Taking the chance to go visit a new kid on the block, a start up or someone throwing their hat in the ring call it what you will, is something that I cherish. Being granted access to someone’s early ambitions, seeing their chance or the actions of rolling their dice… is well, just amazing.
Of course, a brewery is interesting, to me… But, it’s the people really that make the brewery. The brewers, right through the office people and further… everyone who engages with the beer from production to consumption effects the nature of the beast. But, what if I was to suggest that this brewery has a really successful social media/conversation loop going on, yet they’re in one of the most conservative, in both senses of the term, towns on this planet, and they have a pretty cool, highly educated and supremely experienced brew team… any guesses?
They are growing fast. Seemingly every brewery is doing well at the moment, but this wasn’t just a brewery doing ok. The beers are far from simple, yes perhaps understated, but certainly not lacking in flavour. Traditional in stance and branding, but underlying hop forward aroma and certainly flavour, belayed a little nod to the modern with a good dose of amarillo appearing in one of their brews.
Let me tell you about the brew-team and everyone else… Take a Doctor of yeast physiology, an ex-head brewer of a massive brewing concern, an awesome engineer who made sweeties and and a marketing legend. Not a bad combination of talent, is it?
I first met these chaps at a little gathering of brewers, well one of them. What struck me was, well, they were very at ease with the notable presence of John Keeling, Derek Prentice and Steve Schmidt et al… in fact there was a connection, only of knowing each other for a long time. We moved on… beer was in front of me.
Over the course of the summer, I came to know and really appreciate the company of this breweries head brewer. Good chats, really interesting insights and bucket loads of experience. So, recently I popped down to visit their brewery. Smart and organised is an understatement… and the engineering… woah! I walked in to the cheery Scottish tones of their other brewer.
This is Will Calvert.
We had a brief, but sure footed walk around their immaculate brew house. Clean, well organised and oh so well put together. This wasn’t the efforts of some naive start-up, bucket loads of cash and lets flash it about on stainless. Everything was considered, well placed and so clean. I think this reflects in their beer.
We were later joined by the head brewer. Now, here’s a thing. This man ran big breweries, it turns out. Actually starting his brewing career in the brewery that used to be right by Borough Market. In fact, this is where they, the two brewers, came to meet. Paddy, supremely passionate about beer, with a hat load of experience that many brewers could only dream in getting close to.
We later trotted into town, I lived nearby for a number of years. Still, I haven’t been to those parts in a while, so I was doubly keen to see what’s happened to the place. Not a lot actually, which was hardly suprising. But, I wasn’t there for sightseeing. I was here for drinking. The first stop, now walking in team colours, was one of the fresher examples of their beer we had that night. I mean that, the beer was a little bit too fresh… I was burping all the way to the next pub. Their blond-r ale, the lighter, amarillo hopped brew was the drink of choice for me. The opportunity to try it with such experienced brewers, and in a variety of venues was really interesting, we really got to see the beers in all their colours and just went to remind me how much Cask Ale is a demanding relationship to engage with.
It was a really good evening of optimism, discussing their plans and their skills being turned to their own benefits. Their beers, the Knight of the Garter and Guardsman are brews that I would wholeheartedly suggest looking out for, and word on the street is there is a very interesting dark ale coming out… I pressed for answers from Paddy and Will, only Richard was spilling the beans… even after 4 or 5 pints they were still tight lipped.
Oh, the brewery?