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At the end of March our team headed down to visit our amazing friends at Gipsy Hill, to brew our first ever collaboration beer.

We wanted to create a beer that everybody could enjoy, from craft beer geeks to those customers who are just starting to explore craft beer. As such we agreed to go for what's probably the style of 2018 - the New England IPA (or NEIPA). While we originally chose to go for a slightly lighter strength at 4.5%, we ended up deciding to give it a bit more punch, ending up with a 5.4% Session IPA (if we can still call that sessionable!).

Our day started for some of us nice and early at 7am. Only JT from Gipsy Hill and David and Mark from EeBria made it for the first stages of setting up the brew, but 6 more of the EeBria team would arrive over the next couple of hours (after all the heavy lifting was done!). Once kitted out Mark and David were put to work on the mash, with a huge number of bags of speciality malts going into the mix. As you might expect in a NEIPA, Maris Otter, Oat and Torrified Wheat do most of the work, but with additions of small amounts of Munich, Caragold, Dextrin and JT's favourite, the amazing Cara Ruby.

After a lot of heavy lifting (far more than a tonne of grain was poured into the mash tun) the mash and then sparge started. It was decided we'd mash at a slightly higher than normal temperature, to ensure we kept a few more residual sugars to add a touch more sweetness to the beer.

This was followed by a round of bacon sandwiches provided by an accidentally oversleeping Rachael, whilst the wort was transferred to the kettle. We then set about making Will clean out all the malt from the mash tun (accidentally forgetting to tell him that they had an automated way of cleaning most of it!).

The hop additions were added by the team, with a small amount of Magnum for bittering at the start, before much larger additions of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook (all smelling divine) right at the end. Finally we also added a good amount of lactose to give that slightly sweeter and milkshake-like NEIPA flavour.

Next was to transfer to the fermenter and the addition of a very large amount of New England Lallemand yeast. This was done with a Scream Pitch - a Norwegian brewing tradition that ensures the beer is strong and the people that drink it are cheerful. It's literally screaming at the yeast as it's introduced!

Then the most important part of the process was tackled, hitting the Gipsy Hill Taproom, and of course letting the yeast do it's thing.

The beer was then kegged and canned right at the end of April and should very shortly be in all good beer bars and shops!

We'd like to thank JT, Charlie, Sam and the rest of the team at Gipsy Hill for an amazing day out and for helping us make a beer we love, and hope you will too!

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