This Tryanuary I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit a local microbrewery that I had not been to before. Devitera is based in the small village of Rowde in Wiltshire surrounded by picturesque countryside and sloping fields of barley. Nearby is the county’s famous Caen Hill locks, a stretch of canal with 29 locks to navigate through, linking Rowde to the market town of Devizes. Devizes has a long history of brewing that goes back to the 18th Century and most notably beer giant Wadworth established their brewery in 1875. Now in Wiltshire we are finding a new breed of brewers who are emerging with more modern techniques and exciting ideas. Glen is the man behind Devitera, who’s name originates from the latin words ‘ad divisas’ (boundaries) and “terra’ (land). Devitera has been created with the idea of making ’beer beyond boundaries’ and using Glen’s unique approach to brewing.
|Chemical formula of Rowde water|
As I made my way over to Rowde, with my Sat Nav route taking me down small and windy country roads, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on my arrival. I turned into a small access road just off Rowde’s high street and drove into darkness as the street light faded away behind me. The end of the road opened up to a large space and I recognised the Devitera logo on an A board outside the brewery. There I was greeted by Glen who invited me inside to see him prepping for next day’s bottling. “Not many people get to see this” Glen said to me as I watched him thoughtfully set up his bottling equipment. I look around whilst Glen finishes up and we chat about my beer journey before he begins to tell me all about Devitera.
Following redundancy from his job in IT, Glen decided he would work for himself and set up a brewery. Although Devitera has been 2 years in the making it had a bumpy start. Problems with the premises, legal issues and losing a brewing partner were all a set back. During this time Glen began to write about his experiences in his blog which he had found to be quite cathartic throughout his beer journey. Despite all the problems Devitera has now been brewing beer for the last year commercially and making a name for itself in Wiltshire.
Glen hasn’t had any formal training except for taking a standard course in brewing as well as one in business management so he is mostly self taught. Glen started out using pre-packaged home-brew kits in buckets and then worked up to creating his own recipes using his Grain Father which is still used today as a pilot kit for new ideas.He has also been a fan of drinking beer and when I asked him what sort of styles got in him interested in brewing he replied, “everything!”.
What struck me about this brewery is that everything has been designed specifically with the beer’s journey in mind. The brewing equipment used to be old dairy vessels which have been modified for the purpose of making beer. Glen has a very engineering mind and is very good at problem solving to help make the brewhouse work for him. This was particularly true when he explained to me that the length of his labelling table was exactly 24 bottles - perfect for a full case of beer! Many of the work surfaces, display materials and cask racks have been made from reclaimed wood and repurposed in an inventive way.
Most of the ingredients for Devitera’s beers are sourced as locally as they can be. The malt is picked up just down the road at Warminster Maltings (one of Britain’s oldest maltings) and Glen has also been known to forage for local hops. I was able to try a sample of Devitera’s English Pale Ale whilst I was at the brewery which to me had some grassy notes and a pleasant dry finish. I had come across Devitera’s beers before and have previously tried their American Pale Ale as well as the Power Fail English Pale Ale, both of which I enjoyed. I was also given a sneak peek at one of Glen’s latest projects working with different types of yeast. He recently acquired some Sicilian wild yeast from a local bakery and did a test brew to see how it would react. When we tasted it we agreed it had a pithy citrus flavour and I am quite excited to see what Glen decides to brew once he’s finished with this experiment.
So what does the future hold for Devitera? Glen explained to me that eventually he would like to be able to open up a tap room within the current brewhouse and sell his version of Weissebier, which is one of his dream brews. It is obvious that Glen is very passionate about what he does and it shows in his attention to detail from the cleanliness of the tanks to the way the bottles are packaged. He sees his product from start to finish making this a true artisan beer. I hope to see more of Devitera in the future and will keep an eye out for their beers not just this Tryanuary, but all year around.
Devitera Website: https://devitera.co.uk