On Monday January 6th I paid a visit to Simon Crichton’s brewery which he has built in a garden shed behind his house in Wigginton, near Tring. Simon retired early from a career in hotel food and beverage management to fulfil his ambition to brew beer. He started brewing in 2016 on a very small scale, learning the process and using the knowledge gained from attending a course at Bakewell Brewing School. In the summer of 2019, having extended the floor space of his shed, he installed a larger brewing kit and brews in 150 litre batches, using mainly English hops and malt grains.
He has a range of six bottle conditioned beers bearing suchlocally familiar names as ‘The Grain Train Robbery’ an ESB style 4.3% beer, ‘Peter the Wild Boy’, a 4.5% Pale Ale,and a 4.8% Export Porter called ‘Hell Fire’. An unusual IPA called ‘Grand Union’ using four hops and three malt varieties has an abv of 6.5%, ‘Beacon Sunset’ a 4.6% Ruby Ale which takes its name from Ivinghoe Beacon, and ‘Nell’s Obelisk’, a 5.5% traditional style IPA completes the range. I enjoyed a verysatisfying tasting of several of Simon’sbeers during my visit; the setup in his brewery is topped off with a bar of ideal elbow-resting height, a dartboard, a comfortable stuffed sofa and a television for watching sports with family and friends (with drinks in hand!).
His beers can be found for sale exclusively in Wigginton’s Community Shop (openMon-Fri: 7.30 to 6pm; Sat: 8-5pm; Sun 8.30-1pm); Simon has plans to extend the availability to other small retailers in the locality.
– Richard Healey