St Andrews now has its own Brewery!

Yes it is true! Tucked away in a garage a stones throw from the park is the Ashley Down Brewery where Vince Crocker brews 1000 pints every two weeks. He supplies the Prince of Wales at the bottom of Gloucester Road if you fancy a taste. 

Vince has always been a keen home brewer. Seven years ago he and friends were at a local beer festival when he became convinced he could match the ales on offer.  He persuaded his drinking mates to chip in a small amount of cash and set to work making enough beer for all to share. The enterprise was very successful and so he proposed to his friends that they go commercial. They laughed and said he was crazy and no they would not put up the capital so Vince went it alone. At first up scaling was challenging but he learnt new techniques and finally was able to brew in quantity as well as quality.

Vince has no formal training in brewing. He trained a draughtsman but was never very happy in the work so took off and travelled the world. He worked grape picking, crewing on boats in the USA and bar work. When he finally returned to the UK he found work in highway maintenance a job he still does. 

His garage at the end of the garden has all the equipment and storage needed to produce fourteen 72 pint  firkins  that he keeps in a cold room for 3 to 4 weeks to let the beer mature. There is little room for his children’s bikes and other stuff that garages tend to collect.

Vince buys his ingredients locally and adjusts the ph using lemon juice. He has many recipes but at present his Pale Ale and best seem to be the most popular. Vince says his aim is to produces a quality well balanced malty beer.

One day Vince hopes to expand but at present is content with his garage. Vince can be contacted on 07563751200 to discuss orders and will gladly give you a taste. He does not bottle his beer so it’s a firkin which should keep any party from going thirsty.

Story by David Cemlyn

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