The Backyard Brewhouse, Unit 8A Gatehouse Trading Estate, Lichfield Road, Brownhills, Walsall, WS8 6JZ in the local authority area of Walsall, and ceremonial county of West Midlands but the shire county of Staffordshire.
The rabble crammed into the brewhouse, out of the rain, are a bunch from Wakefield CAMRA. The coon-to-be-replaced Skoda on the right doubles as dray for small loads and tows a trailer for larger quantities.
On this board are displayed the brews so far on this six barrel plant.
Proprietor, brewer, and everything else, Austen Morgan has a degree in food technology and first, so we were told by a local CAMRA official, worked as a biker (biking bread) so has been using yeast all his working life. He usually brews twice a week.
Austen did 11 years at the Highgate Brewery in Walsall before branching out on his own.
only the best malts from Fawcetts of Castleford and Warminster Maltings
propane gas burner used as a booster at the start of boiling the wort
close-up of propane burner
Because the main elecrtic heater is well off the bottom of the copper, and heat rises until a rolling boil is achieved, a gas burner is placed beneath for the start of the boil.
Fermenters here have a cut-out for easier access by Austen.
inside a Backyard fermenter
Austen says his distinctive plastic casks pay for themselves in just six trips, and aren't as attractive to thieves. We saw just a couple of unserviceable casks.
You'd not risk piling that many metal casks on the plywood roof of the office.
Behind the Skoda used for small deliveries, Austen can hitch up this trailer with about ten casks.
We were offered a sample of of GB. It's a classic copper coloured best bitter offering biscuit, and malt flavours with a hint of chocolate - the next best thing to a chocolate digestive. The sweetness of the malt is balanced by the bitterness from best British hops.
Austen Morgan - that almost two famous British car marques.
Austen receives a commemorative certificate from Wakefield CAMRA Chairman, Mark Goodair.
....and he's delighted!
Austen gave us directions to the nearby Royal Oak pub on Chester Road, where Backyard beers are often available. It's a former Ansells pub which has been retained many fine Art Deco features from the 1930s plus sensitive renewals which maintain the style.
When Allied closed Ansells Brewery in Birmingham , the bitter was brewed at Joshua Tetley, Leeds.
original 1930s doorway
bar fitted out in Art Deco style
What is it? asked the younger members of our party.
Well, it's a radiogram, a sort of early mp3 player
Where the interior décor has been renewed it maintains the style.
internal wood door in 30s style
metal framed Crittall bow windows with curved panes, plus (left to right) John Groves, George Denton and Richard Horrocks from Wakefield CAMRA
New tiling in the ladies' loo is also Art Deco style.