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From blue cheese to Blue Brew

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By Jim Cornall+


Arla donates left over whey from its Stilton cheese factory to Belvoir Brewery, who use it in a creamy beer called Blue Brew.
Arla donates left over whey from its Stilton cheese factory to Belvoir Brewery, who use it in a creamy beer called Blue Brew.

Whey is a common dairy product for boosting protein levels in sports and health nutrition, but a UK brewery is working with dairy company Arla to use it in a different way.

Belvoir Brewery in Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray, is using the whey left over from the making of Stilton cheese at Arla’s nearby Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery to create a creamy beer, Blue Brew.

The beverage has been included in the ‘Brewed with Balls’ guide that celebrates the weird and wonderful beers from around the world.

The idea originated in 2010 from the Stilton Cheesemakers Association, which was looking to draw attention to the blue cheese.

November distribution

Intended as a one-off project, the brewers at Belvoir decided to keep making the product annually at this time of year.

In September, the brewers arrive at Tuxford & Tebbutt to pick up around 1,000 liters of whey, which the creamery provides for free.

The whey is taken to the brewery on the day the beer is brewed. It is infused directly in the fermenter with the chilled wort from the copper, and live brewer’s yeast is then added to the infusion to allow to ferment.

This is enough to make 125 cases, or approximately 1,500 bottles, of the beer a year, ready for distribution by mid-November – just in time for the holiday season.

The chestnut-coloured beer is different to any other beer due to the protein and fat content from the whey and, as such, boasts a unique flavor and texture.

Tony Hayes, site manager at the Tuxford & Tebbutt Creamery said that when the request was received, the creamery thought it was a creative and fun way to raise the awareness of Stilton and where it is made.

Not a cheesy beer

Colin Brown, founder and managing director of Belvoir Brewery, noted that the beer doesn’t taste like Stilton, but the whey gives it a creaminess unlike most other beers.

“We really enjoy making it and seeing the reaction people get when they find out what it’s made of,” Brown said.

Blue Beer Brew is available locally in stores and markets and also directly from the Belvoir Brewery.

The Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery, formed in 1780, is one of only six creameries in the world permitted to make Blue Stilton.

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