The armchair brewer

Norrie Wells and his homemade brewing system
Norrie Wells and his homemade brewing system
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WHEN Norman “Norrie” Wells saw the first pint of Broadsword being pulled at the Little Angel pub, he said it was like “a dream come true”.

Although he has been brewing his own beer for many years, a chance conversation over a pint has led to the guitarist of sixties band Nostalgia establishing his own micro-brewery which will give real ale drinkers the opportunity to sample a tipple produced in Whitby.

He has christened his brand Conquest Brewery and Broadsword is the first ale to go on sale.

Mr Wells said: “I got talking to Richard Natriss in the Plough at Sleights in the summer and he said he had a real interest in putting local brews in his pubs. I’ve always been interested in real ale and I’ve brewed my own beer for many years.”

He established the micro-brewery on Larpool Lane and then had to decide what to call his set-up.

“I wanted a name that had some historical, older connotations,” he said. “But I didn’t want to go down the Dracula route. I wanted something to link into Whitby’s history and Broadsword also suggests power.”

The 4.2 per cent beer has received good reviews since going on sale at the Little Angel and Mr Wells said that his drink gives you “a mouthful of citrus and then a strong, bitter finish.

“So it’s not like lager, it packs a bit of a punch.”

His son Ben Wells designed the pump handle and Norrie also plans to create another brew for Goth Weekend, a black beer called Black Death.

The micro-brewery was built from scratch by Mr Wells and uses a traditional method where the liquid flows through the process by gravity alone.

Each brew uses about 17 kilogrammes of malted barley and just like cooking, varying measurements of the different ingredients makes each recipe different.

Hops also add different dimensions to the brew, with Broadsword’s bitterness provided by Kent Golding hops, and the citrus flavour a result of adding Styrian Golding hops, which originate in Slovenia.

Mr Wells said that Whitby’s “soft” water is not suitable for making pale ale, so before the brewing process can begin it must be treated with gypsum, which adjusts the calcium level.

“It’s about a day’s manufacture, three days for fermentation, two days for the cooling down and then you fill the casks.

“The idea is that there’s still a residual yeast in the casks so that just before you deliver a secondary fermentation will start which creates the bubbles in the glass.”

Through this method Mr Wells can brew just a hundred litres of Broadsword per week, so a sip of Broadsword is one to be savoured.