Back in 2013, when Grace and Duncan were down South on the London/Kent borders, Duncan was interested in hop varieties that could give American type flavours but be grown in the UK. One such hop was then called OZ97a, and he was reading a blog post about it. OZ97a*
was “considered unacceptable to brewers in 1960 and it was concluded that ‘these brewing trials indicate that a number of brewers would not be willing to use this hop even at 25% replacement of their normal grist’ because ‘it has strong American flavour.’”
The blog post mentioned Sean Ayling at Pig and Porter, this triggered further investigation. Pig and Porter at the time were an event catering and beer setup. With Hog Roasts being done by Robin and beer being brewed by Sean as a cuckoo brewer. There is a blog post about their early days here, which looks like it was written in 2016/17. We started buying their beers, 3 casks in 2013, including Red Spider Rye one of Duncan’s all time favourite beers, 9 in 2014, including a test brew of an American Pale which became Whispering Bob and 16 in 2015.
2016 saw us move to Oswestry and The Bailey Head. Our relationship with Pig and Porter continued, with beers coming to us several ways, by the pallet, via RAD in Hadnall and brought to us by Sean and his wife Jacqui, who stayed with us on occasions, often while visiting Jacqui’s sister in Nantwich.
Spool forward to 24 January 2018. Michelle Shipman of Offbeat Brewery in Crewe posted in the morning that she was thinking of selling the brewery. She then jumped in her van and brought us casks of beer. After a chat she headed back to Crewe, and put the brewery up for sale that day.
The next day was the trade session of CAMRA Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, Duncan and Michelle had arranged to meet on the platform of Crewe Station and go together. The first bar as they walked in was the Pig & Porter bar, and Sean passed over a couple of glasses of Red Spider Rye.
That March Sean and Jacqui were visiting Jacqui’s sister, and while in Cheshire visited Crewe before coming to see us. In that trip the deal to buy Offbeat Brewery was agreed, and without going into the details, Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse was born on 13 June 2018.
Happy 2nd Birthday Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse for today!
In March 2019 the then bar staff had their late Christmas outing to the brewery, helping to brew a Coffee Stout, with beers in the taproom afterwards.
We are delighted to have regular cask and keg from Tom’s Tap and Brewhouse on the bar and to see the fruits of the massive amount of hard work Sean and Jacqui have put into the brewery and taproom.