After years of planning and many months of fermentation the first release from Balance Brewing & Blending is scheduled for May 2022. That release is Saison de Maison, the first iteration of our house saison, a beer that marries funky complexity and harmonious drinkability, and one that really exemplifies what our brewery is all about.
What, and who, makes Balance Brewing & Blending?
Balance was set up in 2021 by James Horrocks and Will Harris and is the only brewery in Manchester dedicated entirely to the production of barrel fermented, mixed culture beers. After meeting while working together at Chorlton Brewing Co, our shared passion for sour, wild and funky beer led to the inevitable conclusion of wanting to produce beers that we love brewing and drinking. Now at Track (Will) and Squawk (James) and with over a collective decade of brewing experience, we decided it was time to set up Balance. We are currently a fairly small-scale operation with only 30 barrels with us pulling shifts brewing, bottling and everything in between during evenings weekends. We anticipate releasing roughly a beer a month over the next year. All of our beers will be available in 750ml bottles, designed for sharing.
Our aim is to produce nuanced sour and funky beers in a range of styles, from bretted saisons to Lambic-inspired creations, utilising both wild captured and lab propagated yeasts and bacteria. We only use British ingredients as an environmental consideration and to create a sense of terroir in our beers. We source as locally as possible: our malt is from Fawcetts in Yorkshire, our hops from Brookhouse in Herefordshire and we only use British grown fruit.
After fermenting in barrels for anywhere from four months to several years, we carefully select blends and move them onto hops, fruit or straight into bottle. The outcome is tart, complex, funky, fruity and ultimately an expression of our passion for these styles of beer and for the complexity that can be achieved through simple ingredients.
Our Initial Release – Saison de Maison
Our first beer, Saison de Maison, is a 6% bretted saison, blended from beer fermented and conditioned in ex-red wine barrels before being dry-hopped with fresh UK Goldings. It is the first iteration of our house saison, which will be a regular release. The base beers were brewed using low colour Maris Otter and torrefied wheat to put a British spin on a classic Lambic-inspired base. The beer was hopped in the kettle with aged British Goldings and fresh Bramling Cross before being transferred to barrel to undergo fermentation with a carefully selected blend of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus which we propagated in-house.
After the fermentation and conditioning phase we selected barrels which offered the particular funky saison characteristics we desired and developed a final blend. This blend was transferred onto fresh Goldings and stayed on the hops for a week before being bottled with nothing but priming sugar added. The bottle conditioning phase allowed all of the flavours to marry and develop until we were happy that the beer was well balanced and ready to release.
The end result is a beer with bright carbonation and pleasing acidity leading into a layered, fruit forward brett and hop character. We get funky pineapple up front with hoppy notes of gingerbread, ripe peach and subtle Perry pear. Gentle bitterness and herbal, woodruff notes meander into the long, clean yet complex finish. This is the first beer we envisaged as we dreamed of brewing our own beer and we are so pleased with how it has come out.
On Thursday 19th May we are holding a launch event at Cafe Beermoth in Manchester. On the same day, our web shop will go live and we’ll be able to ship direct to customers and bottle shops across the country.
Our next release is already in bottle too: Jam, a blend of saisons fermented in barrel then aged on damsons for four months. More about this to follow.
We’re already looking forward to future releases and we’ll be releasing a whole host of beautiful creations over the next 6 months including more dry hopped saison, fruited beers and some interesting experiments.
Thanks a lot for reading about Balance. We would be happy to welcome anyone to our little barrel store in central Manchester for a tour and a tasting.
Press release from Balance Brewing & Blending