The UK's first craft beer kitchen was launched yesterday, with individuals and groups allowed into Stewart Brewing's micro-brewery to sample the craft beer phenomenon sweeping the UK.
Brew-it-yourself-style kitchens have yet to take off in Britain, unlike in North America and Australia, despite the explosion of micro-breweries and the growing popularity of the mini-industry.
Inspired by their success abroad, the company's venture will take customers through the whole brewing experience, from choosing a recipe to designing labels and bottling their new brews.
Prices start at £160 for 40 litres with all ingredients, use of facilities, labels, bottles and tuition from Stewart's own experts. Would-be brewers will be able to choose their beer style, pick and prepare their ingredients, then go through the whole process, from preparing the mash and adding hops to the wort before finally adding the yeast, which will metabolise the sugars into alcohol. The fee also includes cleaning up afterwards.
The beer is then kept on site while it ferments. Visitors come back a couple of weeks later to bottle and collect the beer - cared for and monitored by Stewart's staff.
Spokeswoman Emily Gray said: "The Craft Beer Kitchen has already generated a lot of interest, and it's proving really popular for birthdays, stag dos, celebrations and gifts. Not forgetting a fair few craft beer lovers.
The kitchen has been operational since the start of the month, and a selection of experimental beers went on sale at a "tap takeover" launch party at The Southern Bar. Pub-goers were able to sample a range of beers such as a popcorn pilsner, apricot pale ale, blackcurrant Berliner weissbier and an Earl Grey-infused Amber ale.
Ms Gray adds: "People love an experience and that is exactly what the customer is paying for at Craft Beer Kitchen. From start to finish, it is a lot of fun: choosing their recipe; measuring their ingredients; brewing beers on the day; choosing bespoke labels. The 'brewday' is spent with a degree-educated brewer who will provide them with some top notch yet light-hearted tuition. Such a different way to spend a day with your mates."