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The Iron Pier Brewery, Northfleet, opens

By Ed McConnell

Brewing is back in the borough after an absence of 86 years.

As mayor Harold Craske sent a black and white bunch of balloons skywardson Friday night jan12, Iron Pier Brewery opened its doors to scores of punters who had turned up eager to show their support and sample the first beer to be produced in Gravesham since 1932 when Russell’s closed.

Over the opening weekend 455 pints of Iron Pier’s English pale, bitter and sour, all brewed on the site, were consumed as well as 35 pints of Gadd’s porter.

WATCH: Brewery is first in eight decades

The site – which includes a tap room – is located in industrial units on May Avenue, Northfleet, an area which lost its last links to the industry a century ago.

It’s the brainchild of Charlie Venner and John Warden – from Gravesend’s first micropub The Compass Alehouse, in Manor Road – and James Hayward, formerly of Swanscombe’s Caveman Brewery.

James Hayward and Charlie Venner toast the opening
James Hayward and Charlie Venner toast the opening

Taking its name from Town Pier, the world’s oldest cast iron jetty, it includes a laboratory to ensure quality and consistency and will host taste sessions for suppliers and has the potential to produce 180 barrels (12,670 pints) a week.

There is also a cold room and refrigerated delivery trucks to maintain the optimum 12C temperatures needed to guarantee the perfect pint.

Mayor Harold Craske officially opened the brewery
Mayor Harold Craske officially opened the brewery

Speaking after the opening Mr Hayward said: “It was great, so many people turned up and the local support was incredible. While the tap room is important obviously the main thing is making and selling beer and the feed back on the night was great, especially for a very limited batch of sour ale which tastes more like sauvignon blank than beer.

“We’ve got another two batches brewing at the moment and by next week the porter will be ready to drink, while our American pale will be ready soon after. The water here is really hard which is great for brewing dark beers and that’s what a lot of the London breweries have specialised in historically.”

Iron Pier’s ales will be available at The Compass Alehouse, Town Pier Square’s The Three Daws, Swanscombe’s The George and Dragon, The Beer Shop in Nunhead and The Cellars in Maidstone.

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