While researching previous posts about Dickens Brewery (here and here) one thing didn’t add up; although billed as Dickens by way of a modified Old Curiosity pumpclip, the name of one of the ales posted on Facebook – “Bad Habit” – didn’t fit their literary theme. Mr Fueled by Beer doesn’t like loose ends, he had to do a little more digging…
Long story short: it turns out the Dickens Brewery at Great Expectations is not a one-off but in fact a second microbrewery venture for Relaxinnz, the Chapman Group brand to which Great Expectations belongs. They installed their first 2.5 BBL Brewmaster kit at the Alehouse & Kitchen in Worthing, West Sussex. Then they installed exactly the same kit at Great Expectations here in Reading.
Brewing is being handled at both sites by one brewer who travels back and forth between Reading and Worthing one day each week. With only one fermenter at each site even a once-weekly brew-run is presumably too much – hence the shortage of house ales I alluded to in my previous post.
Anyway, as it turns out Bad Habit was brewed in Worthing, not Reading, and shipped over to fill the gap. One quick look at the Alehouse & Kitchen, which is located in a former church, and it’s easy to see where Bad Habit fits in to Worthing’s ecclesiastical theme: alongside “Cheeky Chaplain” and “Gargoyle”. And, like the lineup here in Reading, they are a Golden Ale, a Bitter, and a Porter, although from different recipes.
In addition to learning about the Worthing site I understand a third microbrewery is currently in the works in Gloucester where Chapman Group has three properties. I don’t which one will get the brewery nor do I know if the Reading/Worthing brewer will be handling Gloucester too. Apparently the strategy is to produce a line of ales with which to supply Relaxinnz properties at a lower price point than the cask ales being supplied by Molson-Coors. I hope these ventures are being developed for artisinal as well as economic reasons; I guess time will tell. One way or other the proof will be in the glass.