Published: 06:48, 25 November 2019
| Updated: 08:00, 25 November 2019
Poetry nights, a restaurant where diners listen to retro LPs and beer fermented with Champagne yeast - they’re just some of the ingredients that have added up to a successful recipe for Curious Brewery’s first six months in Ashford.
Not only did this year see the opening of its state-of-the art, multi-million pound eye-catching ‘cathedral of brewing’ in the town but it has reached its 200th brew on site so far, as well as launching a series of new brews.
The latest, launched on tap last week, is its London-style Curious Porter (5.2% ABV), which will be available in bottles from this week at the brewery, Chapel Down Winery, the Gin Works in Kings Cross and at its Bluewater pop-up.
Porter is a dark beer, with a coffee and chocolate aroma. It’s definitely in vogue and the small but perfectly formed team have their finger on the pulse. Downstairs there is a retail shop, and the brewery also runs tours, which have proved popular.
Upstairs at the brewery, there is a restaurant, complete with a series of vintage albums, such as Springsteen’s Born to Run, which is regularly booked up on Friday and Saturday nights.
Head brewer Matt Anderson said: “Commuters get off the train and come here on a Friday night, and the albums are popular - people like to stay to hear the whole thing. We also get a lot of footfall from the outlet.”
“It’s great for me when I’m working late too - you don’t feel you’re on your own.”
There has definitely been some late nights for the 11-strong team, plus kitchen and retail staff at the site, owned by Tenterden-based winemakers Chapel Down.
Brewing is currently at four days a week, but that’s 12 hours a day, adding up to 20-25,000 hectolitres a year.
“If we went 24/7 it would be 80,000 hectolitres a year,” says Matt , adding: “The team would have to expand for that. It’s a small team, but a good one,” he says.” Everyone has to be passionate about beer. We need to be the most exciting drinks company. Twelve months ago this site was just rubble. We have gone from that to doing our 200th brew in just under 12 months. There’ve been a lot of late nights and sleepless ones, but it has also been good fun.”
About 70% of what is made at the brewery is Curious Brew, carefully nurtured and tested throughout the process.
“Our focus is the Curious Brew, getting the taste and the consistency right,” says Matt.
To book a tour, or visit the shop, the brewery is at Unit 1, Victoria Rd, Ashford, TN23 7HQ, or go to curiousbrewery.com/brewery
More by this authorAngela Cole