We’ve been brewing quite a storm since our opening back in 2010 and we haven’t stopped since. Every day is a new day for us to create exciting recipes and experiment with mouth-watering hops, so in this section we will keep you updated with all of our latest micro-brewery news and events. We’ll also let you know when we do exhibitions so you can come and try our new craft beers first.
We are thrilled to announce our Green Hops Beer that was recently grown fresh from the rooftops of Horse & Jockey pub where our micro-brewery is based has been harvested and fermented to create a new autumn beer.
The beer is a single hopped pale ale and has been named Chorlton Green Hop paying homage to the way it’s been brewed. As most hops are dried before use, whereas our method has been to pick the hops, and use straight away. This unique ale uses fresh Centennial hops directly from the bine to maximise the beer’s aroma giving floral and lemony scents that derives from centennial hops, it is light in colour, refreshing and full of taste.
We had the pleasure of showcasing this new limited edition beer, at our exclusive Green Hop Tasting event at the Horse & Jockey, towards the end of September – it went down a treat! The beer received positive feedback from all who drank it – some of the most discerning beer drinkers – so we’re delighted that it got the big thumbs up!
Bootleg Brewing Co.’s Head Brewer; Stefano Occhi added “I would like to thank everyone who came to our Green Hop Tasting event, and it was great to receive such positive feedback for the beer. I have enjoyed brewing this beer as it gave me the opportunity to grow our own hops that we then used for the beer – giving the beer a soft, floral and refreshing taste like no other.”.
It may seem that we’ve been fairly quiet in the last few months which makes this the perfect time to share with you that our Head Brewer, Stef Occhi has been carefully growing our very own Centennial hops since April 2017.
For those who visited us for our Home Brew Competition back in June and Manchester Beer Week event in July will have had an exclusive look at our hops on the roof-top of the Horse & Jockey pub in Chorlton, which is where our micro-brewery is based.
The Centennial hops is an American variety. It is a historic hop, bred in the seventies and very popular among craft breweries in the US. It is one of the 3Cs (Cascade, Centennial and Columbus), the three hops that have driven the US craft beer revolution from the 80’s to modern day. It is a dual purpose variety (could be used both for bittering and aroma). Head Brewer, Stef Occhi chose this variety because it is supposed to be quite resistant to fungal diseases, this is very important with the wet weather of Manchester. The hops have a very pleasant flavour profile and one that we are very keen to try for ourselves as brewing a beer with home-grown hops will give a unique flavour; the idea is to use the hop fresh as soon as they are picked off the bine, normally hops are dried for longer storage. So this will definitely be a rare and exciting treat for beer lovers and drinkers to try.
The idea to grow our own hops was thought up by our talented and not-afraid to think outside of the box Head Brewer; Stef Occhi who has a background in agricultural sciences and used to work as a plant breeder and thus likes the grow your own approach. Hopefully, we can claim to be the only micro-brewery in Manchester and the North West where we’ve grown our own hops for brewing. Which is pretty remarkable considering the weather conditions, if you take a look at the pictures you’ll see they are growing beautifully and we cannot wait until they mature in September for harvesting.
So watch this space and join us on Facebook and Twitter where we will be posting regular updates of the hops and our brewing process – up to the point where we will serve the beer at our Green Hops Beer Launch event and have the first taste of our hard graft with all our Bootleggers!
Every brewer knows nothing tastes more satisfying than one you created yourself!… with that mind, we at Bootleg Brewing Co wanted to find a homebrewer to collaborate with for the Chorlton Beer Festival and our first partnering with Manchester Beer Week. To achieve this we ran a competition to find a second Bootleg brewer for the day. The winner would get to brew commercially with us and we would enter this beer into Chorlton and MBW. On top of this, the winning beer will also be sold in bars and pubs throughout Manchester and the North West.
We set out the brief for the homebrew competition, stipulating that we wanted an Anglo American Beer tying the two countries relations and unearthing the love for the art form of brewing beer.
We received a wide range of entries for the competition from all over Greater Manchester, and had the pleasure of some expert brewers, CAMRA officials and beer aficionados in the brewing industry to judge our homebrew competition. These were Connor Murphy – Founder of Manchester Beer Week, Mark Welsby – Co-owner and head brewer of Runaway Brewery, Ian Bearpark – Owner and head brewer of Bearpark Brewery, Jamie Ramshaw from Murphy’s and Sons, Barry Jones – Rankin Brothers and Sons , Caz O’Donnell and Beverly Gobbet representatives from CAMRA, Ben Jones – Brewer at Joseph Holt and our very own Bootleg Head Brewer, Stef Occhi.
As this was our first Homebrew competition, we wanted to hold an awards ceremony and Bootleg Party after the judging to announce the winner and celebrate our homebrew winner. Both judging and the awards ceremony took place early June at the Horse & Jockey in Chorlton. The awards party was a big success and we were delighted with the Judge’s decision to crown Craig Reay who created Brew Camp, a 4.4% fruity pale ale with a light English malt bill that’s refreshing on the tongue with hints of mango and citrus from USA hops. The 2nd place winner was Rob Thornborough with his American Pale Ale named Special Relations and 3rd place was Alex Pembroke’s Porter also called Special Relationship.
Craig Reay, Homebrew winner commented “Brewing for me usually takes place in the late evening with the family in bed, work behind me, a beer in hand and it’s peaceful. An escape from a chaotic world if you will. After a few years honing my brewing knowledge, skills and recipes I wanted to focus on competitions this year. In truth, I wasn’t expecting to win as I know many of the homebrewers across Manchester are very good brewers. Having never won a competition before I was beaming with pride when I was announced as the winner. The Bootleg Brewing Co competition highlight is going to be brewing my own recipe commercially. Seeing a beer you created served across a bar is the greatest recognition a homebrewer can achieve.”.
Second place winner, Rob Thornborough also added “Many people are attracted to home brewing by headline claims that it costs “40p per pint”, but in my case that per pint cost continues to increase as I invest better equipment and the best quality ingredients home brewers can purchase. Thankfully the Bootleg homebrew competition has helped recover some of those costs through beer prizes! A fantastically well run homebrew comp by a small brewery making delicious craft beers, thanks Stef and team!”.
The beer is currently being brewed at our micro-brewery with Head Brewer Stef Occhi and Craig Reay with plans to release the beer for June 23rd. The beer will be made available at Chorlton’s Beer Festival, Manchester Beer Week venues and some selected pubs across Greater Manchester.
Beers will be available from late June so to try this tasty homebrew creation, visit any of the pubs listed below:
Horse & Jockey – The Green, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 9HS
Roebuck – 2 Church Street, Flixton, Manchester, M41 6HD
Fiveways – Macclesfield Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport, SK7 6BE
Platform 5 – 47 Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7AA
To celebrate Easter, we’ve created a special Chocolate Porter (just for the adults) to indulge this Easter holidays.
Our Chocolate Porter is a rich and roasted 4.4% ABV beer with a balanced malty sweetness. Delicately hopped with Styrian Goldings and decadently finished with an addition of cacao to the fermenter for that chocolatey aroma taste.
You can enjoy this Easter treat at the following pubs across Manchester:
Ape & Apple – 28-30 John Dalton Street, Manchester, M2 6HQ
The Abbey – Hard Lane, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 6TL
The Bootleg Brewing Co team are brewing some beer in honour of Chorlton Beer Festival and Manchester Beer Week in June and we want to do it as a Collaboration with a Home Brewer. The beer will be brewed in time for the Festival / Manchester Beer Week at our brewery in Chorlton, Manchester at The Horse and Jockey Pub.
The winner of the Home Brew competition will brew their recipe on a commercial scale with Stef Occhi, Head Brewer for Bootleg. The winning beer will be fermented at the Brewery and then racked into Casks. This will be drunk at Chorlton Beer Festival, Manchester Beer Week and sold through selected pubs in Manchester. On top of that, we at The Bootleg Brewing Co will also bottle some of your beer for you to take home. Please name your beer with your entry and The Bootleg Brewing Co will even design a pump clip for the winner.
We at Bootleg are loving what’s happening in the Brewing World at present. That is why we want to set you a challenge. We don’t just want to set a style of beer, we want you to tell us a story and create a work of art. We are therefore looking for an Anglo American Beer. This can be English Style / American Hops or English Malt / American Rice. Anything that combines these two countries in a beer can enter the competition. (See the full home-brew-competion-entry-details)
The Home Brew competition will be judged by a panel of experienced and respected judges at a tasting in June. We will then hold an Awards Ceremony at the Horse and Jockey and throw a Bootleg worthy party for all entrants.
It brings us great pleasure to announce that we have won a bronze medal at the prestigious International Brewing Awards in March 2017, held at the National Brewery Centre in Burton upon Trent for our red ‘rye PA’ cask ale Urban Fox.
Urban Fox was awarded bronze in the highly competitive Class 1 for ale 2.9%abv to 4.4% abv small pack category facing stiff competition from all over the world.
Our Head brewer Stefano Occhi commented “we are thrilled and honoured to receive the bronze medal for Urban Fox and hope this is the first of many more awards to come. We have worked hard to create a portfolio of craft ales that really show what a small craft brewer can achieve. To receive such a prestigious international award is a real feather in our cap, especially given the IBA’s are known as ‘the Oscars of the brewing industry”.
Bootleg Brewing Co started brewing in 2010, housed in the Horse & Jockey pub and is currently the only brewery in Chorlton. The micro-brewery was converted from the shell of the tower where the old disused brewery once stood and still remains there to this day.
Since our humble beginnings, we have expanded our range of craft beers to include other local classics such as Chorlton Pale Ale, Fools Gold, Cheeky Monkey and the soon to be released Snifter, a chocolate porter in time for Easter. The brewery currently has a permanent range of five cask ales and further six seasonal ales.
As well as our range of successful cask ales, we also have a formidable range of craft keg products including two craft lagers Spin Doctor and Vinyl Tap. A recent addition to the range is Bootleg American IPA., a big IPA with big new world flavours that’s generating a cult following in the bars of Manchester and beyond.
We got a bit crafty recently and created a delectable stout beer called Oatmeal Stout at 4.4%, brewed to celebrate St Patricks Day. The beer is full bodied with toast and coffee notes aroma. It pours a dark colour and a rich creamy head; definitely a treat worth raising your glass to on St Patrick’s Day! (Limited Edition – Only for St Patrick’s Day)
To try our Oatmeal Stout, visit any of the pubs below for a brilliant St Patrick’s Day!
From the recent departure of Erin Guy, we say a big hello and friendly welcome to our New Head Brewer, Stefano Occhi hailing all the way from Milan, Italy.
Stefano Occhi or as he simply prefers; Stef has been working alongside Joseph Holt Head Brewer Phil Parkinson as well as providing training support to The Gas Works Brew Bar in Manchester for their own micro-brewery set-up.
In September 2016, Stef graduated from the University of Nottingham with a Masters in Brewing Science after a five years’ experience as project manager in the agribusiness sector. After six years of home-brewing in Milan, it was then that he realised his passion for great beer and thus pursued it with an accredited qualification. As part of his dissertation project at the University, Stef also founded the zerogravity brewing project with two fellow classmates Will Gelder and Will Brennand. The project’s goal was to enable the three students to develop their learnt theory and apply into practice with the prestige of working with Castle Rock Brewery. The process was very strict and only three places were available after extensive interviews to find the best candidates for the project. The collaboration with Nottingham’s long established Brewery had close links with the University, which was formed through Professor David Quain who understood the need and balance for practical hands-on experience in order for any ambitious Brewer to fulfil the demands of any modern brewery today.
Stefano Occhi, Bootleg Brewing Co.’s Head Brewer adds “Moving to the brewing sector was a big life change for me but it was the realisation of a dream. I view brewing as both science and art, to produce great beer you need to be methodical as a scientist and creative as a chef.”.
In which case, we certainly believe it has paid off for our New Head Brewer, as we’re truly fortunate to have Stefano join us at Bootleg Brewing Co. Stef has recently taken on brewing our festive beer, Mistletoe at the microbrewery ensuring our customers in Manchester get some Christmas cheer. Much to his growing experience, Stef also enjoys promoting new styles and flavours whilst focusing on quality first which is a must in our books. Matched with his heritage in Italy, we cannot wait for some Italian inspired craft beers as we all know the Italians are fast becoming world renowned for their craft beers so it will be interesting to see what our new Italian Craft Brewer will create next!
In the meantime, try our seasonal beer Mistletoe – the only kiss you need this festive holidays!
Last Wednesday, the Bootleg team took over the top floor lounge of Apotheca, one of Manchester’s contemporary chic bar in the Northern Quarter.
This event was a follow up to the successful launch of Spin Doctor at The Northern restaurant & Bar show earlier in the year where Bootleg debuted a new indie lager aptly named Spin Doctor which received rave reviews from trade and customers alike.
Trade customers who expressed an interest at the show were sent a VIP invitation to come and sample more Bootleg products together with existing Bootleg trade customers to celebrate our handcrafted beers in a relaxed environment.
We also took advantage of this event to launch Vinyl Tap, our latest Indie Lager, a 4.1% Craft Lager from the same stable as Spin Doctor but with a straw blonde colour, clean, crisp and bursting with American and Australian aroma hops that will have you raising the roof and wanting more.
To complement our evening of craft lagers, we were brought to the centre stage as DJ Panda a local DJ specialising in Northern Soul skilfully set the tone, producing the appropriate vibe for the whole event ensuring the crowd was entertained throughout the evening.
A huge thanks must go to the Apotheca team who helped throughout the day and help bootleg our products to the people of Manchester.
We will follow this event up with more intimate tasting sessions later in the year – needless to say, we will have more to present to the trade and Bootleg fans as the year unfolds. Until then, keep drinking Bootleg beers and stay tuned for more…