This month’s Beers of the Month features an incredible selection of great brews but, even so, there’s a standout amongst the bunch. A very special celebration beer from Manchester’s First Chop Brewing Arm, founder Rik Garner tells us just what’s inside Gyle 717…
First things first, what actually is a gyle?
A Gyle is a batch of wort – so Gyle 717 was the 717th batch of beer we brewed.
Why did you decide to commemorate Gyle 717 in particular?
January 2019 saw us upgrade our brewhouse. We installed a brand new 2500-litre, 4-vessel, steam-heated brewhouse. A long, long way from the original 1300-litre electric element heated kit we started out with in 2013.
That original brewhouse was stretched to 1750 litres in 2017, as part of the renovation after our fire, and served us well up until December 2018. Gyle 717 was the last ever brew produced in those vessels. I also calculated that Gyle 717 also contained within it somewhere, our 1 millionth pint; we had to do something special to celebrate that!
Why did you opt for a barley wine to mark the occasion?
We wanted to make a stronger beer because it was not something we had done before. We also wanted to barrel age some of it. We threw around some ideas and finally settled on barley wine. Something to showcase the fantastic ingredients we used. Traditionally floor malted barley from Warminster and British Leaf hops from Charles Faram.
What can you tell us about the recipe?
It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, relying on the quality of the ingredients. The very best English malt and hops. It’s at the weaker end of the scale for a barley wine. Our mash tun would not hold the malt to make anything bigger!
Why the addition of Blackcurrants?
Purely because I thought they would taste great with a barley wine and I had never seen them used in one before.
Can we expect any other gyle-specific releases in the future?
I don’t know when exactly – but yes I think it will become a tradition to mark milestones within the brewery with a special gyle. We’re fast approaching Gyle 1000 – so watch this space!