Twisted Oak Brewery

I’m Lucky enough to have a Brewery attached to the office where I work, hence Friday afternoon can be a little hazy !

Below are some photographs that they commissioned me to take for their website and general marketing. It’s always rewarding photographing people who love their jobs and these people love making Real Ale, who wouldn’t !

Twisted Oak  30th April  2018

The Brewery is a small but beautifully formed micro brewery based just outside of Wrington, North Somerset, on the edge of the Mendip Hills. They specialise in brewing quality real ales using traditional brewing techniques. It’s owned and run by Keith and Deb Hayles of Clevedon and Simon Gait from Wrington.

They are proud of their beers which are all brewed using traditional open-topped fermenters, fresh yeast and the best malt and hops available. The smell of the hops when you walk through their doors is wonderful, notes of Toffee, spice, Lemon and Orange fill your nose, the extra hops that are added after boiling adding to the flavour and aroma.

They never use dried yeast from a packet, always use fresh yeast, harvested from the previous brew. Their mantra is… “If you look after the yeast, the yeast looks after your beer. We are custodians of the yeast!”

Twisted oak 2ndMay, 2018

They are a brewery on the up having recently scooped Gold and Silver Medals at the SIBA Southwest Beer Awards, indeed they have recently opened a successful Micro Pub in Clevedon.

Twisted Oak  30th April  2018

Pop in and say hello to Keith, Deb or Simon, they’ll give you a warm welcome when you arrive, at either their Brewery or Micro Pub, and you’ll probably walk away with some very drinkable award winning Real Ale under your arm…

Twisted Oak Brewery, 4nd May, 2018

Copyright Neil Phillips Photo and Film Ltd


New Cider Barn

New Cider Barn on the Block..

I can highly recommend the Cider Barn at Barley Wood which now opens on Saturday Afternoons till 8pm. It’s based at the rather upmarket Barley Wood Walled Gardens near Wrington, North Somerset  where the critically acclaimed Ethicurerian Restaurant is based. The cider house is set within the beautiful circular building that has a slightly bohemian feel, which fits nicely with the trendy young couple who run the business. You quickly learn that they are passionate about all things apples and and will happily talk to you about their cider, juice and the techniques they use. The Barn houses a couple of wonderfully large old apple presses as well as containers full of well labelled blended cider . Because of the location I was worried that the prices for the cider would be sky-high but the ciders started at £2.50 for a pint of dry or medium. I’m no expert but it was a really present cider, and packs quite a punch at 6.7% . They sell an interesting selection of traditional ciders (see the pics) including Kingston Black, plus if the medium cider is still too strong for your palate you have the option of sweeting it with Elderflower cordial . 

It’s in a beautiful location which has the lovely walled gardens with views across to the Mendip Hills at the centre of the grounds, the eating apple orchard is to your right as you walk down the slope towards the Barn and the Cider Apple Orchard is hidden at the bottom of the hill, which you are free to walk around with your pint. I live in Wrington, half a mile down the road so as it was a lovely afternoon yesterday we cycled up to the barn, and after a couple of pints we wobbled back !. This was a real treat after strimming back the long grass around 30 fruit/ apple trees over the past week. I’m Planning to go back next week, to try the other ciders and vegetarian Sausage Rolls 
I just thought I’d feel you in on this place as I know on the cider workshop there are the occasional recommendations for good cider farms etc to visit in Somerset, and this place fits in nicely between the spit and sawdust of Wilkins cider, the craft of Burrow Hill and the amazing selection of the bigger producers. If you do pop in drop me a line as I only live down the road, and will pop up for a pint with you 🙂
I have no commercial attachment to the Cider Barn , which actually makes me feel little sad as they seem to be doing everything right and makes my little Orchard venture look a little uninspiring 😦 No worries though it’s an inspiring place.

Spring Growth

The Discovery’s are popping out on the Avenue des PhillipesIMG_2614


Springtime in a cider apple Orchard in Somerset

Apple Blossom in Thatchers Cider Orchard in Sandford, 2nd May, 2018

We be a mulching

Last weekend we mulched the around the trees to kill off any grass that might compete for moisture, and we left it looking very tidy (see pic below). But returning a week later some of the grass is already poking through, darn that was quick . We may have to come up with a Plan B. The Field is an organic site so we obviously can’t use any chemical sprays etc to on the grass. Ideally we’d like to stop the grass from growing down the whole of the two aisles so we are currently looking for a solution. Keeping the grass really well mown (a job I did today) helps in the short term.

IMG_2147 2

Mulched April 2018

That same weekend I paid a visit to Apple Juice maker extraordinaire Keith Goverd. Keith has been making quality English apple Juice for over 40 years and can be found every weekend at Bath Farmers Market. Keith only makes single variety apple juice and and during the late summer and autumn can be found diving around the south west searching out unusual varieties of apples to turn into quality juice. I walked away with a bottle of ‘Adams’s Pearmain’ which was delicious. An old fashioned late dessert apple, fairly dry, with the same nutty quality of a Egremont Russet, and a variety that  Keith isn’t going to let disappear. Go and say hello to Keith and buy some of his quality juice.


The New Orchard

A week or so ago  I helped to plant an orchard, 30 trees in one day.  Boy it was hard work !

Anyway, it’s going to be worth it. I’ve teamed up with Phil and his field near Wrington, taken lots of advice from the guys and gals at the Cider Workshop and at Thatchers Cider so hopefully we have a good balance of flavours which will produce  great apple juice and cider. We primarily want to produce tasty and consistent Apple Juice and have hopefully chosen a selection of trees to help us achieve this. Having our own orchard means we have complete control over how we look after, nurture and above all, when we harvest the apples. This makes a big difference to the quality of the juice. During our apple adventures in the past we have lacked any of these advantages so this is an exciting development for us.

This also means that I can make a small quantity of cider, something that I have really struggled with in the past, mainly through using a bad selection of apples, either under ripe or about to fall apart. Again, we have got advice and selected trees that will give us a good mixture of Bitter sweets and Bitter sharps, plus we can chose the optimum time to harvest the apples, so fingers crossed in a few years I’ll be producing some fairly decent cider.

Below is a list of the trees that we have selected.

 Tremletts Bitter, Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Browns Apple, Discovery, Gilly, Laxton Superb, Ashmeads Kernal, Katy



Apple Blossom in Sandford

Apple Blossom looking good in Sandford, despite the frosts, don’t worry, your cider is safe !