltic pumps that meters the beer and finings to the exact filling requirement.
In 2012 we landed a Wetherspoons and Wadworth guest ale position for a few months. this bumped up our production and we needed a bigger capacity. Two new fermenters were added allowing us to be able to brew 5 times a week.