Nearly five years ago, on New Year's Eve 2012 to be precise, we brewed our first beer. In common with our first ten brews, it was cuckoo brewed. This one was brewed at Downlands Brewery in Small Dole, West Sussex. The beer we chose to announce ourselves with was Red Spider Rye. I'd previously brewed it as a homebrew but wasn't sure that it was the sort of of beer we should brew commercially. We sought the help of those whose opinions we respected; Tom Dobson, then a fellow homebrewer now assistant brewer at Burning Sky, tried a 6% bottle conditioned trial brew and declared that we should not only brew it commercially but brew it for cask. Given that our target market at the time was rural Kent and Sussex we were, perhaps understandbly, apprehensive about releasing a 6% cask beer. We sought some advice from those whose opinions we respected and decided to do the beer at 5.5%.
A cask of the resultant beer ended up at Manchester's legendary Port Street Beer House where we were delighted to learn, it had become the drink of choice for the staff at the end of shift. That beer also ended up getting us an invitation to IndyManBeerCon 2013, no mean feat for a first brew.
So how did the beer end up at 4.8% then? Actually that was a pretty simple mistake. we were still cuckoo brewing at the time and different kits perform differently. We mashed in too high on the kit at Mad Cat Brewery (Brogdale, Kent) and we ended up with a beer that was 4.8% rather than 5.5%. Because that was out of the accepted level of tolerance, we had to have a new pump clip made. Perhaps because it was under 5% the beer now sold twice as fast so we kept it at 4.8%.
For those of you who are wondering how it got it's name, the Red Spider was a cafe on the beach in Whitstable, where I grew up and still live today.
Fast forward to 2017 and the release of our cask only APA, Lost Colony, also at 4.8%. As sales of the beer started to climb we took the opportunity to move the ABV of Red Spider Rye back to it's original 5.5%. For our part, we think that it is a better beer at it's intended ABV and we're looking forward to the feedback on the latest brew which is now ready to go to trade.
We hope you enjoy it.