Behind the scenes at Bedlam Bewery

by - April 24, 2016

Nestled away in the heart of the stunning Sussex countryside is Bedlam Brewery - a fully self-sufficient operation resulting in delicious sessionable craft beers. Head brewers, chocolate malt and drunken cows...

Only joking about the drunk cows - or am I?**


Bedlam Brewery is in the grounds of Albourne Estate, a vineyard composed of 48,000 champagne vines, producing Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay close to Hurstpierpoint here in Sussex. 

Bedlam Brewery
The first of the buds are now coming through  ('bud burst') and this is a really tense time for grape growers as it's during these spring months that frost is a proper threat. They're vulnerable. If frost was to get them, the entire 48,000 vines would be f***ed. Imagine that?! Devastating...

Dominic told me that if that cold weather was to hit, in order to keep them warm, they'd light little candles and place them next to all the buds - how cute! I hope they get read a story too, before light's out. All of them. 

The stunning backdrop of the location reminds us how lucky we are to live in Brighton - the sea, city and spectacular countryside all around us to enjoy. This part of Sussex is still mostly unexplored by me (bus life) so it was a real treat to be able to be transported into the thick of it. You can see Jack and Jill* as well as Devil's Dyke behind the vines and growing in such a gorgeous location no doubt impacts on the taste of the wine made here; the sheep certainly look like models.

*for those of you not local to Sussex, Jack and Jill is the name of a hill around here, don't expect to actually see the characters from that nursery rhyme, although they might show up if you drink enough beer...
Bedlam Brewery
How YOU doin'?

THE GOOD LIFE: Self-Sufficiency

This is achieved by the use of solar panels on their south facing roof. Most people growing hops are not self-sufficient so this makes Bedlam stand out. 
I LOVE the idea of being 100% self-sufficient. How cool would that be? Immensely satisfying I reckon.

Also notice how the bottles are printed, not labelled. This saves paper. It costs more for the brewery to manufacture but it's greener for everyone. Cool huh? 

So How Do You Make Beer Then?

Everyone loves beer, yeah? Is it still a mystery to you how it's made? We got shown a little insight into the basics of brewing, by head brewer (cool title) Fabio who's from Germany...

I did listen and I did take notes! However I still don't get all the technicalities and never will - that's what makes it magical and expertly produced and refined but it's something like this. Cue Bedlam laughing out loud as they read my interpretation of Fabio's expertise...

This is the actual transcription of my notes so take from what you will and definitely don't try to create it at home! I wasn't even drunk at this point! 

"Boil 70 mins...Beginning to boil add hops and at the end as well, like garlic....aromatic beer = hops at the beginning, bitter = hops at the end... enzymes convert starch to sugar...then add yeast to make the CO2 and booze...3/4 days ferment or 5/6 for stronger"

So there you have it! Now you can make beer! LOL 


The garlic reference is in relation to the taste - Fabio described it like putting garlic in the pan at the start of the dish and frying it off V adding it towards the end for a different result. I get you, Fabs. 
Bedlam Brewery Bedlam Brewery

Q & A with Bedlam Beer

To Dominic (owner)
Me: I love Belgian beer, what do you have, if anything that is similar?
BB Dominic: Simple answer, nothing. Our beers are designed to be sessionable - which means you can drink them without ending up on the floor and without too much taste being left on your palette like some of the stronger beers. Our beers are all around 4.2% - the Pilsner is the most popular. Try the golden ale and the pale ale and let me know what you think. 
Me: Thanks, I will! Yes, it normally only takes a couple of Belgian beers for me to be close to the floor. Ah yes, the pilsner is really fresh tasting and leaves such a subtle taste in your mouth, I could definitely drink lots of this. Have you ever owned a pub?
BB Dominic: Yes, many and I currently own the Bull in Ditchling.
Me: Ah ok, I'm yet to visit there. So you must be in your element doing this then?
BB Dominic: Yes, it's great - the adrenaline and excitement from all of it is fantastic - at the moment there's so much momentum I'm starting the day at 8am and not finishing until 11pm! We had Jamie Oliver's 15 in earlier, showing them a real working brewery and self sufficiency was really astonishing for them as most of them had never experienced it first hand and had only dreamed of using such ingredients! 
Come outside and have some food!


To Fabio (head brewer)
Me: What part of Germany are you from? 
Fabio: Hamburg in the North
Me: Cool. I love German (weiss) beer. I've been to Munich and Berlin.
Fabio: Ahh yes, Munich has the best beer. Did you go for Octoberfest? 
Me: I was actually in Berlin for the end of Oktoberfest in 2014 and did the whole touristy thing drinking Steins in Alexanderplatz looking at the people wearing drindls. 
Fabio: Well the beer originally brewed for Oktoberfest is a type of beer called Marzen, which is darker and stronger than traditional beer, as the last brew - made in March and aged through the summer until Oktoberfest 
Me: How strong?
Fabio: 5-6%
Me: And they serve it to ENGLISH people in Steines!!!! 

The beef we ate on the BBQ was locally sourced from Trenchmore Farm and at the end of the evening we were treated to a little intro from them about what they're all about. Trenchmore do apples and beef and do them well. They simply rear grass-fed cows in a slower process, resulting in a better product and sell half-cows to local chefs and restaurants. They're currently raising their first Kobe (wagyu) calf which they artificially inseminated using eggs flown over from the states! This type of beef is delicious and huge in the paleo world as it's fatty and very tender. 

Joanne was telling me that they feed their cattle nutrition shots (like wheatgrass shots for humans) made from malted barley which is more palatable for the cows than the dry grains that the large beef industries use as a cheap way to fatten up their cows. Trenchmore also feed their cows apple pomace as they grow apples and brew their own cider, which is called SILLY MOO and is available in The Salt Room, Lucky Beach and The Bull in Brighton and is sparkling and fruity.

Thanks to Bedlam Brewery and Switch On Comms for the invite and Trenchmore for the wonderful food. I will be looking out for the Pilsner as that was my favourite and heading up to the Bull soon in Ditchling as they have it on tap! 

What an education! Please comment if you have any questions about any of this or hit me up on social media using the links below and above!

**All the spent grain and hops is fed to local cows around the area, all the sugar left on the grains makes them a little exciteable or silly, hence the term 'silly moo' haha

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