Breweries can come in all shapes and sizes and, happily, there’s still room for enthusiasts who don’t aspire to be the next BrewDog or even the next Dancing Duck but whose beers are good enough for a wider audience than their own front rooms.
You can be a commercial brewer, sell your beers without threatening anyone else’s business. And, sometimes, your beer will be so amazingly good that you’re quietly showing bigger companies how it should be done.
Such is the case with Ilkeston’s Urban Chicken Ale, run from his garage for the last three years by Darren Shaw, who is just about as affable and as modest a person as you could wish to meet.
Everything from the brewing space to the labelling is out of the ordinary, which is what makes Urban Chicken so popular with its drinkers.
Everything is in its place in that garage, with not an inch wasted. It’s a one-barrel plant, which means he can produce four nine-gallon casks per brew, having started at a quarter of that capacity.
It also means people have to wait to get their hands on his beer but it seems they are happy to do so.
“I just delivered to a licensee who, when I checked my messages back, first asked me for beer two years ago,” says Darren.
“It’s pretty much bang on three years that I’ve been selling it. I’ve somehow got a great reputation and I can’t keep up with demand. I just have to ask people to wait. Regarding growing from this, I don’t know. There are a lot of breweries out there. And I’m enjoying it. I don’t want to stop enjoying it. It’s fairly basic and I don’t want to over-complicate it. At this scale, too, I can do exclusive brews for specific outlets.”
Are Urban Chicken’s beers available in a Pub near you? If so, you definitely need to try them! It is most usually available in the following places:
The Crafty One bar and bottle shop in Ilkeston
The Burnt Pig micropub
The Smithfield, Derby
Want to read the full article? You can read Colston Crawford’s column on Derbyshire Live’s website here.