Ferment Issue 21 // The Isle of Eriska Voyage

jamesbeer52

Brewers flew in from Belgium and London to take part in our collaboration project exclusively for Beer52 members! We had one hell of a road trip through the Western Isles of Scotland, creating brand new beers inspired by the Isle of Eriska.

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 21

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT


Become a Master Taster

THE CRAFT BEER

0 Points

Step One - Taster!

Welcome to the club. Earn points

with every box you order, beers

you review, and friends you refer!

It’s that simple!

Step Two - Super Taster!

You’ll reach Super Taster status after three

boxes and we’ll include our book The

Story of Craft Beer in your box, written by

Ferment contributor and renowned beer

writer Pete Brown - RRP £12.99.

350 Points

800 Points

Step Three - Master Taster!

You’ve made it! As a Master Taster, you’ll get

invites to exclusive ‘Meet The Brewer’ events, beer

festivals and you’ll be able to spend your points

in our online store to buy cool merchandise and

‘Master Tasters Only’ rare beers.

Not a Beer52 member? Sign up at Beer52.com


EDITOR

Richard Croasdale

DESIGNER

Ashley Johnston

@fermenthq

@fermentmagazine

Editor’s

Note

Contributions, comments, rants:

richard@beer52.com

ADVERTISING

To discuss how Ferment

could work with your brand,

request a media pack or

book an advert, contact:

matthew@beer52.com

COVER ILLUSTRATION

Alec Doherty

www.alecdoherty.com

One of the most instantly

recognisable illustrators in the

beer world, Alec kindly agreed

to create a special one-off

cover for this anniversary issue.

PUBLISHED BY:

Ferment & Beer52,

Floor 3,

26 Howe Street,

Edinburgh,

EH3 6TG

Very glad you could join us for this special issue of Ferment,

celebrating Beer52’s fourth anniversary, with a brand new look on

the cover and plenty of goodies inside. The main event this issue

is a unique collaboration with three of our favourite UK breweries,

cooked up over the course of a wild weekend on the Scottish island

of Eriska.

From that trip, we’ve taken home, sea, wood and garden as our

inspiration. We look at the tradition of foraging in British beer

culture, and how it might be coming back. Louise Crane explores

how sea travel has influenced the development of the beer styles

we love, and Magdalena Rahn visits the tiny Mediterranean island of

Panetelleria, which has no source of fresh water, to find out how one

brewer is still making waves. Add to this fruit, fish, smoke and even

the vagaries of the property market, courtesy of Ollie Peart, and you

have a feast for all the senses.

We really hope you enjoy this birthday issue of Ferment. Please feel

free to send cakes, balloon animals and mid-priced supermarket wine

@FermentHQ or ferment@beer52.com

The Isle of Eriska Voyage, pages 8-19

This issue of Ferment was first

printed in November 2017 in

Poland, by Elanders.

All rights reserved. Reproduction

in whole or in part without

written permission is strictly

prohibited. All prices are correct

at the time of going to press but

are subject to change.

Cheers, Richard


Our contributors

Matthew Curtis

WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER

Matthew Curtis is an awardwinning

freelance beer writer and

photographer based in London,

UK. He is the founder and editor

of beer blog Total Ales and is a

contributor for Good Beer Hunting

in the US. @totalcurtis

Fraser Doherty

WRITER

Co-founder of Beer52, amateur

home-brewer, avid traveller, jammaker

and author of two books.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

@fraserdoherty

Louise Crane

WRITER

Louise Crane is a freelance science

and drinks writer, and a Spirits

Advisor at The Whisky Exchange in

London. She holds a Masters degree

in History of Medicine and is a

trained ballet dancer. Oddly.

CONTENTS

8: the voyage

An unforgettable weekend of

collaboration on the beautiful

Isle of Eriska

21: pilot

It’s getting hazy down in Leith

24: partizan

Bermondsey heroes on

collaboration and their

new digs

28: alec doherty

The man behind the labels

31: we are sailing

How transport by sea has

shaped the beer world

34: foraging

Wild ingredients could liven

up your brew

Alex Paganelli

CHEF & FOOD

PHOTOGRAPHER

Recipes

As founder of Dead Hungry,

Alexandre has been creating

incredible recipes for Ferment.

deadhungry.co

JAMES BEESON

WRITER

Journalist, beer writer &

photographer. Editor of

Beeson on Beer

@jdbeeson16

Ollie peart

WRITER

Host ofThe Zeitgeist” on

The Modern Mann Podcast, Ollie

keeps his finger on the pulse so

we don’t have to.

@Ollieep

36: a drop in the ocean

Brewing on the tiny volcanic

island of La Panteska

40: Ollie’s modern life

Ollie moves house

43: home brew

Advice from the Grainfather,

plus a clone office brew

56: little earth

project

Our ‘one to watch’ this issue

64: collaboration

Matt Curtis debates the pros

and cons

88: forgotten styles

Hugh Thomas blows off

the dust

By Craig Collins @CraigComicsEtc & Mark Brady @HolidayPirate


WORDS: Fraser Doherty

PICTURES: Zsolt Stefkovics

Well, here we are; Beer52 has made it

to the grand old age of four years old.

Thanks a million to all of you who have

joined us on this ride, your membership keeps us in

our dream job, and we're all indescribably grateful

to each and every one of you.

We’ve tasted many thousands of beers and

travelled to California, Denmark, Kentucky,

Belgium, Colorado and more. It’s been one hell of a

journey.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, James

and I wanted to do something truly epic. We had

always dreamed of creating a completely exclusive

set of beers for the club; beers that aren’t available

anywhere else and that will be brewed especially

for the occasion and then never again.

So, with the help of three of our favourite

breweries, Partizan, Pilot and Forest Road, we set

out to collaborate on this unique set of beers to see

in the New Year; the beers you see before you in

this month's Beer52 box.

The process of their creation involved a heady

blend of brewing science, creativity, discovery and

unbridled hedonism. Throw these together in the

crucible of cameraderie, in the stunning Scottish

countryside, and we think the result is some of

the best beer we've ever sent out.

8 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 9


James Brown, Founder, Beer52

When we set out to create a

set of exclusive, never-tobe-repeated

beers for our

fourth anniversary celebration box, we

knew that as well as some of the best

brewers in the country – from Partizan,

Pilot and Forest Road – we also needed

a setting that would allow our creative

juices to properly ferment. A location

that could free our minds and inspire

recipe ideas that we wouldn’t ordinarily

consider. Being based in Scotland, we

could think of nowhere more aweinspiring

than our own west coast.

Along the unspoilt coastline from

Oban lies a private island with a nearmythical

reputation, The Isle of Eriska.

This five-star hotel and spa would be

our destination.

So, with brewers flying in from

Belgium and London, we drive the

three hours from Edinburgh airport to

the quaint harbour town of Oban. The

gateway to the Western Isles, the town

itself is overlooked by the Colosseum-

like McCaig’s Tower.

Before setting sail, and to line

our stomachs ahead of an epic day

of beer tasting, we treat our weary

travellers to a traditional Scottish

lunch. Fish and chips with mushy

peas are all washed down with

lashings of Irn-Bru and Oban whisky.

Not wanting to spoil his grease, but

still keen to share a national delicacy

with his foreign guests, the chip shop

owner sends for a dozen servings of

deep-fried Mars bars from the other

fryer in town.

WE COULD THINK OF

NOWHERE MORE AWE-

INSPIRING THAN OUR

OWN WEST COAST

The local hospitality knocks us off

schedule and, with cholesterol and

Scotch pulsing through our veins,

we bid farewell to the mainland.

Meeting us on the pier is our captain

for the day, Cameron from Coastal

Connection, a local company offering

private yacht charters and boat trips in

a variety of vessels.

After a cursory safety demonstration

(“don’t fall off the boat”) we soon crack

open a few beers and get the show on

the road. While our boat makes its way

out to the open sea we capture some

obligatory selfies against a vanishing

Oban pier on the horizon.

Aboard the ship is a veritable crew

of brewing geniuses. Being based in

Edinburgh, our local heroes, Pilot, have

long been brewers we’ve wanted to

feature in our boxes. Famed for their

Mochaccino Stout and Ultra Violet,

“A classic hefeweizen infused with

over 12kg of painstakingly handunwrapped

Swizzels Matlow Parma

Have you seen these men?

10 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 11

Fraser Doherty, Co-Founder, Beer52


THE ISLE OF ERISKA VOYAGE

Pieter De Bock and Nicolas Volders,

Patrick Jones, Pilot Chris J. J. Heaney, Partizan Brouwerij Anders!

Alec Doherty, Partizan Pete Brown, Forest Road

Violets per brew, giving those love ‘em

or hate ‘em floral notes”, it’s an honour

to have Pat Jones, one half of the

double-act that is Pat and Matt.

Normally selling its beer in kegs

only, it hasn’t been possible until

now to include Pilot’s beers in our

box. Now that it is, thanks to the

collaboration beers we will produce

together, it’s a dream come true for

Beer52.

Another four-year ambition of

ours has been to include Partizan,

one of London’s most respected craft

breweries and possibly the best saison

producers in the UK. Joining us on

the trip is Chris J J Heaney, originally

from Northern Ireland, but now living

in London as its head brewer.

Outside of brewing, Chris explains

that he is an actor and poet, and

seems to be already inspired by our

dramatic surroundings, with talk of

capturing some of the trip in the form

of a poem. Not the only creative soul

on board, he is accompanied by artist,

illustrator and creative director of the

brewery, Alec Doherty.

Perhaps thanks to the likelihood

that we were distant relatives who

just hadn’t met each other yet (we

Dohertys sure are a prolific clan),

I already had a strong affinity

with Alec and his work. As well

as creating Partizan’s iconic label

designs, his work is regularly profiled

in design magazines and blogs such

as It’s Nice That. He has illustrated

features for the Guardian, New

York Times and Zeit, and you’ll have

seen his work if you’ve ever dined at

Byron.

For this particular commission, he

will not only be designing the four

labels that will go on the Partizan

x Beer52 beers, but also the cover

for this special anniversary issue of

Ferment, which you are now holding

in your hands.

And, to be sure that the event is

nothing short of a raucous party,

we invited our friend and Ferment

contributor, Pete Brown. Not to be

confused with the beer author of the

same name, Pete is the Boston-born,

London-based founder of Forest

Road. Having worked for several

other brewers, including early-days

Camden, he sure knows how to brew.

His ‘Work’ pale ale stormed the

Beer52 ratings when we featured it

in early 2017.

Creator of a number of viral videos

that have reached over a million

views, Pete’s legendary sense of fun

is a welcome addition to the crew.

We’re also joined by Pieter De Bock

and Nicolas Volders from Anders

Brewery in Belgium. At the end of the

trip, they’ll have the task of taking all

the recipes the brewers come up with

on the trip and turning them into a

reality.

Before long, our little boat is a short

distance from the shores of the rugged

Isle of Mull. Ahead of us is a sprawling

ancient castle, criss-crossed by miles of

scaffolding, with a full crew of masons

hard at work on its restoration. Our

captain explains to us that this is in

fact Duart Castle. The original seat of

power of the MacLean clan, it dates

back to the 13th century.

Sitting proudly atop a cliff, with a full

bank of cannons aimed precariously

towards our boat, the castle guards the

Sound of Mull. The present home of Sir

Lachlan MacLean, twenty-eighth Chief

of Clan MacLean, the castle boasts a

tearoom and museum, and is a popular

wedding venue as well as home to

reunions of Clan MacLean, at which

the family’s diaspora from around the

world return to this rugged island to

discover their roots.

Taking a leisurely cruise around

12 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 13


THE ISLE OF ERISKA VOYAGE

THE HOUSE

the surrounding islands, most of them

uninhabited, we come across one rock

that is black with birds. Of course, we

don’t find anything funny at all when

it’s explained to us that this is, in fact, a

shag colony.

A short distance further along,

we come across the Eilean Musdile

lighthouse, which we are told is now,

of course, automated. However, the

lighthouse keeper’s lodge is the holiday

home of a couple from London.

Pulling along the coast of the island of

Lismore, home to 192 people as of the

last census, we spot an otter scurrying

away from the sound of our arrival as

well as dozens of seals. Lazing around

on the rocks, they don’t seem to have a

care in the world.

The last sight on our tour is an

insight into Scotland’s third big

industry, after oil and whisky; a largescale

salmon fishery. A series of huge

nets sit here in the currents, each home

to 30,000 salmon. Overshadowing our

boat is a steampunk monstrosity of a

ship, which we’re told has the rather

fetching name of ‘feed barge’, pumping

tonnes of food pellets into the salmon

nets.

Photo: Nicolas Volders

Having taught our guests the full

story of Scotland in one short boat

trip, from deep fried Mars bars to

castles, salmon farms and whisky,

we make our approach to the Isle of

Eriska. Awaiting us on the pier as we

pull up to berth are the hotel’s staff.

House manager Steven Sheridan

welcomes us and we enjoy a few

glasses of 2013 vintage Rodenbach

Grand Cru on the pier.

A deliciously balanced and tart

Flemish Red, it is a fitting first drink

to have on the island as we admire

the views over Loch Linnhe and the

dramatic Morvern mountains beyond.

Jumping into the hotel’s golf cart,

we wind our way through the woods

before the castle-like main house

reveals itself between the foliage.

THE CASTLE-LIKE MAIN

HOUSE REVEALS ITSELF

BETWEEN THE FOLIAGE

The sense of excitement is palpable as we

settle into the piano room for afternoon tea

and the hotel’s staff transport our luggage

and vast number of crates of beers and

other vital supplies into our cottages. A

wood fire crackles in the corner, with its

wonderful aromas gently permeating every

room of the house.

We soon discover the hotel’s enviable

whisky collection and restaurant manager,

Robert, talks us through the history of the

house as we relax in the bar.

Constructed in 1884, the halcyon period

of Eriska was during the late Victorian and

early Edwardian period, where its owners

would travel from their home in Edinburgh

by occupying a full two train carriages – one

for the family and another for their luggage

and staff. Requiring up to 56 employees

to accommodate their pastimes of picnics,

sailing and donkey-rides for the children,

we marvel at how things must have been in

those days.

Thoroughly warmed up, we all gather

in one of the cottages. Equipped with hot

tubs, conservatories and cosy lounges,

we’re certainly going to find our recipe

development sessions comfortable if

nothing else. Steven joins us while James

and I brief our willing compatriots as we all

embark on the mission to create a series of

recipes together.

To help get the creative juices flowing,

we’ve brought with us an epic ‘Beer Library’.

Close to 200 different beers of a magnitude

of different styles, we wanted to be able to

reference all the key flavour touchpoints. If

someone has an idea for a particular style,

we hopefully have a beer with us that will

help to illuminate the conversation.

As well as formally welcoming us to the

island, we discuss with Steven what kind

of beer he likes himself and what he hopes

we’ll brew at the end of the process. Pete

Brown then vows to brew ‘Something Light

for Steven’, to honour our host. After a few

more beers, we are invited to the hotel’s

highly awarded fine dining restaurant.

Over a seven-course tasting menu,

followed by a good crack at the 30-cheesestrong

farmhouse cheese trolley, we

discuss everyone’s respective backgrounds

and hopes for the collaboration project.

After merely scratching the surface of the

restaurant’s 40-page wine list, we’re soon

in high spirits and retire back into the

whisky bar to continue the discussion.

The next morning, we enjoy an array of

different cooked breakfasts – some opting

for kippers, others for a full Scottish.

The table clinks with the sounds of little

porcelain pots filled with Scottish heather

honey and homemade marmalade. A

grand breakfast like this does wonders for

a hangover and we’re soon ready to go

foraging throughout the estate to blow

the last remaining cobwebs from between

our ears.

14 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 15


"Gies a bit"

Photo: Nicolas Volders

THE KITCHEN GARDEN

We start our tour of the grounds in the

vividly green kitchen gardens. Like a

pair of diligent school teachers, James

and I dish out notepads, pencils, rubbers

and pencil sharpeners to the gaggle of

eager brewers, so that they may take

notes throughout the morning. Meeting

us between the apple trees, which

are completely covered magically by

blueish, stringy lichen, so clean is the air

here, are the hotel’s gardener and chef.

We wander through the tranquil

settings, tasting as we go. For the most

part, the hotel’s garden provides micro

salads, herbs and the tiny vegetables

that are delicately assembled in their

beautifully artistic dishes. Inside the

greenhouse, we taste nasturtiums,

their beautiful yellow and orange

flowers bringing a touch of colour

to a patchwork of various shades of

greenery.

Picking stalks of fennel and passing

them around, the tiniest pieces of its

feathery stalks burst with its instantly

recognisable aniseed type flavour.

Stepping back outside, we’re asked to

identify the 10-foot tall tree that stands

in front of us – rubbing its leaves, we

discover that it is in fact a gigantic, semiancient

bay tree.

In its shade is a patch of watercress,

which again we taste. The tiny leaves

set the mouth on fire with their peppery

flavour, remarkably strong for such an

unassuming little plant. It seems that

virtually all that surrounds us is edible

and the chef explains that harvesting tiny

amounts of each of these ingredients

ahead of meal prep is a daily ritual.

Living an almost monk-like existence,

the hotel’s staff mostly live in staff

quarters on the island. Everyone we talk

with has a serene aura and their friendly,

easy-going nature helps to add to the

peacefulness of the island.

THE WOODS

Exploring beyond the kitchen garden,

we wander through the various wooded

areas of the island. A bountiful source

of wild mushrooms, the woods provide

a surprising variety of other ingredients

for the chefs to play with. We taste

the very young green shoots of pine

needles, which are deliciously sweet

and Chris explains that they have in

fact previously brewed a beer with pine

needles, with great success.

Earlier in the day, we had wondered

how many potential ingredients we

could possibly find to brew beer with on

a remote Scottish island. But, as it turns

out, inspiration is all around us. Some of

the things we discover are completely

natural and wild and others have been

introduced by the island’s various

owners throughout the decades.

At the time of the house’s

construction, a single oak tree was

planted in the garden. Now some 152

years old, the old oak tree provides

shade in the summer and shelter in the

rain and we enjoy a shot of the swinging

seat suspended from its boughs. In 1974,

an ambitious tree-planting program was

undertaken on the island’s 300-acre

estate, bringing a vast array of different

species to the soil.

As it turns out, oak wood is a vital

ingredient for the restaurant and a

potential ingredient for our beers.

The chef takes us into a small brick

outbuilding set within the woods, where

the restaurant smokes all its own fish

and meat. By burning oak chips and

funnelling the resulting smoke through

a cabinet filled with metal racking, they

can offer a truly unique taste of Eriska

to their guests.

THE ISLE OF ERISKA VOYAGE

16 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 17


SEA SHORE

Walking through the hotel’s pristine

golf course, we head back towards

the pier where we originally landed on

the island. The shoreline is striped by

pebbles and sea shells of various sizes,

as well as rows of dark green sun-dried

seaweed that chart the daily ebb and

flow of the sea, casting these marine

plants ashore as a natural high water

mark.

Chef continually picks small plants,

many of which we have never heard of,

from between the pebbles at the top

of the shore, passing them around to

taste. As we board the pier, he scouts

the edges of the wooden walkway for

the most appealing sheets of sugar kelp.

More popularly known as kombu, thanks

to its prevalence in Japanese food,

this extremely nutritious and flavourful

seaweed is a regular feature on the

hotel’s menu.

As he reaches into the sparklingly

clean water, he explains that in fact

every other type of seaweed we can

see dancing in the currents is also

completely edible. The sugar kelp,

however, is a particular favourite. We all

enjoy a taste and marvel that none of

us had ever simply reached into the sea

and eaten its bounty like this before.

Enamoured by the beauty of the

setting, Alec later decides to take a dip

in the freezing waters, bobbing around

and no doubt sketching out the scene in

his artistic mind. Pete discovers an area

of thick clay, which he promptly applies

to his skin as a face mask, clearly taking

the island’s reputation for health-giving

rejuvenation to heart.

The chef explains that the waters

here are in fact so clean that a local lady

grows oysters a stone’s throw from here.

When the restaurant needs a supply,

they simply give her a call and she

plucks them out of the water to order.

Working with such fresh ingredients

comes with its own peculiar challenges,

of which most chefs will never

experience. “Being only a few hours out

of the water, the fish we get is usually

too fresh”, the chef explains. “The rigor

mortice hasn’t left the flesh and the

fish are too hard to handle”, requiring

some resting time before they can be

de-scaled and filleted.

THE COLLABORATION

Back in the cottage, we’re all completely

blown away by the things we have

just seen. To come to such a beautiful

place and learn about its history, flora

and fauna in the way we just have is an

experience we’ll no doubt remember

for a long time to come. But, for us, the

real work has only just begun. Somehow,

collectively, we need to distil what we

have just heard, seen and tasted into a

series of twelve recipes.

The clock is ticking and having enjoyed

a leisurely morning, it dawns on us that

we’re under a bit of pressure to pull

this all together by the end of the day.

The restaurant staff bring an urn of

homemade soup and basket of bread

to us and we crack open a few beers

for good measure. At first, we struggle

to come up with a way to split up the

recipes into a cohesive set of themes.

And then, it dawns on us. Each of our

three brewers should come up with one

recipe inspired by each of the four areas

of the island – the house, the kitchen

garden, the woods and the sea shore.

Eureka!

These guys are all absolute pros.

Watching them work out recipe concepts

together was like witnessing musicians

coming together to make music. Ideas

are thrown around, some are discounted

and others are added to, based on the

THE ISLE OF ERISKA VOYAGE

collective experience of the group. We’re

cooking with gas.

You don’t need me to tell you the

complete line-up of recipes that came

out of that day, since they each have

their own tasting notes elsewhere in this

edition. What was amazing to witness

was how many of the influences from the

island came to be an integral part of the

beers that we have created.

Nasturtiums, as discovered in the

kitchen garden, were used in Partizan’s

saison recipe. Chris even managed to

incorporate a touch of sugar kelp into his

fennel gose, bringing the necessary salty

notes to this slightly sour and refreshing

beer. Pete managed to bring inspiration

from the woods by adding oak chips

to his porter and Pat added a touch of

smoke malts to his Märzen, giving it a

flavour reminiscent of Eriska's smoke

house.

We end the day with a celebratory

feast in the restaurant, rediscovering

many of the foraged ingredients from a

new perspective. Retiring to the cottage

to soak in the hot tub together, we work

our way through the rest of the ‘beer

library’ as best we can. Chris performs

his wonderful poem for us amidst

the bubbles, providing the theatrical

conclusion to the trip that these magical

surroundings deserve.

18 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 19


Matt Johnson, Jordan Palmer and Patrick Jones

Everyone loves a pilot

When the invitation came

through, to take part in a

weekend of collaboration

on the remote Scottish island of Eriska,

Pilot brewer Pat Jones jumped at

the chance. Not because of the faint

promise of booze-soaked hijinks, cigars

and hot-tubs. No: Pat, the father of

a 14-month old boy, simply spied the

opportunity for a decent night’s sleep

and a lovely walk.

“Honestly, I went to bed at 11 both

nights. It was brilliant,” he says wistfully.

“I believe there was some debauchery,

led by the Beer52 guys and Pete Brown

from what I can gather, but I missed

that. So, I got up about 8am and had

a walk around the island, which was

beautiful. I was desperate to see an

otter in the wild though, and there was

a place called otter point, so I thought

right – here we go. I went down there,

thought I spotted one, and it was a

fucking statue! I was livid! What kind of

mean spirited person would do that?”

Pilot is a bona fide Edinburgh legend,

turning out some of the best Scottish

brews you will ever find on tap. Its

output may be relatively small and

restricted to keg for now, but its beers

have swiftly become a local staple,

appealing to craft beer lovers and those

simply looking for a great, drinkable

pint.

We meet Pat mid-brew in Pilot’s

tiny home, an unpromising industrial

20 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 21


EVERYONE LOVES A PILOT

unit in Edinburgh’s historical port area

of Leith. Three shiny new 2-hectolitre

fermentation vessels have been added

since I was last here, in addition to

the existing three 1-hectolitre vessels

that are now obviously showing their

age a little. Even the characteristically

understated Pat is clearly excited about

the new arrivals.

“When we just had these three tanks,

it was literally just Vienna Blonde and

Mocha Stout [Pilot’s most popular core

beers] all the time. We had all these

things that we wanted to do, but we

didn’t have the capacity to do them.

Having the new vessels means we can

brew the core beers on those and use

the three old tanks for specials.”

This stint of focusing on meeting

demand for its core beers was tough for

Pat and co-founder Matt Johnson, who

had got used to experimenting with one

style after another in the brewery’s early

days. But Pat says it has been useful

for them as brewers – forcing a level of

discipline and attention to detail that

had perhaps previously been lacking.

“A great example is the kettle sour

we’re brewing at the moment, which

Matt’s put a lot of work into,” he says.

“It’s dead easy to make a sour beer, but

to make one that’s only soured with

the strain of bacteria you want is more

challenging, and this is our first fullscale

attempt. Before we start sticking

fruit in or dry-hopping or anything

like that, we wanted to prove we

could make a nice clean sour, and this

absolutely hits the mark. Now we’ve

got this figured out, we can go on to be

more experimental, make things a bit

funky, but it’ll be on our terms.”

One of the things Pilot is best known

for is its long-standing commitment

to not filtering or fining its brews,

which Pat and Matt believe results

in more fulfilling, flavoursome and

textured beer. In Pilot’s early days,

this caused some problems, with one

highly respected Edinburgh beer and

whisky pub returning two kegs of

supposedly ‘faulty’ Vienna Pale. This

particular story has a happy ending

though; the same pub some time later

gave it another shot, sold seven kegs in

a weekend and now has it permanently

on tap.

While Pilot was the first Scottish

brewer to make a point of not filtering

or fining, the approach has become

much more in-vogue over the past

few years, to the point where some of

its beers might even be considered

insufficiently hazy for current tastes.

“It makes us laugh really,” observes

Pat. “We’ve never actually been that

fussed about the appearance. The

reason we stopped fining was because

we were drinking it out the tanks and it

was amazing, and then drinking it fined

at the pubs, and it just wasn’t right.

So we’re giving it longer conditioning

instead, which is more onerous on us

but gives better beer. The only problem

is that we’re brewing a New England IPA

at the moment, and it’s actually coming

out quite bright, which isn’t necessarily

what people expect.”

The new fermentation vessels aren’t

the only expansion on the cards for

Pilot, with the currently keg-only

brewery currently eyeing up smallpack,

as well as distribution beyond its

Scottish heartland.

“We’re already sending kegs to places

in London, Bristol, and a couple of other

cities – we do that through Brewdog. I

see there being a sweet spot that we’re

aiming for, size-wise; it’s certainly got

to be bigger than it is, hence the new

vessels and we’ve just taken on another

brewer. We want to get to a point where

were not personally coming in at 7am

and mashing in every day, but not to get

so big that we spend all our time in the

office with spreadsheets, or out on the

road selling it.”

This is a perennial problem for craft

breweries of a certain age; a tipping

point where factors from capacity and

distribution to duty and marketing mean

that, in Pat’s words, “you need to decide

whether to get much bigger or just not

bother”. One gets the strong sense

though that Pat and Matt have their

priorities straight and, even as Pilot

matures, they’ll continue to tread this

line with aplomb.

22 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 23


WORDS & PICTURES:

Richard Croasdale

Partizan has been a beloved

fixture of London’s Bermondsey

beer mile since the brewery was

founded by Andy Smith and Chris

Heaney in 2012. Its ever-changing range

of complex, balanced, often delicate

small-batch beers has earned Partizan

a stellar reputation, both among serious

beer connoisseurs and those simply

looking for flavoursome, drinkable

brews. Throw in the highly recognisable

label art of Alec Doherty, and you can

be sure that ordering a Partizan beer

will always earn you cachet among your

beer-drinking peers.

I’m excited to visit Partizan in its new

home just around the corner from the

established haunts of the beer mile.

Thankfully, it’s still in a railway arch

(Partizan simply wouldn’t be Partizan

without the periodic rumble of trains

overhead) but considerably larger than

its previous residence, with space for

extra kit, storage and even a proper

taproom. This will come as a relief to

anyone who frequented Partizan’s old

taproom, where you were essentially

either in the queue or in the car park.

The fit-out is about 90% complete

when I arrive, and Andy is pulling a

pallet of empty keykegs in from the

front yard. It’s a really great space,

with the wide arch of the taproom

separating out into two smaller arches

UNDERNEATH

THE ARCHES

toward the back, one of which contains

the brewhouse, and the other storage

and office space. The whole thing

is lined with white corrugated steel

and minimalist chipboard (which also

forms the taproom furniture). In the

very centre, at the point where the two

smaller arches join, is a horseshoeshaped

bar, topped with four brilliantly

colourful, bespoke fonts, again

designed by Alec Doherty.

Despite having opened to a few

guests the previous Saturday, Andy

explains he and the team are still

working hard to get fully back up

to speed. “We’re still finding our

feet a little,” he says. “There’s stuff

everywhere, and we’re low on stock

just now. We’re just waiting for the new

chilling unit and two extra fermenters

to arrive, and then we’ll get the stock

back up quite quickly.”

One of the main reasons for the

We’re still quite small;

we want to maintain a

small staff

move is to accommodate a doubling

of the brewery’s capacity. Although it’s

had a 20-hectolitre brewkit for some

time, its meagre three fermentation

vessels essentially limited Partizan

to one or two brews each week. With

three larger FVs now in place though,

and another two to come, plus a small

mobile bottling line, the plan is to shift

up to two or three brews a week soon.

That said though, Andy has some very

definite views on growth and the kind

of brewery he sees Partizan being.

“That’ll put us up to twice the

capacity, but we’re still quite small; we

want to maintain a small staff. I see lots

of other breweries growing and you

seem to get to this magic number of

eight staff. Up to that point you’re all

on a team and then you get to nine and

you’re suddenly two teams. You can

make that work, but you need strong

management and regular meetings so

distance doesn’t grow between the

office team and the brewery team,”

he says.

As exciting as the new premises is

though, I’m keen to talk beer. One of the

things that has always attracted me to

Partizan’s style is its apparent reluctance

to aggressively push a heavily branded

range of crowd-pleasing core beers,

preferring instead to experiment and

vary its most popular styles with small

tweaks to the recipes. Andy confirms

this was a conscious decision and is a

24 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 25


UNDERNEATH THE ARCHES

core part of the brewery’s philosophy.

“We’re not anti-brand, but we never

want to get trapped in to doing just

the same things over and over,” Andy

continues. “I’ve always felt that if you

start becoming a brand-led drinker, you

only engage with the brand and not

really the drinks. For example, where

I grew up all the clubs did Red Stripe

deals, so now if I’m buying a beer for

the park, I just grab a Red Stripe out

the fridge. And I know why, but I still

do it. It works!

“But we never wanted people to

choose our beer just because we’d done

some clever branding exercise or a

partnership deal or anything like that.

We change the artwork all the time and

the recipes in the beers; even the basic

styles that we keep coming back to, we’ll

try and mix them up a bit with different

ingredients.”

While you could never accuse

Partizan of being gimmicky, its extensive

range of brews has certainly included

some creative and unusual concoctions.

Sometimes the guys take inspiration

from classic flavour combinations

– recent saisons include lemon and

thyme, and rose and lychee – and

sometimes from their extensive interests

and contacts, both within the beer

world and further afield.

Andy says: “I like looking into other

industries; it’s really nice to meet those

people and to find ways of working

with them. I think it’s really hard to

do collaborations in beer without

rehashing, as people will generally

reach straight for an IPA or a DIPA. It’s

becoming a bit homogenous. So it’s nice

to look outside beer.

“For example, we recently worked

with a tea company to create an iced

tea beer, but it’s about processes as

much as ingredients; we might think

it’s good to put coffee beans in the boil,

but someone else might be getting an

interesting character another way. By

finding out what the coffee guys are

doing, that might feed back into what

we’re doing here. It’s generally more

interesting and feels more like a genuine

collaboration and less like a crossbranding

opportunity.”

These collaborations often happen

quite organically, and are based on

a shared passion or good personal

relationship. One good example of

this was the beer Partizan produced

with Alex Kratena of the Artesian Bar;

Andy and Alex realised they both

really enjoyed negroni cocktails so set

out to create a negroni beer. While

the negroni itself is a relatively simple

cocktail, Campari – a key ingredient –

has over 30 ingredients of its own, all of

which had to be sourced to achieve the

authentic character the pair wanted.

“I’d never even heard of some of

these things, because they just don’t get

used in beer,” Andy recalls. “Tree bark

for the bitterness, chinotto oranges…

and then there was the carmine, which

is a red dye derived from crushed

cochineal beetles. That was awful,

because it comes freeze dried, so we

then had to rehydrate and pasteurise it.

Everyone keeps asking us to make that

beer again, but we just remember the

smell of boiling blood in the brewery.”

Until the new chilling kit is in, there

are only two FVs currently full, hooked

up to a temporary chiller. One contains

a pale ale (stocks of which are seriously

Everyone keeps asking us

to make that beer again,

but we just remember the

smell of boiling blood

low) and the other a collaboration

DIPA with California’s Modern Times

(see Ferment #20). Despite not being

a fan of “that American import thing

of big, bold aggressive flavours” Andy

is very happy with the well-balanced

8% juice bomb currently in the final

stages of fermentation. Even from the

uncarbonated sneak preview, it’s not

hard to see why.

“This is our 420th batch of beer [a

significant number in cannabis culture,

though nobody can quite remember

why] so we decided to mark that by

making a very dank beer. Modern Times

seemed like the perfect partner for that,

and it’s been so much fun working with

them. We’ve got some interesting ideas

for the launch; for example I’m talking

to a good friend who works in cocktails,

about the possibility of serving it with

vaporised hop oils that will look like

smoke.”

Andy is obviously keen to get back up

to full production, but also to welcome

drinkers into the new space, not only to

enjoy the lovely new bar, but possibly

also to look around the brewery itself.

“We’d love people to feel like they

know us,” he says. “And I think seeing

the brewery and talking to the staff here

will really help with that engagement.

Of course people will still come in

and ask for the closest thing to lager,

or blindly order the pale ale without

looking at the board, but I think if we

get the chance to talk to them about

what we’re doing, they could get a lot

more out of it.”

26 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 27


WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS:

ALEC

DOHERTY

Richard Croasdale meets

the man behind more than

450 instantly recognizable

Partizan beer labels

For a brewery that eschews glossy

self-promotion in all its forms,

Partizan has one of the most

recognizable visual styles in the craft

beer world. This is thanks in no small

part to the striking illustrations of Alec

Doherty, who has been a part of the

Partizan story since before the brewery

was founded in 2012.

With a studio in London’s

fashionable Dalston area, Alec is very

much a member of the extended

Partizan team. Having been interested

in drawing his whole life, Alec took a

degree in graphic design at Leeds, but

was encouraged by one of his tutors,

Mick Marsden, to focus on illustration.

Finding a job as an illustrator once

he had graduated was far from easy

though, so Alec worked for three years

as a graphic designer. “I didn’t enjoy it,

and probably wasn’t very good at it,” he

admits.

His fortunes changed after a

conversation with one of his old

Leeds uni friends, Andy Smith,

who was at the time planning

to open his own brewery and

needed some basic branding.

“Andy needed someone to do the

labels, and I suspect he probably

thought ‘who do I know who’s arty and

probably failing?’ That’s how it started,”

he jokes. “It started off really quite

differently; I was going to do something

quite plain and simple, basically a logo,

and then leave it at that. It wasn’t going

to be an ongoing thing. And then Andy

said ‘can you try just putting some

drawings on there instead?’

As well as being great fun, the

formula of a constantly changing set of

visually striking illustrations suited the

way Partizan was brewing at the time,

as Alec explains.

They were brewing a few times

a week and changing it every brew.

You’re never going to get consistency

at that scale, so they were really asking

‘what’s good and fresh right now? We’ll

get some raspberries and hops and

yeast we’ve borrowed from The Kernel’

and brew it like that. We wanted to

show that in the labels, so every one

is different; at one point I was doing

three of them every week! So there’s

probably about 450 labels, something

like that.”

Alec says it’s great working closely

with Andy and his team, but also to

have so much creative freedom to

interpret the beers in any way he

chooses. Although they’ve never set

parameters within which Alec

has to work, there are certain

themes he chooses to return to.

For example, the illustrations

for Partizan’s pale ales are

I’m still learning and

exploring, and my style

changes with that.

always themed around New Orleans

and in particular Mardi Gras; a shared

fascination of both Alec and Andy.

“I like to think that people who are

regular patrons of Partizan might have

little things they can pick up on in the

labels. Sometimes it’ll be stuff that’s in

the news, or issues that we think are

important. Like when Rik Mayall died

we did a label for him. Or when the

brewery got a new cat, we did a label

for that.

The great thing for me is that it’s not

consistent, so I’m always changing the

way I think about how I work. When

you develop these house styles, you’ve

got to apply that every time, but I’m

still learning and exploring, and my

style changes with that. So it’s really

good to feel like I’m progressing, and

really good that Partizan have allowed

me to do that. It’s a great relationship.”

Although he’d always enjoyed beer

and interesting label art, Alec says his

first love (and ambition) was record

sleeve design; proper 12-inch vinyl

sleeves, that he would sit and dissect

with his friends as a teenager.

“I was really interested in how the

artwork has an influence on how you

perceive the music and vice versa.

That had really quite a big influence

on a few of us growing up who were

interested in graphic design or

illustration. So when I first started

thinking I might want to do something

like this I thought I might want to do

record sleeves.

“But now I think there’s a parallel

between sleeves and beer labels; the

format is similar because it’s print,

and you’re also doing something

that’s functional, but also for people’s

pleasure. That’s a great thing isn’t it? I

see people with lots of different beer

labels, including my own sometimes,

drinking a beer, looking at it, reading

something into it. Now it’s my favourite

kind of work to do.”

28 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 29


We are sailing

WORDS: Louise Crane

Images: unsplash.com/@enrapture

n the ancient days of hunting and

gathering, beer was a happy accident of

leftover dough, or the juice of a sugary

crop left out in the sun. The beer was your

beer, the yeast was your… well, funky foamy

stuff. When you met another groups of

humans, your hooch was a welcoming gift, as

theirs was in turn. Very quickly, beer passed

from being a hyper-local product to one that

was a cornerstone of trade between peoples.

As we Britons travelled further and further

in pursuit of the vast oceans and what lay

beyond them, we built ships, and discovered

the East, and then the New World, and beer

became a truly global product. And from this

came stories of how beers made it out into the

world, the tales passed between sailors in the

cramped hull of a gently rocking ship.

The shipment of beer around the world

has played a huge role not only in the spread

and evolution of various beer styles, but

in the story of empires. The Romans were

introduced to the delights of beer by the

Gauls in the first century BCE, transported

in wooden barrels bound with metal hoops (a

Celtic invention). Without viniculture in their

conquered regions, Romans took to the beer

of natives. But in turn, the Gauls turned to

wine and it was only the Celts who remained

in Ireland who brought their own style of beer

back to the continent.

IPA is perhaps the most famous of all the

beers that have sailed on the seven seas.

Strong, dry and bitter, it has all the qualities

a beer needs to stop it from getting ‘seasick’.

The hops in particular aid preservation over

the long voyage, as does the high abv. It is a

myth, though, that it was created especially to

survive the four month voyage to India around

the Cape of Good Hope. Its invention is often

attributed to the eighteenth century George

Hodgson of the Bow brewery east of London,

but many others were brewing a style that

could last the journey to India, and further,

long before him. The 1768 publication Every

Man His Own Brewer gives a recipe for two

hogsheads of October “malt wine” with six

and a half pounds of hops per eight bushels

of malt to ensure “a year’s keeping”. And at

about 7%, it’s equal to porter, a popular style

of the Georgian times.

It is true that Hodgson’s “October wine”

made its way to India. His brewery was near

the docks of the East Indiamen, a convenient

place when the ships’ captains needed a beer

to sell alongside the rest of their goods bound

for the East. Many other styles were shipped

to India, and survived, as the journal of Joseph

30 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 31


BEER SCHOOL: A HISTORY OF EXPORT AND TRANSPORT

Banks shows. Writing on board the

Endeavour with Captain Cook in

the South Pacific, on August 25 1769,

he says:

“It was this day a twelvemonth since

we left England, in consequence of

which a peice [sic] of cheshire cheese

was taken from a locker where it had

been reservd for this occasion and

a cask of Porter tappd which provd

excellently good, so that we livd like

English men and drank the hea[l]ths of

our freinds in England.”

Hodgson’s October stock ale

experienced a happy accident in

the hull of the transport ships. The

climate, the weather at sea and the

pressure inside the ship created a

microcosmic atmosphere that rapidly

aged the beer. What would have taken

two years in a cellar took four months

on board. Add to this the secondary

fermentation that took place at sea,

and Hodgson had a style that was

extremely popular and frequently

imitated. Powerful parties in the East

India trade invited the brewers of

Burton upon Trent to try brewing

pale ales for India after the Hodgsons’

attempts to strengthen their grip on the

foreign beer trade around 1820-1822,

which led to a great develop of bitter

ales in Britain. By 1824, pale ales for

India were being brewed not only in

London and Burton, but Edinburgh too.

The assertion English brewers were

very eager to break into the Indian

market is less credible, however.

Exports at the start of the 19th century

were less than half a percent of

the beer brewed in London. Of his

approximately 9,000 barrels a year,

Hodgson distributed half to eager

Indian customers. His success is

probably down to the location of his

brewery, close to the East Indiamen

ship docks, rather than anything to

do with a unique style. That, and he

allowed the ships’ captains 18

months credit on the beer they

bought from him.

For a while in the 18th century,

Samuel Allsopp exported his beer

to Russia, in a bilateral agreement

that saw him obtain strong wood for

his Burton brewery’s barrels. But the

Napoleonic wars put paid to trade

in the Baltic, and when it was set to

recommence, the Russian court took

measures to encourage a home-grown

brewing industry by slapping expensive

duties on imported beer. Allsopp

needed a new market, and cast his

eye to India. Sitting down with one

of the East India Company directors,

Campbell Majoribanks, they hatched

a plan to introduce a new beer to the

Indian market, one that tasted like

Hodgson’s, but that was from Burton.

The gamble paid off when Allsopp’s

beer arrived in perfect condition, and

soon many Burton brewers followed

suit, flooding what was previously

Hodgson’s monopoly market.

After conquering the Indian market,

pale ale spread to America, Australia

and South-East Asia, as well as

becoming popular with men returning

home from India. But the advent of

refrigeration meant this popularity was

short-lived. By the late 19th century

cold, crisp lagers were much more

popular than before, especially in the

tropics where they could be brewed

locally all year round. Immigrants to

America also brought with them the

lager style, and IPA fizzled out until the

most recent decades when there has

been something of a revival beginning

from the few breweries that continued

making the authentic style: Deuchars in

Edinburgh, Ballantines in New Jersey

and Greene King in Suffolk. Ballantines

in particular continued with their

strong and heavily hopped pale ale,

which had a huge part to play when the

craft beer movement sprang up in the

1980s and gave IPA its second turn in

the spotlight, this time from America

outwards.

While there were happy accidents

at sea, such as the secondary

fermentation of pale ale, there were

also unhappy ones. In March 1962, The

Lady Gwendolen set off from Dublin

carrying a cargo of 642 tons of stout

bound for Liverpool. Nearing the end

of her voyage and at a speed of ten

knots amidst a blanket of fog, The

Lady Gwendolen struck the starboard

side of a nine-man motor boat called

‘Freshfield’. The impact caused the

smaller vessel to list violently to port,

before the ship sank to the bottom of

the River Mersey (all nine lives were

saved by their captain’s timely order

of “Abandon ship!”). The captain of

the offending ship, Captain Cecil

Henry Meredith, was suspended for

six months by the Dublin Court and

fined £250 for “navigating his vehicle

at excessive speed in fog”. The brewers

who hired the ship for transport were

found to be negligent and liable for

the costs of the wreckage. Their name?

Arthur Guinness Son & Co Ltd.

Guinness is a great story of how

a local beer became a worldwide

phenomenon. To begin this tale, we

travel back to New Year’s Eve, 1759.

Arthur Guinness had just signed a

9,000 year lease for St. James’s Gate

brewery, in the city of Dublin. Ten

years later, he shipped six-and-a-half

barrels of ale to Great Britain. But

it wasn’t until 1778 that he first sold

the dark porter that we all know.

Throughout the bulk of its history,

Guinness produced only three

variations of a single beer type: porter

or single stout, double or extra stout,

‘West Indian’ Porter, which became

their modern day Foreign Extra Stout.

By the 1820s they were shipping to

Portugal, South Carolina and New York

in the USA, Barbados and Sierra

Leone, Africa.

Nowadays Guinness is brewed

under licence by several countries

including Nigeria, the Bahamas,

Canada, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda,

South Korean, Namibia and Indonesia.

The Foreign Extra stout style is brewed

using hopped wort that is shipped from

Dublin and blended with beer brewed

locally. Some areas, like Nigeria, add

local ingredients like sorghum. Several

percentage abv stronger than Guinness

Original, Foreign Extra wasn’t made

available in the UK until the 1990s,

when it was shipped back for sale for

the first time.

Even today, transport by sea

continues to shape the beer world, as

modern craft beer enthusiasts wake up

to the idea that freshness really does

make a perceptible difference, and that

certain styles will make the long journey

across the Atlantic better than others.

While it has always been seen as a

challenge to brewers though, the ocean

has also been a key factor in shaping

some of today’s most popular styles,

and continues to be so.

32 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 33


NATURE’S

Bounty

Richard Croasdale

looks at the tradition

and practice of

foraging in beer,

and seeks advice on

creating your own

foraged brews

Beer and the practice of foraging

for wild ingredients go way back.

Before farming and organised

cultivation, and long before the science

and art of brewing was laid down and

defined, our ancestors were taking

what they needed from the land and

using it in their fermented drinks.

Indeed, the time during which beer

hasn’t included foraged ingredients

is relatively short, and the current

practice of using only cultivated grain a

historical anomaly.

Because the truth is that farming,

foraging and brewing have happened

side-by-side for millennia, as Monica

Wilde, foraging teacher and research

herbalist explains.

“We started farming in Scotland

6000-8000 years ago,” she says. “But

that doesn’t mean we suddenly gave

up foraging. For thousands of years,

farming simply meant the ability to

gather and store winter calories so you

didn’t starve to death. But people still

went out and foraged for plants for

taste and for nutrition – the two things

happened side-by-side.

“So it was only when people

migrated into the cities in large

numbers that foraging wasn’t part

of their diet. Probably people in the

middle of London from the 1500s

onwards. So, the period when we

weren’t foraging as well as farming has

actually been quite short.”

But why? Today we tend to see

any additions to our beer as being

primarily about taste and character, yet

for much of its history the inclusion of

foraged ingredients was as much about

the purported health benefits. In much

the same way as tisane teas provide a

herbal remedy for specific moods and

ailments, our ancestors would once

have brewed beer for health, often

with the aim of generally strengthening

the constitution.

“Beer wasn’t ever used as a major

cure, but it was seen as a way of

maintaining general heath. Even very

recently, stout was the first thing given

to a woman after she’d given birth

and during breastfeeding. A lot of

the popular recipes would have been

seen as good for cleansing your blood

or stimulating your liver… They might

not have been able to explain the

mechanism, but our ancestors would

have been quite sophisticated in terms

of which part of the body it affected

and what effect it had.”

Traditionally, foraging (like brewing)

would have been something ordinary

people did to provide for themselves

and their families. Knowledge of what

is good at specific times of the year –

knowledge which is now lost to many of

us – would have been key to this.

“It’s not just the species of plant

that are seasonal, but also which parts

of the plant you should harvest at

different times of the year,” explains

Monica. “Most plants will give you

three or four yields: leaf, flower, seed

and root. An oak leaf picked in May

and one picked just before autumn are

going to be quite different. Likewise, if

you harvest young roots in the spring

they’re quite light, whereas the ones

with the most flavour are first-year

roots picked around the autumn,

around the time of the first frosts.

“Think about it from the point of

view of the plant’s own energy. In the

Spring, the energy is going into the

leaf, so that’s the tastiest part. Then

it moves onto reproduction and the

stems become fibrous. You’ve then got

the flowers that are at the sweetest

and tastiest when they’re trying to

attract bees. Then the seed, and as

the winter comes the seeds lose their

flavour, and then the energy - and the

flavour - returns to its roots.”

Foraged ingredients are

a great way to create an

unusual character

Foraged ingredients are making a

comeback in brewing though, with

ingredients like hogweed and even

seaweed (Monica is a great advocate

of the health benefits of seaweed)

finding their way into experimental

craft beers. While not all historical

foraged beers would have been fullbodied,

grain-based brews – many

Victorian recipes consist of herbs,

refined sugar and yeast – these

ingredients can be used as an additive

to impart unusual flavours and aromas

to various conventional beer styles.

Monica is an avid home brewer, and

says that anyone can experiment with

foraged ingredients in their own beers,

usually added alongside (or in place of)

hops during the boil. Nettles, ground

ivy (also known as ale leaf, for obvious

reasons) yarrow and bitter horehound

are all abundant and good places to

start. Most people can also identify

elder, the flowers of which are great

for adding to lager, while the berries

work well in ales. Even some kitchen

herbs such as borage and calendula

add an interesting extra dimension to a

home brew.

The great thing about beer is

that there are no rules, and foraged

ingredients are a great way to create

an unusual character. Even if there

are ingredients that you want to

experiment with, but the season is

wrong, you can buy packets of dried

herbs which work well. I’d obviously

love to see foraging bought back into

our beer culture, as it’s a great aspect

of brewing tradition that we’d

almost completely lost sight of.”

34 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 35


Water, water,

everywhere

Magdalena Rahn visits

the tiny volcanic island

of Panetelleria, to meet

the brewer who is plying

his craft in some pretty

unique conditions

Leandro Greco

Cars honk before every corner

they approach. The sun, bright

against the faded orange-pink

buildings, magnifying the gnarly cacti,

is warm. The sky is vast, a bank of

cumulus clouds making its way over

the land, spectacular. At the shore, the

wind makes waves crash over midmorning

bathers out on the igneous

volcanic rocks beyond a deserted

building. The dust on my shoes is

black.

This is Pantelleria, a dot in the

ocean, halfway between mainland

Sicily and Tunisia. There are perhaps

7000 permanent residents on its

83 square kilometers, which boasts

a summer tourist scene, many

abandoned buildings and terrains, and

grapevines everywhere. Crucially, there

is no natural source of potable water.

This is the island to which Leandro

Greco decided to return, thanks to

a wedding gift. A bewildered friend

didn’t know what to get him, and

ended up buying a home brew kit.

Today, Leandro is the founder and

owner of Italy’s southern-most brewery,

La Panteska. We’re sitting in his tidy

tasting room, opened in the summer of

2017 – “We launched our brewery on

14 August, Ferragosto, Assumption,” he

points out — laughing over the courtesy

of fate.

Born and raised on Pantelleria, he

was working in IT here before getting

transferred to Siena in 2012. At the

time of his marriage, in late 2014,

he was still working in computer

technology in northern Italy. In Siena,

he shared a flat with the man who

has since become his brother-in-law.

Gianni Belvisi, who – along with being

an accomplished jazz pianist – is the

other half of La Panteska, “didn’t know

what had hit him when I told him that

we were going to start making beer”.

“My first question was ‘Why?’,”

Gianni says. “Until then, I’d only ever

drunk industrial beer. It opened up a

new world.”

They went from kit to whole grain,

buying everything from the internet,

and started studying up on techniques.

Friends of theirs at a brewpub in Siena,

Birrificio La Diana, took them in for an

apprenticeship.

“From as early as 2014, we got the

idea to return to Pantelleria and make

beer. It was a combination of two loves:

for brewing, and for nostra terra, our

homeland,” Leandro says. “When we

started to make beer with whole grain,

we got the idea to make a beer with

zibibbo. The goal is for the beer to

reflect the island, and its origins.”

The terraced vineyards across

the island are turning yellow-greenorange.

Zibibbo, also called muscat

d’Alexandria, is the flagship grape

here on Pantelleria; its best-known

wine is the complexly sweet Passito

di Pantelleria. Harvest is in the first

half of September. Head-trained low

to the ground, to better withstand

the massive winds that batter the

island, the bushy vines grow in what

is called ad alberello, “in a little tree

shape”. Unesco recognised this as a

heritage practice in 2014. Almost every

household outside of the centre of

the island’s hamlets has a few acres of

vines.

At La Panteska, the zibibbo grapes

come from various local farmers.

The vineyards that I visit at Gibbiuna

are terraced on the slopes of a valley.

I’ve stopped here for a specific reason:

across from a sign bleached by the sun,

there is a copse of oaks that hides four

parallel, hexagonal troughs. These are

coffins, thought to be from the island’s

Byzantine period (6th–9th century AD).

The earliest examples of the

traditional house of the island, the

dammuso, date to the beginning of

that era, says Peppe D’Aietti, perhaps

the foremost specialist on Pantelleria’s

archaeological history. (He’s also a

dedicated trekker.) The slightly domed

roof causes rainwater to flow into roof

drains that lead to cisterns, from which

people can drink. Today, such roofs

tend to be a stylistic feature.

Traces of human passage dating

back to the Neolithic Age can be

36 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 37


WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE

found on this volcanic Mediterranean

island.

Visible to the modern casual

observer are remains of the Mursia

settlement. Anna Lucia Almanza,

a Pantelleria native and sometimes

archaeological tourguide, took me to

this Bronze Age (1800 BC) village,

explaining how stones were arranged

to form houses, how the Sesioti people

obtained water from brackish springs,

how the megalithic tombs – called sesi

– had to be built above ground because

the ground was solid rock. We stroll

through a field of about 70 of them.

Wild olive trees drop ripe fruit onto

the ground.

Later, Anna Lucia takes me to

the Roman ruins of Acropoli di San

Marco e Santa Teresa, where we

discuss water collection, cistern

plastering techniques and survival here

throughout the ages.

Water is a question that I pose again,

a few days later, to Peppe. In the past,

he says, the brackish springs, locally

called buvire, were channelled into

cisterns where the heavier salt water

would sink, and the drinkable water

would rise. People could then fetch

water from the upper layer.

In a few places, where fumaroles still

pump out damp steam from cracks in

the earth, people figured out ways to

condense the vapour and used it for

livestock.

Nowadays, tap water is freely

available, thanks to local desalination

plants, and possibly potable – of all

the people whom I’ve asked about its

potability, each has given a different

answer. I’ve been drinking it for the

past four weeks and am still thriving.

(But don’t let anyone here know.)

The water used at La Panteska is

filtered on-site, to assure purity. They

brew a total of 4000–5000 litres of

their two ales a month: the Weissbierinspired

Venere, named for the island’s

famous thermal lake, and the amber

Zibirra, brewed with those laboriously

dried zibibbo grapes. The German

Hallertau hops in the Zibirra highlight

the subtle perfume of the uva passa

di zibibbo. Ninety per cent of their

beer is sold at island venues, like Pub

del Borgo.

Roberto D’Aietti, who co-owns the

Pub del Borgo with his brother Franco,

was the best man in Leandro’s wedding

August 2016. “La Panteska is different

than most beers,” says Marcella D’Aietti,

bar manager, explaining that when

people come in, given the brewery’s

limited distribution, they don’t heed

it initially. “We ask them what they

want, and tell them about La Panteska.

Usually they end up ordering it.”

When La Panteska went live, it

already had five accounts lined up.

Community is a beautiful thing.

Luca Farina, a northern Italy native

and more recent resident of Pantelleria,

learnt about the beer through a

colleague, Gianni’s father. He’s stopped

by the tasting room while Leandro and

I are talking to pick up some bottles

for dinner. “It was a big surprise,” Luca

says, “especially the Zibirra. Zibibbo

has a familiar, intense taste that’s close

to my heart.”

Tourists love it because it’s the only

local beer, and, for now, can only be

found here.

Leandro would like to expand,

and is considering participation

in a beer festival in Rome in the

spring that draws professionals and

consumers. Today, it’s Gianni and he

who share in doing everything, from

recipe development, to bottling, to

cleaning, to delivery. “We don’t have a

commercial network or sales staff,” he

says. “It’ll go slowly.”

Now, going into the first winter

season, they will be able to take a short

breath and continue planning the next

steps. And if sales and word-of-mouth

continue to grow as they have so far,

Leandro and Gianni should be in

for even more positive brewing

adventures.

Anna Lucia Almanza’s

ISLAND RECOMMENDATIONS

RESTAURANTS

I Giardini dei Rodo between Scàuri

& Rekhale

igiardinideirodo.it / +39 334 141 4002

TO DO

A tour around the island in a boat,

which can include underwater

archaeology at Cala Gadir

Gianni Belvisi’s

ISLAND RECOMMENDATIONS

RESTAURANTS

Ristorante Il Dammuso (his family’s

place!) in Pantelleria–hamlet

www.facebook.com/

dammusoristorante

+39 (0)923 911234

TO DO

Hiking the trail Sentiero di Passo del

Vento from Sibà

Peppe D’Aietti’s

ISLAND RECOMMENDATIONS

TO DO

The thermal lake Lago Specchio di

Venere

The prehistoric Villaggio di Mursia

and sesi sites

RESTAURANTS

La Vela in Scàuri

+39 (0)923 916566

Osteria Il Principe e Il Pirata in Punta

Kharaçe

www.principeepirata.it/en

BARS / CAFFÈ

La Nicchia sul Mare in Pantelleria–

hamlet

www.lanicchia.it / +39 (0)923 912750

Le Cale between Cala Tramontana &

Cala Levante

+39 (0)923 915451

www.lapanteska.it

38 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 39


MODERN

This month, Ollie has his

own personal housing crisis

’ve written about many things in

my life. That’s right, many things. I

described in a few sentences what

my pasta collage was all about when I

was seven. I scribed an epic two sides

of A4 covering, in detail, “My Perfect

Day” when I was 11. When I hit my

examination years, my creative

writing exam challenged me to write

about “The room you are sitting in”,

at the time a 1960’s freezing cold

gymnasium with coloured lines on

the wooden floor that made no

sense. Like I said, I’ve written about

many things, but I have never written

about anything quite so inane, dull,

uninteresting, monotonous and

tedious as moving house.

Flick through almost any

newspaper (who actually does that,

print is dead*) and somewhere

buried in the ink seeped pages will

be multiple articles, advertorials, ads

and pull-outs all covering homes,

housing and moving house. If you’re

like most people, you just peek at

this briefly wondering how on God’s

earth anyone can afford a £3.2 million

stately home just outside Surrey.

But if you take time to read the

spaff, you’ll quickly find it’s as dull as

dishwater.

But for the last three weeks moving

house has consumed my life and, with

it, any other vaguely interesting thing

that I may have been thinking about.

It is something that, at some point in

our lives, we all have to do.

Depending on which “facts about

moving” article you read, the average

person will move three times before

they are 45 or five times before they

are 30. I know, bad stats. The point

is, we all do it, and we all hate it. It’s

expensive: the average move costs

roughly £9000, with the average

person moving eight times in their

lifetime (another bad stat). That’s

£72,000 you’ll spend on moving

house throughout your life, and that’s

not even taking into account the lost

days at work, the lost years on your

life through stress or the cost of

losing stuff in the move.

My move has been made all the

more painful by the fact that I rent

rather than own. I am one of those

millennials that estate agent Strutt

and Parker said could save £33,000

a year by giving up coffee, takeaways

and the gym. Good one. Statistically,

as a reader of this magazine, you are

likely to be a millennial; a me, a gymgoing,

take away-scoffing, flat whitegulping,

mobile-upgrading socialite

who should just pipe down for five

years to save the £33,000 needed to

plop a deposit on a house.

And I’m here to tell you, from

my recent experience, if you can’t

afford a house, don’t bother saving

up for a deposit. What’s that going

to achieve? We are obsessed with

home ownership in this country,

and it is becoming a problem. The

generation before us saw housing

as an investment, not something

everyone should be entitled to. An

actual fucking money tree that grew

faster than Japanese knotweed. It

gobbled up the market, pricing out

your average Joes and Janes. As of

March, house prices were 7.6 times

more than the average salary, up

256% from 1997, when they were just

3.6 times the average salary. How the

hell are we supposed to keep up with

that? We don’t get paid enough. In

that same period salaries rose only

68% and our jobs are less secure. On

top of all of that we are expected to

pay though the arse for rent.

Giving up coffee and eating fewer

sandwiches isn’t going to solve the

problem. Rent control and building

decent, affordable housing is. Do that

though, and that £3.2 million country

house outside Surrey begins to look

a little ridiculous and loses its value.

Landlords’ rent income drops and

all of a sudden those investments

become less meaningful. And

rightly so. Bricks and mortar are an

essential. They are a necessity, not a

money-making device that you just

treat as a cash machine.

There’s a lot to get depressed

about isn’t there? And as you can

probably tell I’ve been thinking about

this a lot while putting together flat

pack furniture and trying to work

out the boiler. But it’s not all awful. I

mean, we have a house. A lovely one

too. And along the way you stumble

across things you forgot you had.

Old photos, school reports and that

cable you’ve been looking for since

2013. FFS.

But do you know the best bit? The

part I’m most looking forward to?

Simple. Joining the gym I’ll never use

and trying out all the new takeaways

and coffee shops that are just around

the corner. It’ll be the best £33,000 I

ever spend.

*The exception being this

publication which has identified a

model in which print can thrive once

more! (Gizza pay rise ed)

40 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 41


M H Site Maintenance Services Ltd

Phone: 07971 241 219

Email: mhsitemaintenance@yahoo.co.uk

MH Site Maintenance Services Ltd is an engineering company based in the High Peak and has

been trading for over 3 years now, providing all aspects of mechanical and electrical

engineering services to the factory and quarrying sector.

We hold green ag status following the regular auditing process by P.I.C.S./Avetta and we are

an extremely Health & Safety conscious company with regular training for all our staff.

All of our staff are time served engineers with a considerable amount of experience within the

quarrying industry, food processing industry, brewery industry and also production line and

general factory maintenance with all of our staff holding current 'SPA' passports to Safety and

NPORS operator cards for machines such as Tele-handlers and mobile elevated work

platforms.

Seasonal

BEERS

Our Services include:

Full design, fabrication and installation:

Our dedicated and fully qualied electrical team are also able to undertake

design, installation, test and inspection of our own installations ensuring

you are legally compliant.

For any inquiries, please contact us at either

mhsitemaintenance@yahoo.co.uk or via our offices on 01298 26891

Website: coming soon

· Of fermenting tank set ups

· Galvanised access platform

· Walkways

· Structural steelwork

· Meanine oors

· Security fencing and gates

· Bespoke stainless steel and hygienic brewery hose pipe work systems

· Hygienic oor/wall coverings and drainage

· Refrigeration and cold stores

· All building works including new build

· Sheeting and cladding

· Compressed air systems

· Ducting Work

· Plumbing and tiling

We have recently concluded a complex project managed by MH Site Maintenance that has developed our existing site over four phases: External and internal high level

walkways for fermenter tank access, internal re-working of visitor facilities and hospitality area, various service and infrastructure improvements and external

groundworks and building modications.

With the holidays upon us, it’s time to get brewing and no there are

no better gifts for Christmas than beers! They are also perfect for

sharing with family and friends or just enjoying a few (too many) ourselves.

Christmas beers as a style are generally

spiced or fruit beers however, the base beer

style will vary depending on the climate

you are brewing (northern vs. southern

hemisphere). Christmas beers are delicious

to consume over the holiday period but

are also equally useful in holiday dishes to

enhance and compliment flavours. There

are many commercial versions that become

available at this time of year and many of

these flavour combinations can be achieved

yourself in your homebrew. The common

feature of the best Christmas beers, are that

INGREDIENTS

they are a great beer first and foremost and

then spiced or fruited secondly in a way that

subtly compliments the base beer.

When pairing food and beer we are

looking to have the individual components

of the beer or dish interact in a synergistic

fashion, in order to enhance the experience

of both the beer and the food at the same

time. The easiest form of these interactions

is called complimentary pairing. Successful

complimentary pairing identifies the

common flavours and their intensity

between the beer and the dish.

roughout the project, MH has been on-hand to project manage, aid and assist with procuring materials, liaise with various trades and to make

sure that all phases have run smoothly, on schedule and in budget. We are now set to move forward with our planned escalation in production

volumes and to welcome visitors to the brewery for tours and tastings. I would wholeheartedly recommend MH to any clients looking for a great

working partnership to develop an existing operation or to commence a new enterprise. Geoff Quinn, Founder and MD; Buxton Brewery Co.


Winter Christmas beers are generally a stronger, darker,

spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish,

suggesting a good accompaniment for the cold winter

season and also may include holiday spices, speciality

sugars, and other products that are reminiscent of mulling

spices or Christmas holiday desserts. Some commercial

examples are; Anchor Our Special Ale, Goose Island

Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Harpoon Winter

Warmer, Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager Beer, Weyerbacher

Winter Ale.

For winter seasonal beers, generally darker strong ales

are used for the base beer (e.g. porters, stouts and barley

wines). However, some dark lagers are also suitable. The

spices that are included are often those that are reminiscent

of a traditional northern Christmas season (e.g. allspice,

nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves or ginger), but there are many

combinations that are possible and creativity is encouraged,

like the addition of fruit peel (e.g. oranges and lemon), as

WINTER SEASONAL BEERS

EXAMPLE TO BREW:

Mint Chocolate Stout

well as subtle additions of other fruits. Adjuncts are also

often used (e.g. molasses, treacle, invert sugar, brown sugar,

honey and maple syrup, etc).

These beers often pair well with roasted or grilled meats

due to the roasted, coffee, caramel and toffee malts that are

used in brewing these beers. The charred and caramelised

characters of the meat, or the spices often used in meat

‘rubs’, pair well with the spices and adjuncts of these beers.

The higher alcohol content also helps to cut through the

fats of the meat while also helping to bring out the flavour

of any other components of the dish.

Christmas beers also do really shine when they are

paired with desserts. The toasted, bready and biscuit

flavours in the beer pair with bready, biscuit and cake

components of desserts. The dark fruit, caramel, chocolate

and residual sweetness flavours of the beer pair well with

the sweeter components of desserts like any dark fruit,

caramel and chocolates.

This sweet stout uses chocolate malt and lactose to create a milk chocolate flavour

which is enhanced by using a spirits mint chocolate flavouring, making it perfect as

an after dinner treat.

FOOD PAIRINGS: chocolate cake, mint chocolate biscuits and ice cream.

RECIPE

• Batch size: 23L (fermenter volume) • Mash: 60 Mins • Boil: 60 Mins

• OG - 1.059 • FG - 1.013 • Colour - 26.1 EBC • Bitterness - 22.1 IBU • ABV – 6.1%

FERMENTABLES

% kg Fermentable ppg EBC Usage

43% 2.51 2-Row Pale (Malteurop) 37.72 3.3 Mash

4% 0.24 Gladfield Dark Chocolate Malt 33 1300 Mash

10% 0.6 Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) 33.6 118.3 Mash

8% 0.5 Flaked Oats - US 37 1.2 Mash

2% 0.1 Lactose - Milk Sugar - US 41 1.2 Late Addition

29% 1.7 Gladfield Aurora Malt 37 57.9 Mash

4% 0.24 Carafa III - DE 32 1399.5 Mash

MASH STEPS

Name Temp °C Time min

Mash Out 75 10

Mash 1 68 60

Grain Substitutions: Aurora malt : Brown or Biscuit malt

HOPS

g Variety Type Usage Time AA IBU

50 East Kent Goldings Pellet Boil 60 min 5.5 26.1

Hop Substitutions : East Kent Goldings: English style hop due to the strong malt and flavour character the

effect is subtle.

YEAST

Amount Unit Name Attenuation %

2 packets Mangrove Jack’s New World Strong Ale M42 80

Yeast Substitutions: White Labs English Ale WLP002 or WLP007 ,Wyeast London Ale 1028,

Safale US-04, Danstar Nottingham Ale

FERMENTATION STEPS

Type Temp °C Time days

Fermentation 1 18 14

EXTRAS

Amount Unit Name Time Usage

18 ml Still Spirits Top Shelf Mint Chocolate Liquor Essence 0 Secondary

Since in the southern hemisphere it is summer over the

holiday season, it is not particularly suitable for strong

darker beers in a warmer climate. Typically lighter beers

are generally found spiced with lighter spices and more

fruits to create a more refreshing beverage for the summer

heat. Styles for the base beer tend to be: blonde ales, pale

ales, IPA’s, some light lagers, wheat beers, berliner weisse

and possibly other sours. Summer seasonal beers tend to

vary much more in terms of alcohol content due to the

many different styles of base beer used, however the same

SUMMER SEASONAL BEERS

rules apply that the best examples of a summer seasonal

beer is when the spicing or fruiting of the beer subtly

compliments the base beer.

Due to the high variation in styles, fruits and spices

used, pairing summer seasonal beers with food takes a

little more thought. First identify the predominant flavours

in the beer, and then note the intensity of these flavours.

Match these factors to the flavours and intensity of the

food to form a complimentary pairing between the beer

and the food.


EXAMPLE TO BREW;

Orange Marmalade Pale Ale

For those that don’t like the taste of marmalade, fear not this really only describes the

colour. This is a fairly dry American style pale ale that is deep orange in colour, reflecting

the orange and mandarin hops used. There are some hints of toast and caramel from the

darker malts that are balanced by a pronounced bitterness. This beer is dry enough for a

hot day but has enough body and character to take you into the night.

FOOD PAIRING: Orange chocolate ice cream, pavlova and fruit salad and glazed ham.

RECIPE:

• Batch size: 23L (fermenter volume) • Mash: 60 Mins • oil: 60 Mins • OG - 1.055

• FG - 1.008 • Colour - 2.3 EBC • Bitterness - 40.2 IBU • BV - 6.1%

FERMENTABLES

% kg Fermentable ppg EBC Usage

53% 2.94 Gladfield American Ale Malt 37 4.9 Mash

20% 1.11 Gladfield Red Back Malt 35 65 Mash

7% 0.39 Gladfield Gladiator Malt 37 10 Mash

20% 1.11 Carared (Weyermann) 35.8 47.3 Mash

Grain Substitutions: American Ale Malt : 2 row malt : Pale malt / Red Back : Red X : Caraamber

/ Gladiator malt : Carapils

MASH STEPS

Name Temp °C Time min

Mash 1 65 60

Mash Out 75 10

These recipes and more can

all be found via our Brewing

Community at brew.grainfather.

com, signup for free and

learn a whole lot more about

homebrewing and connect with

other like-minded people

who love craft beer!

FERMENTATION STEPS

Type Temp °C Time days

Fermentation 1 18 10

HOPS

g Variety Type Usage Time AA IBU

10 Pacifica Pellet Boil 60 min 5.5 5.3

20 Pacifica Pellet Boil 20 min 5.5 6.5

20 Mandarina Bavaria Pellet Boil 20 min 9 10.6

40 Pacifica Pellet Hop Stand 25 min 5.5 6.8

40 Mandarina Bavaria Pellet Hop Stand 25 min 9 11

30 Pacifica Pellet Dry Hop 4 days 5.5 0

40 Mandarina Bavaria Pellet Dry Hop 4 days 9 0

Hop Substitutions : Pacifica: Summit or Hallertau / Mandarina Bavaria: Magnum or German Tradition

EXTRAS

Amount Unit Name Usage

5 g Orange Peel, Bitter FlameOut

YEAST

Amount Unit Name Attenuation %

2 packets Mangrove Jack’s Californian Lager M54 80

Yeast Substitutions: White labs California ale WLP 001, Wyeast American ale 1056 or Safale US-05


Innovative

Packaging for the

Brewing Industry

saxonpackaging.co.uk

Find out more

Promote your Brand

Protect your Product

Transit, Mail-Order, Gift Packs

& Carry Packs

Taking packaging

from the ordinary...

...to the

extraordinary

Delivering

Bespoke

Solutions

Tel 01502 513112

01502 513112 saxonpackaging.co.uk info@saxonpackaging.co.uk

OFFICE BREW:

DESCHUTES

BLACK

BUTTE

PORTER

CLONE

WORDS: Rob Brown

PHOTOS: Richard Croasdale

Towards the end of summer,

I took my first strides

into homebrewing with a

crowdsourced farmhouse saison. One

of the very first saisons I tried and

enjoyed was Tank 7 by Boulevard

Brewing from Missouri, and it’s fair

to say I was overly excited at the

prospect of making 20L of something

that tasted similar. It didn’t quite

turn out the way I’d imagined


OFFICE BREW

DESCHUTES

BLACK BUTTE

PORTER CLONE

Brown Porter

INGREDIENTS

FOR 5 GALLONS (18.93 L)

4.08kg NW Two-Row Pale Malt

363g Chocolate Wheat Chocolate

227g 80° L Crystal Malt

142g Dextrin Malt

14g Galena Pellet Hops (90 min)

7g Cascade Pellet Hops

(15 min)

7g Hallertauer Blanc Pellet Hops

(5 min)

White Labs WLP 002 English Ale

Yeast

SPECIFICATIONS

Original Gravity: 1.057

Final Gravity: 1.016

IBU: 37

SRM: 32

Efficiency: 75%

DIRECTIONS

Mash: 67° C (153° F)

Mash Time: 60 Mins

Mash Out: 76° C (168° F)

Boil: 90 Mins

Ferment: 18° C (65° F)

unfortunately; massively fluctuating

fermentation temperatures resulted in a

weird marriage of off flavours with fruity

esters sitting up front. This was due to

leaving the heat belt on over the weekend in

an empty office, it certainly wasn’t my finest

moment.

Skip forward a few months into the arcticlike

coldness of the North, it was time to get

the Grainfather out again for brew number

two. The approach to this one was a lot more

conservative, deciding on a brown porter

over a raspberry gose.

Rather than attempting to edit a base

recipe, we went for a clone instead. You’ll

find a hell of a lot of different takes of the

same commercial beer clone recipe available

online, and it can be difficult on making

a decision on which one to go with. This

certainly was the case for Deschutes Black

Butte Porter. Deschutes has the recipe listed

on its own website for you to figure out the

finer details; it’s quite a novel idea, but the

difficulty level for a novice like myself all but

ruled that out.

In the end, after searching through various

forums, I decided to go with the recipe

that had drawn the most acclaim from the

homebrew community. There’s some great

advice on www.grainfather.com/blog for

cloning beers from scratch and building your

own recipes (week 113), so maybe we’ll give

this a try next time around.

The brew was fairly straightforward, with

only a few hiccups. Cleaning on the go

made a massive difference this time around.

My previous brew’s cleaning was all done

at the end of the process, having a load of

hardened sticky equipment to clean after

hours of slogging over a hot stove isn’t much

Thanks to a lot of ice cubes

and sub-zero temperatures

on the office fire escape,

we pulled it off...

fun at all.

At the end of the boil, I knocked the filter

loose at the bottom of the Grainfather after

overly enthusiastically attempting to create a

whirlpool. With no filter in place, the pump

clogged up within minutes and this meant

we couldn’t use the cooling coil. We had

to decant straight into a carboy at boiling

temperatures to then cold crash. It was less

than ideal, but thanks to a lot of ice cubes

and sub-zero temperatures on the office fire

escape, we pulled it off in about 40 minutes,

ready to pitch our English Ale Yeast at 18° C.

Hopefully brew number two will be a

success; and by ‘success’ I mean safe(ish) to

drink. I certainly hope so anyway, as it’s for

my Dad’s Christmas.

Inspired by our recent and much-loved

Elements Project, I made this beer again

over the weekend, due to having a crazy

amount of hops left over. This time around I

added 100g cold brewed Columbian coffee

and 400g of cocoa right at the end of the

boil. It was a bit of a stab in the dark, but

nevertheless it’ll be interesting to compare

the two when they’re ready in about two

weeks’ time.

OFFICE brew REVIEWS

LOUISE’S OAK-AGED

IMPERIAL STOUT

After a couple of weeks’

fermentation and four

additional weeks sat

on oak chips, we’d seen a

huge change in this strong,

unctuous stout. The hard,

boozy edges had softened,

and the somewhat blunt bitter/

sweet balance given a more

interesting character by the

subtle wood influence, which

brought cinder toffee and

vanilla to the party. Softly

carbonated in the bottle, it had a luxuriously smooth

mouth feel, with plenty of body to carry the 8.5% abv. We

were really pleased with this one, and have challenged

ourselves to save some for Christmas.

JAMES’S JUICY

WEST COAST IPA

This brew went so smoothly, so it

was reassuring to see the beer

coming out absolutely right at

the other end. Big, bold and juicy,

the late-addition hops really shine

through, with pineapple, mango and

citrus. A sunshine orange colour and

good fizz were the icing on the cake.

The most interesting side of this

brew was the decision to split it

in two, with one half getting dry

hopped after primary fermentation,

and the other getting the same

hops, but around four days before primary fermentation

had finished. This supposedly leads to a process called

‘biotransformation’, in which some of the hop compounds

are metabolised by the yeast to form new flavours. There

was definitely a difference between the two batches, with

the biotransformed beer showing slightly less juicy fruit

and an additional spicy note.

50

FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 51


KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DRINKING:

When is a craft beer not the genuine article?

Born in the 70s. Still an original.

In the first of a new series from SIBA, chief executive Mike

Benner discusses how to spot the phonies from the real deal.

When we started Butcombe Brewing Co. in 1978, we didn’t set

out to be on trend, but we still became an icon. By making

perfectly balanced, great-tasting beer, we’ve stood the test

of time. And we’ve been lighting up the room ever since.

There has been a huge growth

in the popularity of craft beer

over the last decade, with more

people than ever discovering the huge

range of breweries across the globe

making exciting styles and interestingtasting

beers.

In fact, the beer landscape in

the UK right now has never been

better: there’s more choice, better

quality, greater availability, and most

importantly excitement and enthusiasm,

with innovative, forward-thinking,

independent breweries taking on the

mass-produced lager giants that have

dominated the beer market for years.

This seismic shift in the beer market

has led to many craft brewers showing

rapid growth, while at the same time

the sales of mass-produced beers by

the global beer companies have seen an

overall decline.

But the global beer giants haven’t

simply rolled over and admitted defeat,

they’ve set their sights on the segment

of the market that is growing, and are

now seeking to grab their own slice of

the craft beer cake. They’re doing this in

two ways; firstly, buying out previously

independent craft breweries such as

Camden, Meantime and Sharp’s, or

secondly launching their own products

marketed as craft beer.

It’s a similar story across the pond,

with Goose Island and Lagunitas

(among others) now owned by the

companies who make Budweiser and

Heineken respectively, as well as a

number of beers launched to look like

craft – such as Blue Moon, Shocktop and

Trouble Brewing.

In order to combat this, the Society

of Independent Brewers (SIBA)

launched the Assured Independent

British Craft Brewer campaign, which

seeks to highlight breweries that are

fully independent, relatively small and

brewing quality beer. The logo can

only be used by truly independent

craft brewers, so beer drinkers can be

sure that wherever they see the logo –

be it on a pumpclip, bottle or can label

– the craft beer they are drinking is the

real thing.

We launched the campaign in August

2016 and were delighted to see in 2017

the Brewers Association in America,

a similar trade association to SIBA

representing independent craft

brewers in the US, followed suit and

introduced their own independent craft

brewers seal.

The issue here isn’t just about how

the beer tastes, it’s about giving you

the right as a beer drinker to choose

whether to buy beer from a genuine

independent craft brewer or from a

global beer giant.

It should be clear who is making

your beer and, with the introduction

of SIBA’s ‘Assured Independent British

Craft Brewer’ seal in the UK and the

Brewers Association’s ‘Independent

Craft Brewer’ seal in the US, we hope to

highlight when a craft beer really is

the genuine article.

BUTCOMBE.COM

52 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 53


9

9

17>

9

9

Subscribe

to Ferment

£4.99

£4.99

£4.99

16>

15>

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 15

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

Estonian

beer

Meet the top brewers in one

of the hottest up-and-coming

national craft beer scenes

Does style

matter?

+

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 16

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

Sierra

nevada

Meet founder and craft beer

legend Ken Grossman

London

craft beer

festival

Roll up, for the greatest

craft beer show in town

argue with

your bartender

When, why and how to complain

Ferment issue 15 cover.indd 1 14/06/2017 10:02

£4.99

per month

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 17

772397 696005

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

BUXTON

BREWery

Behind the scenes at the brewery that

prefers to let its beers do the talking

INDY MAN

beer CON

The cream of world brewing

converges on Manchester

Ferment issue 16 cover - SUBS.indd 1 20/07/2017 10:21

772397 696005

772397 696005

19>

£4.99

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 19

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

Ferment issue 17 cover.indd 1 04/09/2017 15:26

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 20

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

the science

of beer

Meet the geniuses

behind modern brewing,

and see your pint in a

whole new light

ESCAPE THE COLD WITH OUR

SUN-DRENCHED BEER ROAD TRIP

FIRESTONE WALKER

Meet the legendary west coast brewer,

plus Sierra Nevada, Stone, Mikkeller,

Modern Times and more

Ferment issue 19 cover.indd 1 05/10/2017 12:47

Ferment20_FCover.indd 1 26/10/2017 14:25

772397 696005

20>

9

£4.99

772397 696005

Gose is special among German beers

for several reasons. First, it’s an

ale (it uses top-fermenting yeast)

as opposed to a lager. Second, and most

interestingly, it takes the country’s sacred

Reinheitsgebot, throws it on the floor and

does a merry little Saxon dance on it. With

50% wheat, lactobacillus sourness and the

frequent addition of salt and spices, it’s more

like a Berliner Weisse than the lagers and

Pilsners we typically associate with Germany.

It gets away with this behaviour by virtue of

being a regional speciality.

German beer politics aside, it’s a very

quenching, moreish style, great on a warm

day, friendly to fruit, and finding favour

among craft brewers in search of something a

little different.

Go to fermentmagazine.com to

subscribe

54 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 55


Little Earth Project founder and brewer Tom Norton tells

James Beeson how terroir and history are the two pillars

upon which his Suffolk microbrewery is built.

PICTURES: Cherry Beesley - www.simplycphotography.co.uk

At a glance, there appears to be little

connection between Austin, Texas

and the sleepy town of Edmundson

in Suffolk. The latter is a little tiny

village, barely made up of three

hamlets, whilst the former is the state

capital of Texas. Suffolk experiences

harsh, cold winters and mild summers,

whilst Austin is renowned for it’s humid

subtropical climate.

However, when asked where he

sought inspiration for Little Earth

Project, brewer Tom Norton cites Jester

King, an authentic farmhouse brewery

on the outskirts of the huge US city.

“You can brew a hoppy american style

IPA anywhere in the world,” he explains,

“but what Jester King have shown is

that if you use local barley, hops and

wild yeast cultures you can produce

something that is very difficult to

replicate anywhere else in the world.”

Producing beer that is utterly unique

is something Little Earth Project has

excelled at in the short time Norton’s

brewery has been up and running. An

elderberry saison, a wild mint mojito

fruit beer and an organic IPA aged in

whisky barrels for four months are just

three beers in his portfolio, whilst the

whole Project rests on the concept of

natural fermentation using wild yeast

strains from Norton’s family cider

making business, which dates back over

30 years.

No two batches of Little Earth Project

beer are the same, and indeed it would

now be impossible for the brewery to

produce beer without infecting it with

yeast in the atmosphere of the brew

house. “We knew that being in a small

building if we started playing around

with mixed culture wild yeast we were

going to have to go whole hog and do

it or not bother at all,” Norton explains.

“We’ve got to the point now where

there is brettanomyces in the building

and basically everywhere. We will do a

clean fermentation and put it in barrels

and then within a week there will be

activity again. We know that stuff is

being picked up from the atmosphere.”

Norton’s fascination with natural

forms of fermentation comes from

his father’s cider-making business,

Castlings Heath organic cider, which

he grew up helping to produce by

hand from their tiny orchard. The move

into brewing, however, was initially in

the more traditional sense, when his

family bought the local village pub and

installed a small microbrewery next

door.

Initially operating under the name

of Mill Green and producing 95% cask

beer to serve the local market, Norton

was drawn to the idea of inoculating

with wild yeast after the landlady of the

pub stopped stocking Mill Green’s beer

in 2015, putting any expansion plans

for the old brewery on hold. “With Mill

Green we were already using locally

grown barley and hops that we’d grown

ourselves, foraged ingredients and

the like,” he says, “and we could see

the beer market going more in that

direction.”

56 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 57


Enthused, Norton set out to revive

a number of historic beer styles using

wild yeast cultures from his father’s

cider on the old Mill Green kit, buying

up as many whisky and wine barrels as

he could to store the beer along the

way. “I was a history student once upon

a time, so I do have that interest and

have partnered that with my interest

in beer,” he says. “As a family the

history of pubs and ale houses, and the

history of different beverages and local

specialities has always been fascinating

to us.

“With our historic beers, the main

premise is that over 100 years ago there

wasn’t such thing as single cultures

of yeast, and beer was either drunk

very quickly or it was left to age,” he

continues. “The stuff that was left to

age would have been full of all sorts of

types of brett and anything else that

happened to be in the brewery. Old

IPAs and stock ales and porters were all

basically bretted beers, just not done on

purpose.”

As a result, Little Earth Project’s

beers are often highly complex and

acidic, and contain characteristics that

could be considered flaws by the more

traditional cask beer drinker. Last year

the brewery sent a cask to CAMRA’s

East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival

It’s just about changing

people’s perception of

beer in baby steps.

only to have it rejected on the grounds

that the organisers thought attendees

would complain the beer was off. Norton

admits the experience was frustrating,

but stresses he believes attitudes

towards sour beer will change over time.

“Our type of beer is very new to

the UK really. Ok we have had the

occasional Belgian import but up until a

few years ago you’d almost never see a

sour beer in a pub or a bar,” he says. “It’s

just about changing people’s perception

of beer in baby steps. The more craft

brewers get into it the more people’s

attitudes will change.”

The other major challenge Little

Earth Project faces is time, with all

of its beers requiring a minimum of

three months (and some as long as two

years) in barrels before being ready for

consumption. Last summer Norton went

two months without brewing due to a

lack of empty barrels, and he hopes to

build a dedicated barrel store on site to

prevent further shortages in the future.

“We have room for maybe 20 barrels in

the building we are in now,” he explains.

“If we built a purpose built store we’d

probably want to be able to store 100-

150 barrels in there.”

The space and time constraints

involved in the production of barrel aged

beer has recently led Scottish brewery

Innis & Gunn to design a new production

method involving breaking up barrels

and circulating their beer with the

pieces for between 7-10 days. Norton,

however, is critical of the move, claiming

the method is not real barrel ageing

and stating a tightening of definitions

surrounding barrel-aged beers is

required.

“I think if it says ‘barrel aged in’ on

the label, the beer should have been

aged in a barrel,” he says. “It’s fairly

frustrating but the problem lies in the

fact they are allowed to do it rather than

the fact they are doing it. If you leave

loopholes open like that then people

will take advantage of it.”

The customers that understand and

know our beers probably aren’t going

to go out and buy Innis & Gunn beers

instead so it probably doesn’t affect

us that unduly, but I think there ought

to be a bit of a tightening up of the

wording of these things,” he continues.

Their beers are obviously going to not

be as intense [as Little Earth Project’s],

but its all about educating people and

getting as many people to try your

beers as possible, and if yours have got

a more interesting and stronger flavour

then you can hopefully draw people in

with that.”

Looking to the future, Little Earth

Project hopes to take back control of

the pub when the lease runs out next

summer, and Norton has plans to turn

the site into a destination taproom for

people seeking wild fermented beers.

“We’ve got a campsite here and a couple

of holiday chalets on the field so it seems

almost the perfect country pub to do as

a destination site,” he says. “It’ll be not

just our own sour and wild beers but

a showcase of other British breweries

doing similar things.”

On the subject of expansion, Norton

adds: “We’re still very small. I think we

are on target to brew 9,000-10,000 litres

this year. Adnams have probably brewed

that amount of beer since we started

this conversation! We have fairly modest

aims of where we want to be, but in the

long run maybe we’d like to make ten

times that amount of beer, but that may

be some time off.”

In the meantime, Norton is happy

to continue seeking inspiration from

his surroundings and learning through

experimentation. “Part of the fun is the

unpredictability of it; we are very much

on a learning curve ourselves to find

out what our beers are going to taste

like,” he says. “Sometimes it works and

sometimes it doesn’t, but that is part of

the character and charm of what we do.”

58 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 59


60 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 61


Things We Love...

1. AeroBull HD1

Would you care for some

bling with your bling?

It’s a golden, 200-watt Bluetooth

speaker, shaped like a French

Bulldog in sunglasses, launched

by 80s synth legend Jean Michel

Jarre. There are only 99 of them,

you can only get them in Harrods

and they cost £4000. This is

either the pinnacle of human

achievment or the end of days.

Or, more likely, both.

www.musiclife.paris

2. SmartHalo Bike System

Do as the tiny robot commands

Connect this doohicky to your

smartphone via Bluetooth and it will

provide you with navigation, automatic

lighting, an alarm, and fitness tracking.

And probably tell you how dashing

you look in lycra. Super-intuitive,

secure and aesthetically pleasing.

www.smarthalo.bike

62 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 63


Matt Curtis dissects

the current trend for

collaboration, and asks what

makes a successful marriage

ack in 2008, New York City’s Brooklyn

Brewery produced what would

eventually be regarded as a landmark

beer in collaboration with Munich’s G.

Schneider & Sohn. The Bavarian brewery

is, of course, best known for its Schneider

Weisse brand and this union would place an

altogether more modern twist on its classic

weissebier. The influence of Brooklyn’s

ebullient brewmaster Garrett Oliver would

bring a very American twist to the resulting

beer, in the form of liberally added North

American hops. The resulting Hopfenweisse

was considered by many to be one of the first

modern examples of the now commonplace

collaboration beer.

What Brooklyn and Schneider unwittingly

did was set a precedent for what would

become one of the fundamental values

within modern brewing culture. Brewers from

what were essentially rival businesses had

occasionally worked together on a recipe,

but until this point it was unusual to take

advantage of such camaraderie and use it to

promote both brands. In 2017, collaboration

beers rank among the most highly rated and

64 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 65


DEBATE: TWO HEADS

sought after, with a seemingly endless

flood of them hitting the market on

what feels like an almost daily basis.

Over the past decade, brewers have

used collaborations as an opportunity

to share knowledge and glean

experience from one another. Many

of those that have entered the beer

industry during this time have come

from amateur brewing backgrounds,

without any formal brewing

qualifications. Working together is a

golden opportunity to learn, but it also

has several other advantages, such as

seeing your brand appear in different

markets, which in turn helps your

business to grow.

Consumers are now desperate to get

their hands on the latest collaboration

beers. These are often a partnership

between a hyped-national brewery and

one from overseas, whose beer doesn’t

ever touch these shores. The influx of

American brewers visiting the recent

Beavertown Extravaganza beer festival

spawned countless collaborations,

as an example. However, at what

point does the consumer eventually

tire of these endless releases? With

what feels like a never-ending stream

of collaboration beers flooding the

market, some consumers may be

beginning to feel a little fatigued.

STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN

For Bristol-based brewery Wiper

& True, collaborations have been

an effective vehicle for engaging

with both consumers and industry

peers. Co-founder Michael Wiper

sees this kind of activity within the

modern beer industry as “flying in

the face of conventional business

thinking”. It’s a good point too, as

beer feels very different to a lot of

other niche industries, inspiring not

only collaboration between peers but

fierce loyalty from consumers that

could be described more accurately

as fans. This behaviour mirrors that

of the independent music industry

a few decades ago, when artists and

labels would routinely collaborate on

material. Just look at David Bowie, Lou

Reed and Iggy Pop’s “Berlin period” as

an example.

“[Collaborations] are responsible

for elevating the quality of beer being

produced and progressing our craft

through seeing what we do every day

via a different perspective,” Wiper

says. “Sharing ideas and experiences

is the best way to learn and grow as

a brewer… it’s almost impossible to

separate the benefits to industry and

consumer.”

Wiper came into the beer industry

like many others who’ve entered the

fray over the past decade, from a home

brewing background.

The support and generosity

of established brewers with their

knowledge and time has got us to

where we are today,” Wiper continues.

“Brewing collaboratively with another

brewery, or indeed anyone outside of

the brewing industry – with a different

perspective on flavour or a different

passion that inspires us – is challenging,

rewarding and has progressed us in

our journey.”

For some brewers, the art of

collaboration can have a deeper

meaning than simply brewing together,

and learning from the experience.

With hundreds of specialist beer

festivals happening all over the world,

many brewers spend much of the year

on the road. This gives the brewers

an excellent opportunity to explore

international markets. And what better

way to do that than to brew a beer with

friends within that market.

Sometimes it’s about more than just

brewing a beer though. Spending a

lot of time on the road can be a lonely

existence, which is perhaps why some

of the strongest relationships within

the beer industry are forged through

collaboration. A fine example of this

is the relationship between Denmark’s

Dry & Bitter and Manchester’s

Cloudwater, as the latter’s co-founder

Paul Jones explains.

“Collaborations give us a chance to

showcase the closeness we love with

friends in the industry through working

relationships and overlap in tastes,” he

says. “We’ve worked with Søren at Dry

& Bitter a few times now, and see him

many times a year. It’s always great to

have the chance to hang out, talk over

a recipe and production process, and

put both our names on a beer we’re

both proud of.”

The duo’s most recent collaboration

was a Double IPA called Mobile

Speaker, which references a little

in-joke between the two friends.

Collaborations are a

chance to get together

with people we like and

whose beer we admire.

Both enjoy carrying a little Bluetooth

speaker around with them on

bar crawls, keeping the party

atmosphere flowing between venues.

It demonstrates something happening

in this partnership that’s greater than

simply beer – and lets the consumer in

on the fun too.

“Collaborations are a chance to

get together with people we like and

whose beer we admire,” Dry & Bitter

founder Søren Parker Wagner explains.

The idea is often to do something

that we, as brewers, really want to

do and get to learn from each other’s

way of working. This way we both get

something professionally out of it,

while at the same time we get to hang

with friends that we really like.”

“I love the opportunity to show a

different side to the industry,” Jones

adds. “Most of the time we keep a

face of professionalism and focus

here at Cloudwater, when behind the

scenes we have a great deal of fun and

occasionally party pretty hard too.”

66 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 67


DEBATE: TWO HEADS

BORED TO DEATH

So far we’ve looked at what brewers

get out of collaborations but haven’t

explored what consumers get out of it

for themselves. It’s all well and good a

brewer gushing about a shared learning

experience and getting to party with

friends from the other side of the

world, but how does this experience

translate to their customers? Many

folks can’t get enough of the latest

collaboration beers, especially

when a brewer from overseas that

doesn’t distribute over here comes

to brew with a popular UK brewery.

Cloudwater’s collaborations with Other

Half and The Veil, from New York and

Virginia respectively, plus

Beavertown’s with Boston’s Trillium are

examples of this.

However, it can be tough for

consumers to keep up with what, at

times, feels like an unrelenting tide of

one-off, limited edition beers. Is the

market becoming oversaturated with

collaborations and will this in turn

have the knock-on effect of turning

the consumer off them? Consultant

and beer sommelier Robert Parker

of Beer & Brew isn’t convinced that

collaborations will stay the course.

“I see collaborations as something

that typify a scene that is trendobsessed,

ripe for a backlash,

and grabbing at ideas to maintain

momentum,” he says. “‘Beer geeks’

might love it, I find it exhausting and a

real turn off.”

Parker continues: “Small breweries

need every foothold to make the

smallest dent, and collaborations are

one such foothold. The industry isn’t

a big love-in where everyone’s looking

to help you out; it’s hugely competitive.

But, if you are making brilliant beer,

The industry isn’t a big

love-in where everyone’s

looking to help you out;

it’s hugely competitive.

a collaboration is an amazing tool

for reaching a wider audience and

prominence in an overcrowded

marketplace.”

Parker makes a salient point; that

craft brewers may be collaborating to

maintain the kind of relevance that

keeps you at the top of the pile. Craft

beer in the UK is incredibly trenddriven,

with even the most fussedover

breweries not immune from

being shoved through the revolving

door by fans when the next big thing

comes along. However, looking a little

deeper, I think that overall there is

something genuine in the camaraderie

of collaboration, and consumers will

continue to get a buzz out of drinking

these beers for a while yet.

PLANTING ROOTS

For some start-up breweries,

collaborations are an obvious way

of gaining a foothold in a busy beer

market. Although Beer Sommelier

Robert Parker may have described

it as overcrowded and despite there

being significantly more competition

than there was a decade ago, I still

feel positively about the amount of

opportunity the UK beer market

has for newcomers. Although, more

often these opportunities need to

be created, as opposed to just being

expected.

Miranda Hudson and Derek Bates

plan to open Duration Brewing in

Norfolk next year. However, before

they’ve even broken ground at their

site they’ve been busy producing as

many collaborations as possible in

order to establish a name for their

brand.

“Collaborations have helped us

reach new audiences and build

brand recognition,” Hudson says. “We

decided early on that we were going

to share our journey and invite people

to be part of Duration as it’s built, so

having a product helps make what we

are doing more tangible”

Bates was already a relatively wellknown

figure within the UK brewing

industry before he and Hudson

began establishing their business.

He’s perhaps best known for his stint

as head brewer at Brew by Numbers

in London and has so far had the

opportunity to collaborate with Brixton

Brewery, Left Handed Giant in Bristol

and Cloudwater. Hudson jokes that

collaborations are a way to prevent

Bates from becoming rusty before they

open their brewery in 2018, but there’s

a more serious side to it too, as he

elaborates.

“People weigh in on spurious

collaborations that have no knowledge

exchange and, thankfully, we’ve only

had encouragement about releasing

pre-launch beers so far,” he says.

“For me a collaboration beer should

bring a new offering and everyone

should get something from it. We stay

involved beyond the brew day through

fermentation, packaging and the

release of the end product, working

with breweries’ artwork and events

team to stay collaborating for the

whole ride.”

It remains to be seen if collaborations

will remain as in vogue as they are now.

The buzz around certain breweries will

always ebb and flow, and new players

will be keen to follow the example

set by those currently seeing the

most success. But as the beer market

matures on both the industry and

consumer side, I predict they may

lose some of their sheen. Breweries

will expand and invest in themselves,

while consumers will gradually settle

into habits and perhaps not invest as

much time chasing limited releases.

This, in turn, will make them less

viable for the breweries that choose to

produce them.

For now though, collaborations are

here to stay and, as Duration’s Derek

Bates points out, there’s still plenty of

fun to be taken from them by brewers

and drinkers alike.

“Just like with chefs or musicians, I

think collaborations happen because

ultimately they’re fun and a way to

progress in your craft,” he concludes.

“Saturation happens when something

ceases to push forward and iterations

of the same thing become dull. If beer

collaborations continue to evolve and

change to stay relevant then demand

for them will also remain.”

68 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 69


Discover Isle of Eriska

Not just a Luxury Hotel & Spa,

an entire Private Island as your playground

Benderloch, Argyll, PA37 1SD

Telephone: 01631 720 371

office@eriska-hotel.co.uk

www.eriska-hotel.co.uk


Hold onto your your beer, because

we’re about to get botanical…

or the purposes of this article

at least, a ‘shrub’ is not a “small

to medium-sized woody plant

with persistent stems” but a fruit

liqueur that was popular in 17th and

18th century England. But once more,

it’s hip to be drinking an ‘acidulated

beverage’. What the heck does that

mean? Read on…

At The Library bar in the Public

Theater, downtown New York, shrubs

are selling like hot cakes. So too at

The Nightjar, London; One Fine Day,

Liverpool; and even bar and restaurant

Thyme in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Shrubs are a vinegared syrup infused

with fruit juice and rinds, herbs and

spices. They began reappearing on

cocktail menus in bars and restaurants

around the world from 2011, but were

originally popular in 17th century

England.

They have their roots in the

practice of preserving fruit in vinegar.

In colonial America, the preserves

themselves were called shrubs, and

once the fruit was strained out, the

liquid would be sweetened with sugar

or honey and then reduced to make

a sweet-and-sour syrup. Under the

oppressive heat of the American

South, the syrup is mixed with soda

to make a refreshing, non-alcoholic

drink akin to sour beer or kombucha.

The cocktail version is traditionally

mixed with rum or brandy, but

nowadays pretty much anything goes.

Both versions are called shrubs.

Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka cocktail

master Mr Lyan) has played a large part

in bringing these earthy, sour drinks

back to our bars, as a pioneer on the

London bar scene. Among the house

distillates and atomisations that made

his name, shrubs are used as a fresh

alternative to the same old sad lemons

and limes. Citrus fruits and vinegar

both ‘acidulate’ a drink, to give it a

sharp tang, and the upside of vinegar

is that it does not make your cocktail

cloudy. A turmeric and red apple shrub

cuts through the crisp gin of The Lyan

Club Cocktail, adding just the right

touch of sweetness.

Kristin Wingfield-Koefod is the

creator of a range of drinks mixers

called 18.21. “Shrubs have made a

resurgence in the last few years in the

craft cocktail world because of their

unique flavors and the addition of

acidity they bring to cocktails,” she

explains. “We currently do an entire

line of cocktail mixers including shrubs,

tinctures, bitters, rich simple

syrups, ginger beer and

tonic. Our shrub line up

includes Apple Cardamom,

Blackberry Peppercorn,

Blood Orange+Ginger,

Watermelon Mint, White

Jasmine+Grapefruit, Whiskey

Soaked Cherry and a seasonal,

Pumpkin Shrub. Each one is made

with a different blend of vinegars.”

But for the hardcore among you,

there’s the option of making your own

vinegar by using fruit juice, sugar,

and wild yeasts. All fruit is suitable,

especially if it’s blemished or the

“wrong” size, because who cares?! If

you don’t have an orchard – or, well,

shrubs – in your back garden, try

asking local cafes and supermarkets if

they will give you what’s destined for

their bins. Over-ripe fruit is great for

making syrup. Shrubs 1, food waste 0.

There are so many variations of

sugar to use, with turbinado being

all the rage these days, but ordinary

cane sugar works just fine. Red wine

vinegar or apple cider vinegar add a

bit of flavour, but again basic white

vinegar does the job. You can use heat

to quickly dissolve the fruit sugars in

vinegars, or you can use the cold-

process method where you cover the

fruit with a veritable blanket of sugar

and leave in the fridge until a little lake

of syrup appears to be drowning your

fruit. Next, you add vinegar, get rid

of the remaining solid fruit, and chill

again for several days.

Our chemistry expert Dr Adam

McCudden knows what’s going on

to make shrubs so tasty. “Vinegar

is basically acetic acid, which is a

low pH. Any flavour molecules that

happily dissolve at low pH will undergo

greater extraction and become more

prominent in a shrub compared to the

same flavour in a simple sugar syrup.

Compounds that are not stable at low

pH will react with vinegar to form

different flavours.

The shrubs themselves are pretty

long-lasting as flavouring when kept

refrigerated, given that both the high

sugar content and acidity should work

as preservatives, and if made using the

heat method, any potentially-upsetting

yeast compounds will have been

killed off.”

The result is a pungent, tart syrup

with all the flavours of its ingredients

muddled together. After a few weeks,

the syrup mellows and becomes a bit

more palatable. To spice things up,

you can add spices and herbs. Before

you add a garnish, however, you might

want to know that the name is actually

derived from the Arabian verb meaning

“to drink”: sharāb. Its roots are in the

method of preserving fruits and berries

in vinegar to keep them for eating

year round, and the leftover vinegar

and fruit juice was kept for drinking.

Shrubs shimmied out of the Persian

desert in the 15th century, as a drink

called Sekanjabin that met its match

with the medicinal cordials of England.

Smugglers in the late 17th century

used the fruity flavours to mask the

taste of alcohol that had been sunk

in barrels off-shore to avoid detection

by the taxman. By the dawn of the

18th century, the mixture was found

in public houses throughout England.

They disappeared from fashion in the

18th century but now the spotlight has

shone upon them once more.

As mixed drinks, they offer a

botanical smorgasbord. Their

newfound popularity is entwined

with the trend of ‘nose-to-tail’ eating,

or using all parts of whatever you’re

eating. Sub in peel for nose and seeds

for tail and you have a mixed drink

that reduces food waste, since the

spices come from seeds, the outer

layer of the fruit isn’t thrown away, and

the fruit most often used is over-ripe.

Keying into another trend is the use

of fermented foods, now touted as

healthy. They also embrace the hotter

weather caused by global warming,

making them a triple threat in today’s

battle of the trends.

For the season to be jolly, we

recommend mixing your own shrub

with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins,

honey, and sherry for a delicious totty

that goes right to the end of your

fingers and toes. Perfect if you need a

little TLC.

72 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 73


This issue, Alex Paganelli turns

to our Voyage themes of home,

garden, wood and sea for

gastronomic inspiration.

• 3 eggs

• 10g of butter

• 1 small cast iron or carbon steel pan (well seasoned)

• a pinch of salt

• two pinches of grated parmesan

• black pepper

• finely chopped garlic chives

• herb oil for brushing

Heat the pan with rapeseed oil and butter until hot. It

should be hot enough to melt the butter quickly but don’t

leave it too long – the butter shouldn’t brown.

Beat three eggs in a bowl with salt, pepper and chives.

When the bubbles from the butter start to fall, drop the

eggs into the pan and fold the sides of the omelette into

the centre repeatedly until most of the egg is cooked, but

still a little runny on the top. The whole process should

take no longer than a minute or two. Add grated parmesan,

more chives and fold into three.

Brush with herb oil and lightly blow torch.

TORCHED OMELETTE

AND GARLIC CHIVES


CHARCOALED

RED MULLET

AND CRISPY

CHILLI OIL

• 4 red mullets

• a few teaspoons of crispy chilli oil

• fresh coriander / parsley / basil to garnish

• salt

Rub some of the chilli oil on the red mullets and add salt to taste.

I use a Chinese crispy chilli oil, with hints of Szechuan, garlic and

some crispy chilli flakes, but any chilli oil would work. Place on a

BBQ and keep flipping it regularly until cooked. Turning it every

minute or so will prevent the skin from sticking to the grill - and

although this will probably end up happening at some point, it’s

best to try and preserve as much as possible to avoid dry flesh.

Red mullet is a small delicate fish, so cook it gently. Roughly 10

minutes on a small charcoal BBQ should be enough.

At the last minute, add more oil and flakes on top of the fish

where the skin starts to tear. Sprinkle some chopped fresh herbs

and serve immediately.


• 1 ltr of custard based chocolate ice cream

• a 2 ltr Kilner jar

• an ice cream maker

• a smoking gun

• wood chips

Place the custard in the Kilner jar (this works best

on a room temp custard since cold temperatures

don’t interact too well with the smoke). Add smoke

to the jar, close the lid. Let the custard absorb the

smoke and repeat until you are happy with the

taste. You can also add a little bit of flaked sea salt

at this point, or even a drop of great quality extra

virgin olive oil.

Leave the custard in the fridge for a day or so (it

will develop flavour) and smoke again if needed.

Place in the ice cream maker for 20 minutes and

freeze until set.

SMOKED

CHOCOLATE

ICE CREAM


Unlimited

Free Beer

Exclusive Offer for

Members

Beer52 subscriber’s best beers

Your notes on our Kentucky box!

BACKWOODS

BASTARD

Founders Brewing Co.

ABV: 11.1%

Style: Scotch Ale

MOSAIC

PROMISE

Founders Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.5%

Style: IPA

Invite your friends to join

Beer52 and get a Free Case

for every friend that signs

up*. PLUS they get their first

box Half Price.

To invite your friends, login at

Beer52.com and click ‘invite now’.

Drinking is always more fun when

you invite your friends along.

Not a Beer52 member? Sign up at Beer52.com

*Receive your free box once they become a fully paid up member.

Very nice and rich taste. This is what

Frodo and Sam would be drinking at

Prancing Pony in Bree.

ALEXANDER FOMINSKI • TASTER

Sweet, malty and with a good amount

of bourbon flavour which reminded me

of alcoholic raisins. Luckily I like raisins.

VICTORIA PATTON • MASTER TASTER

Wow! Strong and sweet, big notes of chocolate and vanilla

up front and an aftertaste of bourbon.

ANDY HIGGS • TASTER

Can you give this 6 stars? It’s so like bourbon but much

easier drinking - awesome.

HENRY WRIGLEY • MASTER TASTER

As close as it gets to perfection for me. Utterly intriguing

and delicious. Thank you Beer52.

ED D • MASTER TASTER

TOP TASTER:

Thornbridge Eldon - 4.19

4.1 4

ANOTHER ROUND?

86% Would go for Founders All Day IPA!

Really enjoyed this one. Nice tropical

flavours from the mosaic hops. A bit of a

twist to the overplayed citrus IPAs.

CHRISTOPHER WOOLHAM •

MASTER TASTER

Promised much and gave more - the

mosaic hops added an suprisingly bitter/

malty edge. Very good.

ALEX SCOTT • SUPER TASTE

Best beer in the box. Plenty of tropical fruits, refreshing

bitterness and smooth malt flavours. Excellent IPA.

DAVID FARREN • MASTER TASTER

This was really distinctive. Delicious. Probably because it

was single hop.

WILLIAM DREW • MASTER TASTER

Beautiful beer. Hoppy, not too bitter. Nice subtle maltiness.

DANIEL IBANEZ BLANCO • SUPER TASTER

DELIGHTFUL DESIGN:

Founders Backwoods Bastard - 4.18

Review your favourite beers from this month’s Beer52 box, to earn Taster points and see your name on this page.

Cheers!


DIPA

Beer52 x Partizan

EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE

NASTURTIUM SAISON

Beer52 x Partizan

ABV: 8.0%

Style: Double IPA

TASTING NOTES

"A big hop hit was all that was missing

from this portfolio and it seemed fitting to

do it an a grandiose celebratory manner!

Inspired by the wonderful fruit served at

breakfast and in desserts, a bouquet of

berry fruit and citrus exploding on the

palate, this double IPA is chock full of

New World hops with a gentle bitterness

and fulsome mouthfeel to compliment the

resinous hoppy aromatics."

- Chris J.J. Heaney

ABV: 3.8%

Style: Saison

TASTING NOTES

"One of our favourite beer styles at Partizan

and the one we are perhaps best know

for; the kitchen garden on Eriska seemed

a wonderful place to pillage for ideas on

herbal ingredients to compliment the highly

attenuated, dry, natural acidity of the French

Saison. The decision fell with the alluring

peppery bite of nasturtium (which appeared

on many of our plates over the weekend)

combined with a light European dry hop and

some sharp lime fruitiness to compliment the

yeast character."

- Chris J.J. Heaney

FENNEL GOSE

Beer52 x Partizan

EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE

SMOKED RYE ALE

Beer52 x Partizan

ABV: 4.0%

Style: Gose Kettle Sour

ABV: 6%

Style: Smoked Rye Ale

TASTING NOTES

"This beer was inspired by an afternoon spent by

the water’s edge on Eriska. From the moment of

arrival, the shore had a magnetic draw and on

a foraging trip, sampling some of the sea kelp

often harvested by the chef, I was reminded of an

idea floated by one of my colleagues a short time

ago for a combination of seaweed and fennel in

a beer. Since both were found in close proximity

on the island the concept seemed to further

insinuate itself and I chose the classically salted

Saxon style Gose as the best vehicle to showcase

these flavours. (Flavour combination credit goes

to friend and co-worker Fearghal O’Reilly!)"

- Chris J.J. Heaney

TASTING NOTES

"The insistent Scottish island breezes were

bracing and rejuvenating, but at times also

left us seeking the solace of a warm fire

and a glass of whisky as a restorative. The

baronial house hotel on the island provided

both in abundance (!) and I considered a

winter beer that could evoke those aromas

and the flavours of peat smoke and a spicy

malt character. Rye seemed the obvious

choice, with some seasonal spices and the

estery fruit profile provided by a traditional

Belgian Abbey ale yeast. "

- Chris J.J. Heaney

82 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 83


IPA

Beer52 x Pilot

EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE

NEIPA

Beer52 x Pilot

ABV: 4.0%

Style: Session IPA

ABV: 6.8%

Style: NEIPA

TASTING NOTES

"I can never sleep in when I’m on

the West coast, so I’d got up early

to have a mooch about and see if I

could spot any otters. Wandering

along the coast on a bright, crisp

morning is a beautiful way to clear

the mind and soul so I wanted to

produce a light, fresh beer to match

that feeling. I didn’t see any otters."

- Pat Jones

TASTING NOTES

"Whilst the hotel's amazing chef was

giving us a foraging tour of the island

I was absolutely blown away by the

tart citrus & green apple flavour of

wood sorrel. Unable to put that in a

beer as large quantities can apparently

knacker your kidneys, I wanted to brew

something that captured that sharp

fruitiness, so lots of New World hops

and a wee dash of citric acid should

hopefully do just that."

- Pat Jones

MäRZEN

Beer52 x Pilot

EXCLUSIVE

ABV: 5.6%

Style: Märzen

TASTING NOTES

"This was an attempt to

bottle that feeling of being

in a damp wood at the

start of Autumn, just as the

leaves are beginning to

turn golden and drop."

- Pat Jones

EXCLUSIVE

ABV: 6.1%

Style: Sweet Stout

TASTING NOTES

"After brisk walks around the

island on a cold afternoon, the

house at Eriska, with roaring

log fires and soft sofas, was like

walking into a giant duvet. This is

the beer form of a giant duvet."

- Pat Jones

SWEET STOUt

Beer52 x Pilot

84

FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 85


CLAY

Beer52 x Forest Road

EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE

STAVE

Beer52 x Forest Road

ABV: 5.4%

Style: Malty Pale Ale

TASTING NOTES

"This was a weird one. I snuck off to take a picture

of a boat on a the beach. When I came back

I noticed multiple freshwater feeds trickling

towards Loch Linnhe had brought a beautiful clay

sediment along with it. I instinctively picked some

up and felt the texture, it was pure clay. I made

a mask of it, let it dry and then jumped in the

cold water to wash it off. The wonderful bouquet

of trace minerals and earth reminded me of

the importance in malt in a hoppy but balanced

beer. Dedicated to the malt of the earth on that

seashore I reciprocated with my own unique

blend for an IPA."

- Pete Brown

ABV: 4.5%

Style: Porter

TASTING NOTES

"Our walks in the woods brought me

right back to the fort-building days of my

childhood in New England. The cold weather

squeezed a moist coating of dew on the

trees absorbed by the wild lichen and moss

covering their bark. There's nothing that

makes me want to have a cold stout-porter

than being with good beer-drinking pals

surrounded by tall trees on a cold day in

Scotland. Dedicated to the oaks of Eriska for

reminding me it's black-beer season."

- Pete Brown

CRESS

Beer52 x Forest Road

EXCLUSIVE

ABV: 4.0%

Style: Green Pepper Pale Ale

TASTING NOTES

"When we were foraging in the gardens and

grounds of the island the chef took us to a

bog by a creek where the watercress grew

naturally. I will never forget the bite that those

beautiful leaves gave us. It made me think

to the watercress I was subject to buying in

London and how lifeless it is. Likely because

its mass-produced and given nutrients that

scientists decide fit rather than what it actually

wants/needs to become the amazing plant

that I tasted on that misty day in Scotland.

In ode to the wild watercress, I wanted to

combine the spice we found that day with the

pale flavour we all love."

- Pete Brown

EXCLUSIVE

ABV: 3.5%

Style: Table Pale Ale

T.P.A

Beer52 x Forest Road

TASTING NOTES

"When we arrived on Eriska, we were greeted

with Grand Cru in champagne glasses by a guy

named Steven (hope we spelled his name right).

We could have told by this intro that he was an

absolute legend and as the weekend went on, we

found out that was an incredibly accurate assumption.

When we did our first tastings and intros at the house,

Steven told us about the history of the castle and had a

beer with us. When we asked him what he would like he

replied 'something light but full of flavour'. So naturally

when conceptualising a beer that encompassed the

experience of the house, I thought it would only be fair to

make 'something light for Steven' or a TPA table pale ale.

It was born. Thanks Steven you are an absolute legend."

- Pete Brown

86

FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 87


What gose

WORDS: Hugh Thomas

around

A

couple of years back, Robinsons – the

Stockport brewery and pub co in its

sixth generation – dropped its 1892

mild from production. Apparently the beer,

a mildly-hopped ale by modern standards,

was damaging turnover. “Today’s drinker does

not want a mild,” MD Oliver Robinson told

Manchester’s Evening News. “It’s the category

that’s declining the most.”

CAMRA filed its bereavements, but Mr

Robinson had a point. From a commercial

perspective, at least: with its mild now dead

and buried, the brewery saw profits rise by

20% the next year. In spite of the fact, the

landmark beer was effectively martyred,

thus gaining new value. Who knows, in 50

years’ time it could re-emerge as a modern

representation of a classic beer. Much like

Carlsberg’s ‘rebrew’ of their original lager in

2016, there’s the notion that something old felt

like something new again.

Shoot me for saying it, but Carlsberg may

have been onto something. Even if its efforts

didn’t turn many heads, the concept of revival

is a thread which runs through beer. Gose,

which has had its fair share of ups and downs

since it was brewed in the 16th century (there

was pretty much not a single drop of it in

Germany in the mid-1940s), is increasingly one

of the more go-to beers in the sour drinker’s

fridge. In the 18th century, with the growing

preference for kiln-dried malt (over malt left

to dry over an open fire), smoked beers fell

into decline. Yet a few Rauchbier-peddling

German brewpubs, and their influence on

craft breweries around the world, have helped

turn that on its head. Porter, once the most

popular drink in the country, disappeared after

the Second World War, but look at many bar

tops now (especially those in London) and you

wouldn’t know it.

Porter’s revival is thanks to, among others,

Meantime, Five Points, Beavertown, and

Fuller’s. Oh, and Anspach & Hobday, whose

porter is, after their pale ale and IPA, their

biggest seller. “We brewed the porter for its

history, really,” says co-founder Jack Hobday.

The porter style lends itself to London water,

which is naturally very hard. When you start

using lots of dark malts, you change the pH of

your mash, which counteracts the hardness and

the acidity of the water.”

It was during the 1800s that porter really

took off in London, and had a good innings

until suffering the consequences of rationing,

tax, and two world wars. The availability of dark

beers in general was at an all-time low, before

a slow revival movement picked up in the

PHOTO: www.flickr.com/photos/brostad

88 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 89


WHAT GOSE AROUND

‘70s, and which London’s craft breweries are

helping perpetuate today. “If you go back 20

years,” says Jack, “the majority of mainstream

beer drinkers wouldn’t have had much beyond

say Guinness, whereas there’s a lot more

variety in dark beers now.”

An especially fair point given Guinness’ one

dimensional representation of stout as a style.

As an industrial-scale, profit-driven brewer,

Guinness is quite tight-lipped over what

happens behind the scenes at their brewery.

When the stout was introduced in 1759, it

carried a lactic tang made possible by the

beer’s constitution: a blend of freshly brewed

ale and a much older one. The brewery

declines to say whether it still employs that

technique today. Derek Prentice, a veteran of

Truman’s, Fuller’s, and Young’s, and now head

brewer at Wimbledon Brewery, explains how,

partly due to beer duty levied on higher-ABV

beers, blending was an essential element to

many beer styles of the time.

“With things like the barley wine at

Truman’s,” he says, “you’d have a stock ale

which had been stored for some time, and

that would be blended into a running beer

to produce distinctive beers. In a somewhat

similar way to how lambics are blended

to produce gueuze. And, because of the

Brettanomyces in the older beer, there was an

element of souring.’

Wimbledon is, though not exclusively, a

heritage brewer. “We’ve just got involved in a

project with Goose Island and [beer historian]

Ron Pattinson on a 19th century porter,” Derek

says. “We’re bringing together the original

recipes – we’ve got the Whitbread and Barclay

Perkins recipes, and Truman’s records.”

In coming up with new interpretations of

old beers, Wimbledon has also been in the

business of dredging up its own history. The

brewery first opened in 1832 on Wimbledon’s

high street, before a fire gutted most of the

five-storey building in 1889. The brewery didn’t

reopen until 130 years later.

“We only have a couple of things from that

period,” says Derek. “One is a picture of the

brewery up in flames, the other is a price list

that gave us an idea of what they were brewing.”

Blending was an essential

element to many beer styles

of the time.

Said price list includes an XX, an XXX, and

an XXXK, based on the old ranking system

where Xs denoted the strength of the beer (the

more, the higher the strength), and K denoted a

pale ale.

Derek continues: “While I was at Fuller’s, we

did some recreations of historical beers. Some

of Fuller’s brewing records go back to the late

19th century, which was about the same time the

original Wimbledon brewery was functioning.

There would have been a commonality between

what the breweries were doing back then, like

an XXK, an imperial stout, and a Burton.”

On that basis, Wimbledon was able to come

up with new versions of the beers which passed

through the brewery some 180 years ago. They

include the now-neglected mild style, which

more or less supplanted porters in the 1830s,

until porter itself was replaced by bitters in the

‘60s as Britain’s beer of choice. “Our Mild XK is

a small beer, which went with the [winter ale]

XXK,’ says Derek. ‘It’s done on that same ‘strong

beer, small beer’ principle.’

Milds are, like many heritage styles, in and out

of fashion, and often misunderstood. To be fair,

styles go through so much change throughout

history, yet their names and labels stay the

same. There was a time, for instance, when

‘stout’ was a word which carried the same

connotations as it did outside the beer world

– strong and heavy. A considerable number

of stouts nowadays however are 4.5% ABV or

below.

“Milds used to be so different from what we

now know them as,” says Steve Dunkley, of

one-man Manchester brewery Beer Nouveau.

“Mild now usually means ‘weak’ or ‘dull’, but

it was formerly a description interchangeable

with ‘fresh’ or ‘green’. It’s only by reading blogs

and chatting to historians like Ron Pattinson

and Martyn Cornell, it must be said that we

can see this sort of thing, and then by brewing

these beers that we can prove it.”

Milds are, like many heritage

styles, in and out of fashion,

and often misunderstood.

Resurrecting forgotten beers has become

Steve’s speciality, which, just counting the

IPAs he’s recreated, includes Barclay Perkins’

IPA from the 1930s, Truman’s P18 first brewed

in 1953, and Tetley’s 1868 IPA. What Steve’s

rebrews show is the true distinctions between

contemporary interpretations of beer styles

and their vintage equivalents. “East India pale

ales such as Tetley’s 1868 are far removed

from modern IPAs,” says Steve. “Beers had

all their hops added at the start of long boils,

which made them bitter and sharp, and would

be aged in barrels for six to eight months.”

Barrel ageing is a big part of Britain’s

brewing heritage. Tiny breweries such as Beer

Nouveau would normally forgo them for all

the time, space and resources required. After

a successful crowdfunding campaign, which

raised £8,000, Steve is not one to follow suit.

“I’ve now got barrels to properly finish off

EIPAs and Russian imperial stouts,” he says.

“And working with Malting Box and Crisp

Maltings, I’m able to get malt much closer to

how it should be. So I’ll finally [we hope] be

able to brew a heritage porter with diastatic

brown malt [sprouted, dried, ground malt, to

you and me]!’

Authenticity obviously also extends to hops,

which weren’t quite as varied in the 1800s

as they are now. Not that that, according to

Steve, actually matters. “We’ve got hops such

as Citra and Cascade which are great for a

light, crisp, citrus aroma, but then we had

Cluster, Goldings and Fuggles back then,”

he says. “While people may mock Fuggles, I

recently brewed and kegged a modern-style

IPA with it, and had wonderful mango and

grapefruit notes. Not a single person guessed

it was Fuggles I used; most thought it was a

New Zealand hop.’

These assumptions we make, which in

practice often fail to hold much water, flag a

valid issue – that old, out of fashion beers are

somehow inferior to the ones we’re drinking

now. But when long-neglected styles like gose

and mild suddenly come back to the fore,

we rarely question our previous prejudices.

People talk of the perils of history repeating

itself. But in this context, maybe going through

the motions again and again is the whole

point.

“We’ve got a lot to learn from brewers of

the past,” confirms Steve. “The industry has

changed a lot over the last two hundred years.

If we don’t look at that, if we start from where

we currently are, we don’t see why it changed,

and we can’t see if there’s a better way of

doing things now.”

90 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 91


ugged, often desolate, battered by the

winds and salt spray of the North Atlantic,

Scotland’s west coast – and in particular the

chain of islands which stretch up from Mull to

Lewis and round to Orkney – offer some of the

most distinctive landscapes in the world. And

it is out of these landscapes, and the people

that have called them home for at least 10,000

years, that we find some of the most prized and

eclectic whiskies anywhere in Scotland.

One of the most surprising aspects of

Scotland’s islands is how distinct they are from

one another once you’re on the ground. Geology,

plant life and communities vary so much within

relatively short distances, even from one coast

to a small island to the other, that the inquisitive

traveller is constantly surprised.

The whiskies on offer are similarly diverse.

Highland Park, distilled on Oban, produces

some of the most crowd-pleasing (for all the

right reasons) single malts money can buy.

Full of character and just sweet enough, with a

little spice and just a touch of barbeque smoke,

it’s one of those staples that seems to suit any

palate. Further down the coast, Jura single malt

(named for the island it calls home) is a much

lighter spirit, with delicate sweetness and slight

salt. Travel down further still and you will reach

Tobermory on Mull, whose 10 year-old is round

and honeyed, with a malty nose and a hint of

smoke and black pepper in the finish.

Yet it is Islay, with its eleven distilleries,

which is arguably the jewel in the island

whisky crown. Exposed to the elements,

there are large swathes of the island

where little grows to any height, and the

extensive peat bogs provide the

only source of fuel for burning.

Images of the Isle of Skye : Rab Fyfe

92 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 93


ISLAND HOPPING

EXTENDED

CHRISTMAS

AUCTION

DECEMBER 22 ND - JANUARY 8 TH

whiskyauctioneer.com

Slainte!


WHISKY

WEST

COAST

This ancient peat is steeped in centuries of sea

spray and its exact character is unique to the

island.

When Islay’s early brewers went to kiln-dry

their malted barley, they found the distinctive

maritime, iodine tang of the peat smoke gave

the grains a special savoury character. The

tradition of peat-smoked barley continues

today, and each of the island’s distilleries

has its own unique peat profile and level of

smoke influence, from the very subtly peated

Bruichladdich ‘Classic Laddie’ to the TCP-like

Laphroaig. Whatever your taste though, they’re

all excellent whiskies, with a lot more to them

than just smoke.

For whisky lovers, the Scottish islands deliver

exactly what you would hope for and expect.

Even from the ferry, the long, low, white walls

and pagoda-topped roofs dotting the shore

signal that you are in distillery country. But

there is more to this place than history, as new

distilleries spring up to satisfy global demand

and the growing tourist industry. Torabhaig on

Skye, the Isle of Rathsaay Distillery, Abhainn

Dearg on Lewis and The Isle of Harris Distillery

have all opened in the past decade (or will

open soon).

Traveling on and between the islands is

relatively simple, with a little planning. Skye is

accessible by bridge from the mainline, while

regular and reasonably priced CalMac ferries

take passengers by car and on foot pretty

much everywhere else. Public transport can be

patchy but, with good planning, is always fun,

as it affords a chance to speak to the locals,

who are usually very happy to have a chat with

respectful tourists.

While they are undeniably beautiful by land,

we would always recommend taking a sea tour of

the islands if you get the chance, as it reveals a

side to their character that you simply won’t see

from the road, with stunning views and aweinspiring

wildlife.

Whisky is one of those drinks that genuinely

embodies the earth from which it was created;

it’s why the honour of being dubbed a ‘Scotch

malt whisky’ is so heavily protected. The island

and west coast whiskies are an expression of

the landscape, of nature and of the people who

have lived there for decades. And the best place

to experience these very special spirits will

always be in their home.

TARBERT LOCH FYNE

Tarbert’s only malt whisky shop

offering a great selection of

speciality malt whiskies from

around Scotland’s west coast.

830 HARBOUR STREET

TARBERT PA29 6UB

t: 07990 974679

e: whiskywestcoast@gmail.com

94 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 95


Advertorial

BAR OF THE MONTH

How about HOPS

and SCOTCH?

hen Glasgow-based Scotch

WWhisky firm Douglas Laing

& Co was founded, the local

consumers of the firm’s wares would

likely have enjoyed a dram alongside

a half pint. Yes – in 1940s Glasgow,

the “Half ‘n’ Half” serve was a firm

favourite amongst pub-goers, whose

beer was simply unsatisfactory if not

served with a measure of the finest

Malt Whisky in tow.

Father-daughter duo Fred and Cara

Laing believe it’s high time this

tradition was revived, and it’s their

passionate belief that their Timorous

Beastie Highland Malt Scotch Whisky

is just the dram for the job.

An expertly-blended marriage of

Single Malt Scotch Whiskies only

from the Highland region, Timorous

Beastie is named in honour of the

eponymous, timid wee field mouse

in Robert Burns’ famous poem. The

Whisky itself is anything but timid,

proudly bottled at 46.8% alcohol

strength and delivering a palatepleasing

infusion of honey and

warming spices.

Served with a full-bodied porter

or stout, the Whisky delivers a

lighter, sweeter character, whilst

complementary citrus flavours can

be found in both the Timorous

Beastie and a pale ale. The

competition between the Whisky and

the beer makes each work that little

bit harder, competing for the palate’s

approval, and delivering new depths

of flavours from each.

The Voodoo Rooms

EDINBURGH

TIMOROUS BEASTIE TASTING NOTES

NOSE: Overridingly sweet initially, warming to floral, light

barley and spicy honeyed tones.

PALATE: Opens in a spicy style with fresh and fruity notes of

raisin and a sugary, fudgey character.

FINISH: Subtle yet sweet with a real oaky flavour, hints of milky

cereals and late meringue.

Edinburgh is probably our favourite city for drinking whisky, and

The Voodoo Rooms is one of the best spots to enjoy a whisky

cocktail. The Voodoo Rooms is a stalwart of Edinburgh’s highly

regarded cocktail scene, and many of its mixologists have gone

on to leading roles in the city’s other award-winning bars. With a

constantly-changing lineup of seasonal cocktails, there’s always

something new to discover, and a great atmosphere in which to

go exploring the well-stocked bar.

After this issue’s island-hopping antics, we were in the mood

for something evocative of Scotland’s beautiful west coast, so

Rosie at The Voodoo Rooms kindly shared the recipe for its

best-selling whisky cocktail, based around the super-peaty and

medicinal Laphroaig single malt, from the island of Islay.

Timorous Beastie is the Highland answer

to Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional

Malts; a range of six Malts that strive to

deliver the “ultimate distillation” of their

respective regions. The range includes

The Epicurean from the Lowlands,

Timorous Beastie (Highlands), The

Gauldrons (Campbeltown), Scallywag

(Speyside) and Big Peat (Islay).

Enjoy £5 OFF a bottle of

TIMOROUS BEASTIE with the code

“HOPSANDSCOTCH” when you

shop before 28th February 2018 at

thegreenwellystop.co.uk.

Follow @remarkable_malts on Instagram.

Millionaire's

SHORTBREAD

25ml LAPHROAIG

12.5ml CHESTNUT LIQUEUR

12.5ml CARAMEL SYRUP

50ml FRESH ESPRESSO

Shake together with ice, and

strain into a chilled cocktail

glass with a chocolate biscuit

crumble garnish.

96 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 97


Ploughing forth o’er the watery blanket,

hope-filled and anticipatory

of sustenance for body and mind,

senses bombarded with the postcard beauty

so picture perfect it begs decry

of Truman Show-esque fakery.

In the wide-eyed reverie, banishing the greasy clutches

of modern living, we are reborn, baptised,

delicately caressed by the sun’s luscious tendrils,

the air, a rarefied tonic of renewal.

Onward! to sup aside soft glowing hearth,

a smoky waft at ebb; the soul of generations past

etched into the gnarled grains of weathered wood,

a natural tally neatly bedded side by side

in ordered yet delightfully non-uniformed rows -

swathes of history, vignettes of other lives once lived.

Led forth, tawny carpet of windfallen residue -

replete with waning resinous aromas -

carpets the way, where under churlish canopy

thrive earth besplotted, peppery greens

prompting piquant awakening

that swiftly brings emotional clarity;

visions of transcendent perfection

in the apotheosis of natural forms -

worship worthy! - here enveloping all thought,

distilling whimsical notion and existential angst

to pure heart throbbing joy;

the apex, a plateau of utter peace.

Here and there, darting minnows sparking top-notes

hone discrete erratic chaos

within a grander focus, far beyond

the trivial minutiae of the parochial,

and sky trumpeters taken to wing

celebrate the quotidian;

the constant turning of the earth.

98 FERMENT MAGAZINE

C.J.J. Heaney, October 2017.

Though at last we divest ourselves,

still naught is lost but rather transformed;

energies reforged and given purpose;

colours fluid and ethereal, always just evading

capture or classification -

a sense of racing time

within a vacuum.

Thus are men sluggish villians, torpedoed with enlightenment.

In imitation of epic questers,

carving an animated froth

on the reptilian swell, dotted rocky enclaves

rise like bakers’ buns

from slick filmic mirror in our wake.

Yonder, a lone tower juts

against a streaked and dappled skyline -

broad brush strokes of a Heavenly being?

Or simply nature’s unerring, awe inspiring

dreamscape - casts its modest light

true and far, herald for the journeys

of those afloat.

Sweetest memory still prevails

of saline spray that stings the cheeks,

open faces contorted in joy-filled reception

of the ocean’s freely dispensed blessing.

Here and there natives gaze quizzically;

and on occasion raise a querulous inquiry.

Eriska, you have taken our hearts.

The natural choice

for cheese

Available in specialist food shops,

Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado.

To buy online or find your

local stockist visit

www.petersyard.com

FERMENT MAGAZINE 99


21>

£4.99

9

772397 696005

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines