the delight of being sat on ones arse is something of a rare treat, allbeit with the connections of mobile broadband; ok, connection is a bit of a joke, but it works. I am now sat at the Hampton Court Beer and Jazz fest, with a blue/cloud spackled sky over head with people going nuts for Ronny Scotts doodad, and Fruli.
There is so much happening, just picking up on a thread on Ratebeer, “the UK beer scene”, looking on is actually very exciting, lots of new breweries, big breweries getting creative, beer centric bars really rocking with events and stuff.
But, I have whizzed here there and everywhere Dronfield to Barcelona, via Birmingham. Interestingly, I have poodled around france, with much interest.
Ok, so the closest brewery to my house is actually in France. But, beyond that, we all know the love that goes between the french and americans, so I wasn’t heading there for new incarnations of american pale ales. Nor was a heading there looking for Franco-Belge style ales, or Franco-German as it happens.
Talking with a french brewer friend, and a german brewer – there was a massive brewing culture around the Lille Lens area, I am guessing from the mining and steel working fields of that area.
It was a tough job finding french beer, but there was. This isn’t Biere de Garde, but just french running beer. It was interesting, travelling so much to find, research and learn about the product and processes of brewing and beer. Hearing somewhat similar vibe from hardcore french brewers, that there is “French beer”, as much that they wanting to remind their locale that there is beer being brewed locally that’s pretty good, flavoursome and responsible to its footprint; but more over wanting to simply remind about there is beer being brewed everywhere, independently.
I was hanging out with the legend that is Kelly Ryan, Mr Reluctantly Scooping On, and the delightful Cat – having brought up a few 750’s of French Beers to bounce off Kelly. The thing I notice with French beer is, it doesn’t get in the way. By that I mean, well, I love big american hops, well, I love the culture and products that I have travelled so many miles for – but, having been exposed/reminded of the delights of nuanced, balance and subtlety of these French Beer, it’s hard not to let them fall into the next brew that I have to knock up. I think the best way of presenting french beer is at the table in a great social, perhaps meal setting. They sit well with food, of course, and 750’s among friends are really small bottles!
Antics in Brewing
Steve and I have brewed way more beer than we ever thought we would, probably brewing every week, which is 3 or 4 times what we expected too.
But, why do we brew what we do? Of course, for fun. a helluvalotta fun. There is no bigger thrill, as a “brewer”, to see someone enjoying your efforts, from afar. But, for us, we’re a sort of R&D department. We’re playing, referencing and learning everyday. A lot of what we brew is born of my travels or Steve’s loves. Yes, there is a big bunch of California dropped in every beer, and that’s nothing to do with Prop.19, as much of my brewing influences come from Rodger Davis, Nate Smith, Tasty McDole, Chad Moshier, Shaun O’, Nick, Owen Miller, Kim from Northpeak, Vinnie Cilurzo, John Tucci, Jesse Houck – but equally from the amazing brewing resources of Eddie Gadd, Kelly Ryan, Dom Driscoll, Mark “Star” Tranter, Justin Hawke, Jeff Rosenmier, Evin O’Riordain, John Keeling, Derek Prentice, Stuart Howe, thru to Toni Prins, Daniel Thiriez, Bruno Carilli and Belgium, and perhaps now France and more. Their beers have kept me travelling for a long time, as such are influencing what I do, but there is such an amalgam, I am amazed that they actually come out tasting how they should, ish.
We brewed a “little” Rye beer on friday. An Amarillo/Cascade Red Rye with 30% rye in the grist. This was borne of a trip to Michigan, a coupla bottles one of Steve’s favourite brewery’s Rye, Simon from ZeroDegree’s helped with the grist, the opportunity to buy some spanking great malt, freakily fresh Amarillo and Cascade, and a need to get some thing ready for a special party. We’ll be dry hopping with a nod to Rodger Davis, we mashed with a nod to John Tucci. Much of my hopping regimes come from work by Nate Smith. So, who’s beer it? We try to make it very clear as to who, or even what bee influences our brewing… We’re grateful! Brewing is way more fun with other people, and to be able to give those peeps who’ve helped us, a cap doff, props or just a fucking big thankyou – is very important to us.
An event in history
On Sept 17th, 2010, at the BrewWharf, there is a big big event. It’s the first London Brewers Showcase.
Welcome to the first London Brewers’ Alliance Showcase, at the Brew Wharf, SE1. The event will take the form of an intimate beer festival dedicated to celebrating the resurgent vitality of London brewing culture. This evening is about the great beer that London produces, and about the brewers who make this beer.
The London Brewers’ Alliance is the community of brewers from all of the 15 breweries in London and this showcase is about us presenting ourselves as a collective, as London Brewers, and presenting our beer as London Beer.
The focus of the event is our London Porter, our first collaborative beer, made as a celebration of brewing in London. We brewed this together at Redemption Brewery on 24th August, 2010, to bring something unique to this showcase. Brewing a porter was the obvious choice, as huge swathes of the history of brewing in London have been tied in with the production of this style of beer. This recipe was excavated from the archives and then filtered through our collective mind, and then painstakingly put together on brewday. It will be officially launched at this event.
Our London Porter collaboration will have its own stand at the event, as will each individual brewery. There will be a range of beers to try from each different brewery, and the brewers will be present at the stands to talk about their beers. We will have the opportunity to try beer from all the London brewers in one place, to appreciate the wide array of beers brewed in London. Beers that stem from the tradition and legacy of the London brewing heritage that resides with Fullers or the Ram Brewery will stand beside pilsners brewed and matured at Zerodegrees or Meantime, to amazing homebrew from the London Amateur Brewers. Pale Ales and IPA’s will be present along Porters and Stouts, Bitters and Wheat Beers. Old recipes and new styles. All excellent beers; all crafted in London.
Both the London Brewers Alliance and this showcase were conceived in 2010 by Phil Lowry, whose aim was to raise awareness of London’s thriving brewing industry. He says, “Over the last century many large breweries left the city and some closed down entirely. Now, in just the last decade, new brewers have started to emerge, crafting exceptional ales, stouts and lagers and using traditional London porter recipes. We created The London Brewers Alliance so we could help get the word out there together. Large and small we are a group of creative and talented breweries, with a strong group of passionate brewers, who truly believe that London has world class beer. We hope that this showcase will allow the world to get excited about the city’s beers for themselves.”
The evening will happen on Friday, 17th September 2010, in the Upper Hall, Brew Wharf, Stoney St. Southwark, SE1 9AD, London. Trade Session from 16:30 – 18:30, Public event 18:30 – 22:30.
I have scoured for some fun beers… I think, I have found some crackers – old and new. Will post more asap.