Ferment Issue 43 // Raise The Bar 2019

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FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 43

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

MEET THE FUTURE OF UK CRAFT BEER

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EDITOR

Richard Croasdale

LEAD DESIGNER

(Maternity Leave)

Ashley Johnston

DESIGNER

Adele Juraža

Editor’s

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There are few things more exciting than discovering

a new brewery that absolutely knocks your socks

off, not just in terms of the quality of its beer, but

its originality, its story, its approach. This is what the

Raise The Bar competition is all about, and we’re very

happy to be involved for its second year, and to bring you

a selection from the winning breweries.

As well as interviews with each of the winners, we have

Eoghan Walsh and Katie Mather’s report from the gloriously

anarchic Carnivale Brettanomyces, as well as a critical look at

the beery institution that is Zwanze Day.

Matthew Curtis uncovers the inconvenient truth about how

climate change could affect our beer industry, while Anthony

Gladman asks what we as beer lovers can do to drink more

sustainably.

Melissa Cole rails against the problem of glass theft in

our pubs, bars and taprooms, and this month’s Beer School

explains how to pick the best glasswear to suit your drink

(legitimately purchased, of course).

As always, feel free to share your favourite new breweries

or any other cheerful thoughts at ferment@beer52.com or

@fermenthq.

Mothership, p.10

This issue of Ferment was first

printed in August 2019 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.

Richard

Got a Beer52 customer service query? Call 0131 285 2684,

email support@beer52.com, or on social media @beer52hq


CONTRIBUTORS

MATTHEW CURTIS

WRITER & PHOTOGRAPHER

Matthew Curtis is an award-winning

freelance beer writer, photographer

and podcaster based in London, UK.

@totalcurtis

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

KATIE MATHER

WRITER

Katie is a beer blogger and part-time

goth who loves writing essays about pub

culture. She’s also a monthly guest on BBC

Radio Lancashire where she speaks about

local beer. @Shinybiscuit

ALEX PAGANELLI

CHEF & FOOD

PHOTOGRAPHER

As founder of Dead Hungry, Alexandre has

been creating incredible recipes for Ferment.

deadhungry.co

OLLIE PEART

WRITER

Host of “The Zeitgeist” on The Modern Mann

Podcast, Ollie keeps his finger on the pulse so

we don’t have to.

@Ollieep

ANTHONY GLADMAN

WRITER

Anthony is an accredited Beer Sommelier

and freelance writer based in London.

When he’s not writing about beer he runs

tastings and beer tours. @agladman

8: Raise the bar

Meet this year’s winners up close: Mothership,

Vault City, Dig Brew Co and Turning Point.

26: “Every brewer’s dream”

Brew day at Antwerp’s legendary De Proef.

30: docklands city guide

Out and about at the London Craft Beer Festival.

40: carnivale brettanomyces

Katie Mather and Eoghan Walsh report from

Amsterdam.

50: zwanze day

Beer-lovers’ holy day, or over-hyped cash grab?

54: florida weisse

Jonathan Garrett uncovers the

sunshine state’s peculiar staple.

58: climate change

With hop and barley crops already

under threat, is it time to worry

about our beer supply?

64: sustainable drinking

We can all do our bit, writes

Anthony Gladman.

70: office brew

The Beer52 monthly team brew is back

with a rhubarb and raspberry sour.

82: Beer guide

What’s in this month’s Beer52 box?

94: Beer school:

glasswear

Pick the right vessel for

your vittles

By Craig Collins @CraigComicsEtc & Mark Brady @HolidayPirate


RAISE THE BAR COMPETITION

THE WINNERS 2019

From left: Jen Merrick, Callum Stewart, Greg Wise, Tom Maya, Ben Winders, Matt Curtis and Jaega Wise

More than 60 breweries

entered this year’s Raise the

Bar competition, each vying

for the chance to pour at beer festivals

across the UK and see their creations

mailed out to thirsty Beer52 members.

To be eligible for consideration,

contenders need to have been in

commercial production for less than

two years, and were asked to send

samples of three different beers.

Judging took place in March this

year, at Hackney’s Pembury Tavern,

and was conducted by a panel

including Wildcard’s Jaega Wise,

Earth Station’s Jen Merrick, beer

writer Matt Curtis, We are Beer’s Greg

Wise and Beer52’s Callum Stewart.

Their challenge: To whittle down 60 to

just four exceptional young breweries.

Unlike most beer competitions, this

was not a blind tasting. The judges

looked not only at the beer itself, but

also branding and provenance of the

brewery, as well as their potential to

scale up and make an impact on a

crowded market.

“What we found key throughout

the competition was consistency

across the range,” says Callum. “While

some breweries had one outstanding

beer, this was not backed up by the

second and third, whereas the winning

breweries were able to carry this

across all beers submitted.

The branding and styles selected

were also important. While there are

only so many IPAs one can try, a 12%

barrel aged imperial stout may not be

appealing to a larger audience. We

had to keep in mind that the winners

would be showcased around the

country at beer festivals as well as in

the Beer52 box. Two were selected as

clear winners, and there was a long

deliberation about the final four, but in

the end all the judges agreed on the

winners as submitted the best three

beers.”

The judging day itself was as much

fun as you’d expect; beer tasting

isn't like wine tasting, in that you do

actually drink the beer. However, as

professionals, the judges made sure

to start early enough to spread the

tastings throughout the day. There was

a long break for lunch, at which plenty

of food was laid on, and water and

crackers were provided throughout.

Like any competition, it's hard to

get attention with so many entrants,

so any beers that missed the mark

were swiftly poured away.

There were many worthy entrants,

but in the end the stand-out four

were Mothership, Vault City, Dig

Brew Co and Turning Point.

The selected breweries

represent the depth of talent across

the UK, hailing from Edinburgh,

Yorkshire, Birmingham and London

and a big congratulations to them

all. We look forward to seeing your

journey this year and welcoming

more entries to the competition for

next year,” says. Callum.

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Having been in the same situation

myself, I sadly can’t claim to

have had any particularly

brilliant ideas while trying to comfort

a screaming baby at 3am. Yet that’s

exactly how Jane started on the path

that would eventually see her open

Mothership, the new brewery that’s

wowing beer lovers across the capital,

and is one of this year’s Raise the Bar

competition winners.

Jane fell in love with fermentation

during a school summer job as a

wine-maker’s assistant at Chapeldown

WORDS: Richard Croasdale

PHOTOS: Nicci Peet

winery in Kent. The experience

sparked a passion that continued

through her subsequent years studying

for a degree in graphic design, during

which she avidly brewed hedgerow

wines from foraged fruit such as plums

and blackberries. But it wasn’t until

almost a decade later, when she bought

her husband a simple homebrew kit,

that her attention turned to beer.

“This thing sat in cupboard for a

year before I decided to just do it

myself,” she says “It was a boring

Timothy Taylor clone that you made

by boiling a can of extract, but I was

hooked on beer straight away. I did

quite a lot of research into brewing

and went straight into making my own

recipes on an all-grain kit.

“Even at that point I wasn’t really

a beer drinker, but I was fascinated

with the process and spent a lot

of time trying to nail it technically.

So I was brewing single hop beers,

experimenting with when and how I

added the hops… not really trying to

make drinkable beer, but trying to

understand the effect of the different

ingredients and when you add them.”

Jane had been honing her craft in

this way, alongside her day job as a

designer, for about four years when

she and her husband had two children

in pretty quick succession. As anyone

with young children will confirm, it’s

easy to lose sight of your own passions

in the chaos of night-time feeds and

constant cleaning, and Jane says

brewing was one of the things that

“anchored” her sense of identity.

“It became about more than making

beer; it became a ‘this is me’ thing,”

she says. “And that made me think

about other things in my life. I’d

spent 12 years as a graphic designer,

with a lot of time in design agencies

and eventually found myself in an

advertising agency. I really didn’t

enjoy being there, working for some

questionable clients, and felt I had

more to offer than that.

“So after my second son, I decided

not to go back, and that’s when the

idea for mothership came about. All

the initial recipes were designed and

practised in nap time; everything

happened very much around raising

children”

As you’ll see from the cans in

your box this month, Jane’s design

background hasn’t gone to waste, as

she’s clearly put a lot of thought into

creating a brand that would stand

out. In this, she says, her relative

inexperience of the beer industry and

its trends has been something of an

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MOTHERSHIP

Jane Frances LeBlond, founder of Mothership

Jane says brewing was one

of the things that 'anchored'

her sense of identity.

advantage, as she wasn’t consciously

looking to what’s considered cool,

but has instead enjoyed the freedom

of creating without preconceptions.

Creation of the first beers has been a

similarly liberating creative process, as

she explains.

“Coming up with a beer recipe is

the same as being a designer, just in

a different medium. I did quite a few

iterations, some more successful than

others, but eventually ended up with

some beers I was really happy with. I

just released three to start: a brut pale

ale fermented with champagne yeast,

a cardamom and rose milk Summer

stout I’d made as a homebrewer, and a

single-hop IPA called Hypergalactic.”

As well as these three beers, Jane

also recently put out a watermelon

gose, the proceeds of which have all

gone to a women’s charity. Her plan

is to put out a new range of seasonal

core beers once every six months, with

another limited charity beer each midseason.

For now, Mothership remains

a cuckoo brewery, using the kit first at

U-Brew, and latterly at a cukoo-focused

brewery in west Sussex called Missing

Link. She’s also taken on Carla, who

works on the festivals and events side,

and Zoe, the head of sales.

While she ultimately plans to open

a physical brewery of her own, Jane

has already come a long way since her

home brew days.

“When I first started, there wasn’t

much information about how to brew

without a brewery,” she says. “I had a

storage unit at the back of Asda and

was doing local deliveries myself,

out of the back of my car. A lot of

people who wanted the beer, but I was

struggling to find ways to get it to them.

Now have a warehouse that deals

with deliveries, and bringing on Zoe

has made a huge difference; it finally

feels like we’re a proper functioning

brewery! So it’s been a learning curve

definitely.”

An important part of Mothership’s

mission is advocating for women in

beer, whether they’re brewing, selling,

writing about or simply drinking beer.

“As well as the six-monthly

fundraising beer, we do these social

media spotlights every week or two,

where we focus on a woman in beer,

and get them to talk about their

experience. We want to normalise

it – it shouldn’t be about the fact

they’re women, but their expertise,

knowledge and creativity. We’ve also

done an event called breaking into

beer, featuring a panel of five women

who’d moved into the industry from

other industries, talking about their

experiences, what challenges the

overcame and how they overcame

them.”

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Vaulting Ambition

WORDS: Richard Croasdale

Edinburgh’s Hanging Bat beer

bar has become something of

an institution in the city, and is

the birthplace of one of the country’s

most exciting young breweries: Raise

The Bar winner Vault City.

Johnny Horn was working at the

bar’s micro-brewery when he met

regulars Adele Wilkie and her partner

Steven Smith-Hay, and the three

struck up an instant (if somewhat

beer-centric) friendship. At around

the same time, Johnny was finishing a

degree in archeology, wondering what

his next move should be and slowly

mulling the idea of starting a brewery

of his own.

Adele picks up the story: “Steven

was homebrewing too, and we’d often

speak about how it was something he’d

like to take further, so it felt like an

obvious move to team up with Johnny.

Around that time, I broke my leg skiing

and was pretty much immobilised,

so these guys ended up doing most

of their planning at our house. Of

course, I started getting more and

more involved pitching in ideas, and

eventually became part of the team.”

From day one, it was clear that

Vault City brew beer that interested

the gang, rather than beers they knew

would sell. Johnny’s love of Lambics

and other Belgian sour styles had

infected Adele and Steven, and they

all believed there was a gap in the

market for heavily fruited, mixed

fermentation beers. These difficult,

time-consuming, expensive brews

might seem an odd choice for a brand

new brewery, but Adele recalls being

convinced that it would be a good

niche.

From left: Johnny, Louie, Steven and Adele

There's a lot of breweries making

beers that are excellent and full

of flavour, but they've maybe got

constraints of time or money to put

in. So, we decided to make something

we weren't looking to make money off

initially, in order to put all our money,

time and effort into making a beer that

was different to most of what you find

out there.

“All of us are still full-time in our

jobs, and we don’t really have and

start-up capital, so we decided the

best way to do it – and Christ knows

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VAULT CITY BREWING

The

Bottleshop

Visit our bottleshop, jam-packed with great beer for you to explore and

enjoy. Discover the benefits for our members and make the most of

your unlimited points with a tidy selection of beers available right now.

how this happened – was to set up the

brewery in our kitchen.”

So that’s what they did. With a

brewkit little larger than a homebrew

setup, Vault City began weekly brews

in July 2018, investing in fermenters to

hold their beer during the long, slow

fermentation required for mixed-ferm

brews.

“We were invited to the

Beavertown birthday bash in

September, so that was busier. But

we've never brewed more than once

a week because we don't have the

fermenter space. I wish we could

brew more, but we just don't have the

capacity.”

Fortunately for beer lovers

though, the next few months should

see a big change for Vault City, as

it hopefully partners with another

Scottish brewery in a “cuckoo-plus”

arrangement. Uneasy about the

idea of exposing another brewery’s

kit to potential infection from its

mixed culture of yeast and bacteria,

Vault City will instead install its own

upgraded kit under another brewer’s

Vault City brew beer

that interested the gang,

rather than beers they

knew would sell.

roof, sharing some of the same

facilities but ultimately running a

separate process. It’s a clever solution.

In the meantime though, Vault

City has had a taste of large scale

brewing through Raise The Bar and it’s

collaboration with Beer52, as Johnny

joined the brewers at De Proef to see

his recipes brewed for our members to

enjoy (see page 26).

“I definitely think the guys at

De Proef are on board with what

we’re doing, and we’re really excited

to taste the beers. There’s so much

interest in mixed fermentation at the

moment that I think more people

have heard about us than is maybe

normal for such a young brewery.

We were at an event in Birmingham

recently and the guy from Fantôme

came up to say he’d heard of us and

was interested in what we're doing. I

think Jonny had to go next door and

hyperventilate for a while! When

you're brewing out your kitchen it's

hard to imagine people out there

actually drinking your beer, let alone

talking about it!”

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You Dig?

Art has always been a big part

of the global craft movement,

largely in the form of the

trend of mind-bending, conventionbreaking,

eye-popping can and

bottle designs we inherited from the

states. But some breweries take the

connection between beer and art

even further, incorporating visual art,

storytelling and big ideas into the way

the business is run and even into the

beer itself.

Dig founder Oliver Webb’s story is

a little unusual. Instead of quitting a

job he hated after avidly homebrewing

for years, his path into craft started

at art school. It was at the end of his

first year, and everyone was pitching

in, helping the second year students

get ready for their final exhibition.

Oliver recalls this was the first time

he’d really felt the creative community

vibe that he’d expected would be the

norm. So he did what any normal,

creative individual would do under

the circumstances. He turned his

studio space into a bar.

“We just bought the cheapest beer

we could find at Sainsbury’s, and

everyone donated like a pound a pint

to keep the thing going. We’d also do

special themed cocktails depeneding

on what was happening that week – if

we had a visiting artist for example.

Every Wednesday we’d go to the main

student union bar and beg them for

ice, because that’s where the big

parties were.”

But wasn’t that a bit… illegal?

“Oh absolutely, and we ended up

getting shut down by the police at the

end of the year – we still think one of

the student union bar managers ratted

us out, but it’s all water under the

bridge.”

Oliver’s illicit bar went legit for

a while, as to took it round various

Birmingham beer gardens staging

events, making a bit of money and, as

it turned out, attracting the attention

of some people who would one day

be his investors. For Oliver, this was

all a way to fund his creative pursuits,

while he waited to be discovered as an

artist. But everything changed during

a fateful trip to New York.

“It was a real moment of revelation,”

recalls Oliver. “I went to the Other

Half taproom and suddenly realised

a brewery could be more than just a

place where you make beer. It was

bringing people in, telling a story and

expressing itself in so many different

ways. I thought ‘this is a fantastic

direction for my practice to go down’.

I could make it a progression of my

work, do something really interesting

with it.”

All through this time, he was

talking to the owners of a hugely

successful community pub in Tipton,

Birmingham, called Mad O’Rouke’s pie

factory. The team there had seen what

Oliver had achieved with his bar and

were keen to work with him; when he

took the brewery idea to them, they

were immediately behind him. He

teamed up with his brother and sister

to help run the business, and finally

brought on a head brewer, Joe Leaney,

who had been working at another

local brewery.

A brewery could be

more than just a place

where you make beer.

The investors were like 'you're not

playing around with this much money

without a professional brewer to help

you',” laughs Oliver. So I got Joe to join

the dark side. So it was our core of

four people.”

Like any new brewery, the start

was tough and Dig had to work hard

to get its name out. Again, Oliver’s

first instinct was to reach to the

art world and explore how his new

venture could collaborate locally.

They ran raves, worked with the art

galleries of which there are so many

in Birmingham, and then used the

revenue from these events to do more

with those relationships, gradually

embedding themselves in the wider

local cultural scene.

Oliver’s passion for art also shows

in the range of beers Dig brews, and

the way it works through new recipes.

“From a very basic point of view,

we’ve got a large range that we're

willing to push out. We have a core

range of four beers, but we talk about

them as families that we're developing

into expanded meta storylines. In that

family, there's Hell normal and Hell

light – which is an American-style rice

lager – and Hell Life, which is an IPL.

California is our fruity, sour, low-hop

family, where we change the fruit

every time. Then there's Optimo, our

house NEIPA, which we title in the

style of films sequels. So, we’ve got

Optimo Forever coming out soon, for

example.”

One of the Dig’s Beer52 beers is

titled cutely The Last Optimo, because

“generally brewing a beer with

DeProef means like you've completed

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YOU DIG?

the craft beer game. Obviously it's a

non-linear story though, so there will

be other Optimos coming out later.”

Dig Brew Co is proud

of its roots and genuinely

passionate about its

community role.

Named for the Digbe.th area it calls

home, Dig Brew Co is proud of its

roots and genuinely passionate about

its community role. Birmingham has

the youngest population of any city

in Europe, and some of its poorest

communities, particularly in its former

industrial hinterlands; places like

Tipton, Digbeth and Wolverhampton.

The reality of Digbeth is there are

very few residents - it's all undeveloped

industrial land, very close to the centre

of Birmingham. The landlords are

waiting for HS2 to push prices us, so

there’s nothing happening there. We've

got a 7,000 square ft building that

would be unaffordable in any other

part of the world – that gives us an

opportunity to be a force for good.”

“You've got all these young people

who want more out of life, so they're

moving out of the provinces and

coming into the centre of Birmingham.

That's why it’s such a young city. You've

got all these young people basically

saying ‘right, show us what you've got,

what can we do with ourselves’. It's up

to everyone to recognise that. These

people need inspired. So Birmingham

being the youngest city in Europe isn't

an opportunity to make money, it's a

responsibility. Let's make it worth it, or

it would have all been a waste.”

It might not be the kind of art he

envisaged making, but through Dig

Oliver is clearly pursuing some big

ideas about what it means to be a

young local brewery and how his story

forms part of the rapidly evolving

history of the UK’s second largest city.

We hope it’s a story that plays out well.

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Richard Croasdale catches up with

Turning Point, the Raise The Bar

winners who live to mix things up

Brewing for

the moment

When you ask a brewer

about their process, the

standard answer is “we

brew the beers we’d want to drink”.

However, I’d wager few breweries

follow this philosophy through with

quite the same seat-of-the-pants

commitment as Turning Point, the

York(ish)-based brainchild of Cameron

Brown and Aron McMahon.

“We didn't really have a strategy

of heading out with a core range of

beers,” explains Cameron. “Who are

we to say these beers are so good

that people will want them again and

again? So instead we said ‘let's just

make some beers, and then some

different beers, and just keep going

like that’. We've never really changed

that formula: we just sit down every

few days and decide what we're going

to do. I’m looking at the board just

now and we’ve got our next two brews

planned, then that’s it.”

This approach fits very nicely with

the origins of the brewery itself.

Cameron became besotted with beer

during his time as a student in York,

and ended up running a pub, the now

sadly defunct Falcon Tap. This gave

him the opportunity to “use the sales

lists to create a never-ending beer

festival” for himself and a loyal group

of adventurous regulars. It also gave

him an outlet for his homebrew efforts,

which he'd make at home or in the

Falcon’s basement, and then hand out

to anyone who was interested.

This is also how he met – and, in

his words, “kind of fell in love with”

– co-founder Aron, who was at the

time handling sales and deliveries for

nearby Brass Castle brewery.

“We saw each other every week and

just egged each other on in terms of

beer enthusiasm. So, I was devastated

when he told me he was leaving to do

something else. He wasn't really sure

what he was going to do, except that

he wanted it to be his own thing. I

jokingly said okay, let's do a brewery

then. And I promise you it was a joke.

I was definitely joking. Then he called

me two weeks later and said ‘so, this

brewery… were you kidding?" and I

replied, ‘deadly serious’.”

The pair met up shortly after, around

Christmas 2016, with the intention

of determining whether their dream

had legs. Needless to say, by the

second pint, they’d decided where the

brewery would be and exactly what

kit they would need. In January they

put the deposit down and Turning

Point’s inaugural brew took place in

April 2017, a schedule that Cameron

now describes as “flat-out bonkers,”

but which seems entirely suited to the

brewery’s ‘let’s just do it’ ethos.

Over the intervening couple of

years, Turning Point has earned a

great reputation locally, and has

even started pushing beyond the

“weird gated community that is North

Yorkshire”. It’s perhaps best known for

its big beers – unctuous, lactose-laden

DIPAs and dessert stouts.

“We seem to have carved out a

slightly odd niche, brewing beers that

seem like they should be dark but

which are actually light. Really weird,

pale, lactose-sweet stuff. They’ve

gathered a bit of a following. One's

called yellow matter custard, which

From left: Luke, Aron and Cameron

is like a low-hop, vanilla sweet pale

ale. It's bonkers, drinks like... Yop. We

were designing it, and we thought

‘why would we want to make it dark?

Why would we take away from those

delicious dessert flavours by putting

something roasty and bitter in there?’

People have gone crazy for it.”

“We take a lot of care and pride

in our IPAs though. It's kind of a

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BREWING FOR THE MOMENT

continuous IPA project, because we'll

do one, and then ask how we can make

the next one better. Not necessarily

more hops, but how can we improve

the actual quality of the beer?”

Let's just make some

beers, and then some

different beers, and just

keep going like that.

Being in York, it’s unsurprising that

a good slice of its output is in cask,

and Cameron is proud that every

beer he brews will end up in a cask

somewhere, “even the silliest ones”.

While it has two regularly-brewed

beers – Lucid Dream stout and Disco

King APA – these generally only go

to permanent customers, so Turning

Point can continue to focus on

experimentation and variety.

Cameron says: “We go to some

breweries and they've got 10

permanent beers and supermarket

contracts to supply, and it just leaves

so little time for experimentation and

collaboration; the fun stuff! That’s

really why we keep our production

schedule empty.” I ask whether he

worries this approach will limit the

brewery’s growth. “Growth is definitely

important, but where we are at

the moment it's not really an issue,

because we're already maxed out – our

capacity has been the limiting factor.”

This could all be about to change

though, as Cameron and Aron have

just taken on Rooster’s old site and kit,

just down the road in Knaresborough,

effectively doubling their current

capacity, with space for a taproom

and further expansion in the future.

Once again, they’ve given themselves

six weeks to get everything up and

running; it seems old habits die hard.

“When it was just me and Aron, this

place was fine. But then we took on

another brewer, Luke, who’s become

the heart and soul of the brewery.

And then at Christmas we hired

Andy as an assistant. He didn’t know

anything about beer at the time, but

we liked him. So suddenly we were

kind of tripping over each other on the

brewery floor.

“We thought it’d be another couple

of years before we found anywhere

new, and we had plans to make this

place a bit more practical, but then

Roosters announced it was moving

somewhere bigger. And, again, Aron

and I jokingly said ‘well, we could

always buy their old brewery’…”

Another recent step forward has

been the introduction of cans into

Turning Point’s range, which Cameron

sees as being key to getting the brand

and the beer in front of a wider

audience. Proving they can be sensible

where it counts, the pair agreed early

on that they’d hold back on small-pack

until the beer was at a point where

they were 100% happy with its quality

and stability.

“We also liked the idea initially that

if you wanted to drink our beer you'd

need to leave the house! Canning is

being phased in very gradually, with

one eye on breweries who'd made

mistakes in the past. We brew two

beers that are the best representation

of where we are about at that time.

We'll do a couple of thousand cans of

each, wait until they're sold, then do

the next batch. We want the beer to

leave fresh and get to people in the

best condition, rather than canning

everything, having it sitting around

and having people drink stale beer. It's

worked out really well.”

Growth is definitely

important, but where

we are at the moment

it's not really an issue.

Given that both Cameron and

Aron seemed to have simultaneously

reached a point in their lives when

they wanted to strike out and pursue

their dreams, I ask if the name Turning

Point had any particular emotional

resonance for them.

I should have known better.

“We went through loads of different

names, trying to come up with the

coolest name ever,” says Cameron,

straight faced. “But then we thought

‘God, we're going to look like dicks

if we call ourselves something

really epic’. Like, if you call yourself

Rocketship or something, you’re

setting yourself up for a fall. So in

the end we just went through a load

of common phrases until we found

one that sounded like it could be a

craft brewery. Three syllables, easy to

pronounce. Happy days.

“… It’s actually become a bit of a

running joke that every single one of

the 70 beer names we've come up with

so far would be a better brewery name

than Turning Point. I mean ‘Space

Monkey Mafia’ – I’d definitely buy a

beer from those guys.”

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Drinking from the

Callum Stewart joins our

Raise The Bar winners

at De Proef brewery

source

From left:

Carla & Jane (Mothership), James (Beer52), Dirk Naudts & his daughter (De Proef),

Donncha (Dig Brew), Johnny (Vault City), Oliver (Dig Brew) and Cameron (Turning Point)

I

am driving through the Belgian

countryside, getting turn-by-turn

directions by Cameron from Turning

Point brewery (how appropriate).

We’re a good half hour off the main

track, crawling through quaint villages

of Flanders which look straight off a

postcard. There is no brewery in sight,

but if you were to choose anywhere in

the world to set one up, this would have

to be top of the list.

We trust the directions, and

eventually we see the distinctive shape

of fermentation vessels on the horizon.

We have arrived at De Proef, one of the

best-known contract breweries in the

world, whose output is stocked in bars

and bottle shops around the world in

partnership with the likes of Mikkeller,

ToOl and Omnipollo. These new-wave

Scandinavian breweries are only a

small part of the story, as told by the

owner and head brewer Dirk Naudts.

Right down to the smallest details,

this place has the ‘Willy Wonka’ effect

in craft beer. Entering the brewery,

we’re amazed at a piece of brewing

equipment that we haven’t seen

before that is purely for washing

shoes. Nobody is quite sure what to

expect and, unsurprisingly, we are

not allowed to take pictures in several

rooms including the research and

development labs.

Dirk takes us upstairs and it’s clear

his passion for the brewing industry is

hard to match. He talks for a long time,

but nobody interrupts and everyone

is listening and taking mental notes.

Some of the best beers in the world

come out of this brewery and our

guests – from Mothership, Vault City,

Dig Brew Co and Turning Point – are

looking to take any ideas, inspiration

and tips they can.

Some of the best beers in

the world come out of this

brewery and our guests

The early days of De Proef were

rather simple in comparison to today’s

hosting of rockstar brewers such as

Mikkel Bjergsø. Founded in 1996 in

the sleepy Belgian countryside village

of Lochristi-Hijfte (home to just 1080

inhabitants) De Proef’s early brews

were simply for local festivals and

even the church hall. Dirk didn’t fancy

himself as a salesman, telling us, “I

didn’t like it – it took up too much time.

I prefer brewing the beer and letting

someone else take care of that.” Those

first were traditional Belgian beers and

the market was relatively small, but

they had a great reputation.

Since Mikkeller got in touch back in

2007, the brewery has never been the

same again, and is still going through

expansion, with a long waiting list of

clients. Contract brewing has become

much more accepted in the brewing

industry, both in the UK and abroad,

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DRINKING FROM THE SOURCE

‘Champion beer’ from

one year can be a flop

the next purely due to

a different hop harvest.

particularly as a way for new

brewers to get their beers to

market without the expense of

buying equipment and renting a

warehouse.

Peering into the labs, his team

are hard at work. The research

into hop quality and control is

unmatched, with one technician

working for nearly ten years on

hops alone. With hop qualities

varying from year to year, due to

many variables, Dirk tells us how a

‘Champion beer’ from one year can

be a flop the next purely due to a

different hop harvest. De Proef works

closely with its hop suppliers to give

them feedback on the quality, with

uncompromising values.

“Our hop suppliers didn’t like it at

first,” he says, shrugging his shoulders.

They were not used to the customers

testing their products and telling

them they weren’t good enough!

But we’ve worked closely with the

ones who’ve listened to make sure

that we get the best for both our

customers and suppliers.”

Leaving the labs, I’m allowed

back behind the camera as we

go back to the main brewery with

its rows of fermenters. Cameron

spots his Mosaic Wavelength in the

tanks – cue big smiles and a picture

moment for the scrapbook.

Moving through the brewery,

we enter what some would call the

grand hall. A dual canning-bottling

line is running at full speed, with

staff working at key points along the

way. A Hazy IPA is being canned right

now, and we’re allowed to pick one

off the line for a tasting on the spot.

Everything is running like clockwork,

right from labelling machines, down

to the packaging at the end as the

boxes are sealed and palletised in the

warehouse across the road.

Now we’re in to territory that gets

every brewer going, as we’re led

through a cold store and upstairs to the

barrel ageing room. Rows of barrels

holding a special fruited beer for a

certain Danish gypsy brewer. Cue lots

of posing for photos, but also a Q&A

session on what kind of barrels, how

long is the ageing, what’s in them and

any particular blends. It’s a brewing

geek’s dream come true.

We’re then shown outside to a

building site, which will eventually be

the next phase of De Proef’s seemingly

never-ending expansion. Among the

four brewers attending - Vault City and

Mothership are still currently contract

brewing. Turning Point is going through

an expansion to a new site in Yorkshire,

while Dig Brew Co has set up home in

Birmingham.

For the brewers, some would

describe the chance to work here as a

once in a lifetime opportunity. Others

would say it's only the beginning. We

hope you enjoy the beers we have

made in partnership with the De Proef

and the four hottest new breweries

from the UK.

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LONDON’S DOCKLANDS

CITY GUIDE

PUBS AND BARS

WHITE HART BREWPUB

1 Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, E1 4TP

Boasting an excellent range of their

own beer (brewed downstairs under

the pseudonym One Mile End) as well

as the standard draught beers you’d

see in most pubs, the White Hart is a

must-visit. The charming mis-matched

furniture and buzzy vibe, plus great

classic pub food, makes this spot a

favourite with locals and those from

further afield.

THE RAVEN

375 Goldhawk Rd, Hammersmith, W6 0SA

For great beers, decent pub grub and

a fun time, The Raven is where it’s at.

Occupying the former Bridge House

pub, this pub has a whopping 26 craft

beer and ale taps, a pool room, arcade

games, and a menu full of chicken. You

will ‘nevermore’ wonder what to do with

your evenings (#sorrynotsorry).

THE CRAFT BEER CO.

LIMEHOUSE

576 Commercial Rd, Limehouse, E14 7JD

Yes, it’s a chain, but they have such a

huge selection of craft beer, it had to

be included! Over 25 taps and a fridge

chock-full of craft beers, in smart and

modern surroundings - what more could

you want? They also have an enviable

collection of pub mirrors and signs, and

a wee roof terrace.

KILL THE CAT

43 Brick Ln, Spitalfields, E1 6PU

This fantastic bottle shop and tasting

room is packed full to bursting with

the finest selection of craft beers from

all over the world. We’re talking 150+

bottles and cans, plus three taps. Bring

your ‘Meowler’ (ha!) for a fill and stock

your beer fridge up, but don’t expect to

leave any time soon - the staff are super

friendly, and they have tables to sit in

and sink a few beers. Keep an eye out

for their meet-the-brewer, food pairing,

and tutored tasting evenings.

BREWERIES

BOXCAR

Unit 1 Birkbeck St, E2 6JY

About a half-hour walk from Tobacco

Dock towards Bethnal Green, it’s worth

the wander. Small-batch experimental

beers with gorgeous label designs, and

a taproom in the making!

THE MECHANIC

Railway Arches, 22A Cudworth St, E1 5QU

Tucked away under a railway arch, The

Mechanic is a welcome departure from

the usual craft beer pubs and bars.

It brews classic yummy real ales and

beers, with some available on tap in the

taproom which is open on weekends.

HUSK

Unit 58A N Woolwich Rd,

Royal Docks, E16 2AA

Blending traditional brewing techniques

with modern recipes and ingredients,

Husk is family brewery in the East of

London. It offers an ever-expanding

range of well-balanced beers, and has

a taproom, open on weekends, which

often has street food pop-ups.

FOOD

IL BACINO

21 Wapping Ln, St Katharine’s &

Wapping, E1W 2RN

Authentic Italian food on a sunny terrace

or in their glamorous dining room,

accompanied by the finest wines, with

the occasional glimpse of a celebrity - Il

Bacino is one of this side of London’s top

spots. But, don’t fear, a meal here won’t

break the bank - pasta dishes range from

£11-16, and most antipasti platters are

less than £13. Fancy AND affordable.

YUU KITCHEN

29 Commercial St, Spitalfields, E1 6NE

If you’re looking for fresh, high-quality

ingredients in fun and quirky

surroundings, look no further than

Yuu Kitchen - founded by ex Icebar

and Nobu foodie duo Stephen Lowe

and John de Villa, their newest

venture is one of the most popular

Asian eateries in town. South-east

Asian style fusion food (some

Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino

touches can be seen throughout the

menu) made to share with friends,

while you watch the chefs at work in

the open kitchen - perfect!

AMBER

21 Piazza Walk, E1 8QH

Serving up delicious Mediterranean

and Middle Eastern-inspired food,

Amber is a a shiny jewel amongst the

towering office blocks and apartment

buildings. It’s the kind of place where

you’d struggle to pick which mealtime

YUU KITCHEN

to go along for - they have breakfast,

bottomless brunch, lunch and dinner

menus, and the decor is chic and

minimalistic, which creates a lovely

relaxed atmosphere.

PIZZA PILGRIMS,

WEST INDIA QUAY

12 Hertsmere Rd, Canary Wharf, E14 4AE

If you ask me, no trip to London is

complete without a feast at Pizza

Pilgrims. Their Neopolitan pizza is

messy, covered in exquisite toppings

sitting atop the most perfectly pillowy

dough. Their menu is small but they

have all bases covered (pun absolutely

intended) - a fine selection of white

and tomato pizza sauce bases, a

vegan option, and a dessert option.

Their specials are always great, too.

They even have aioli, nduja and truffle

dipping sauces for your crusts!

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THE GEORGE TAVERN

CROSSRAIL PLACE GARDEN

MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS

WHAT TO DO IN THE

DOCKLANDS AREA

THE GEORGE TAVERN

This historic pub and music venue has

been around for over 700 years - it’s

famous for being name-dropped by

literary legends such as Charles Dickens

and Samuel Pepys, and for hosting

famous bands, providing a backdrop for

photo shoots, and being a well-loved

filming location. There’s something on

here pretty much every night of the

week, whether that’s live music, stand-up

comedy, cabaret, or anything else artistic.

MUSEUM OF LONDON

DOCKLANDS

In a cool 200+ year old warehouse

which stored all kinds of different fare

brought into the ports, this museum

tells you all about the history of the

Thames and the port, the people who

settled here over the centuries, and

what trade used to be like. There’s also

lots of old photos and artefacts, which

are pretty awesome to peruse if you like

social history!

CROSSRAIL PLACE GARDEN

This leafy oasis under a modern lattice

roof is great for escaping the buzz of

the city, and houses interesting plants

from all over the world. Sit in peace

or go along in time to catch a unique

performance in their mini-amphitheatre.

And afterwards…

GIANT ROBOT

This epic rooftop food and drink market

is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat

and something to drink after a wander

around the Crossrail Place gardens.

Operated by the guys behind Street

Feast, you can expect a huge beer

selection, some of the finest burgers

around, asian street food, and fried

chicken, in unique surroundings.

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WORDS:

Richard Croasdale

How to…

As well as giving us some awesome beers,

this year’s Raise The Bar winners provide

a great snapshot of what it means to

start and grow a new brewery at this point in

the UK craft scene’s development. As Turning

Point’s Cameron Brown points out, we watched

as the likes of Oakham and Thornbridge

broke the ground, so that enfants terrible like

Beavertown and BrewDog could stir things up,

before a new wave of even more US-influenced

superstars like Verdant and Deya followed in

their wake. But can any new brewery starting

today reasonably hope to follow in this lineage,

or will the coming wave of UK craft look quite

different?

These four genuinely fantastic young

breweries should at the very least reassure us

that the commercial success of some of the

big dogs (not least in the form of lucrative

buy-outs) hasn’t led to a homogenised, cookiecutter

approach to starting a new brewery. On

the contrary, our brewers seem to look at the

existing industry with a knowing shrug that

says “well, that’s done – we’ll just have to try

something different”.

START

A NEW

BREWERY

Jane LeBlond’s approach to her entire

brand for Mothership came from a place of

deliberate ignorance of current craft fads.

Rather, she used her new brewery as a way

to shake off a decade of creative frustration,

working for clients she didn’t believe in, on

briefs that left her unfulfilled. Her beer is more

a product of years of amateur winemaking than

it is of being a dyed-in-the-wool hophead, and

it shows in the subtle, balanced use of fresh

flavours

Vault City have committed to doing

something which, on the face of it, is almost

wilfully uncommercial – brewing tiny quantities

of labour-intensive, mixed-fermentation beer in

their kitchen. But, as Adele Wilkie points out,

it’s now arguably easier to make an impact if

you have something special, rather than just

being another brewery following a commercial

formula.

“I can imagine at the moment, if you started

and didn’t know exactly what direction you

were going in, it might be tough. We’ve been

lucky with our beers because they’re brightlycoloured,

they’re interesting and there

aren’t many other people doing these mixed

fermentation sours. That means drinkers talk

about us, brewers are keen to work with us and

the main problem we have is brewing enough.

And scarcity can have its own advantages with

these things!”

Turning Point definitely didn’t set out with

anything like this kind of strategic vision, but

seems to be doing just fine by taking their local

fans on a somewhat unpredictable adventure

though constantly changing beer styles.

“Are we successful? On our terms, yeah are!

I come to work to make the drink we want on

a Friday. As long as people keep buying beer

from us, and we can figure out a way of turning

that into money that we can use to buy more

tanks, then we’re really happy! The joy of it

comes through in the beer, and when people

come and talk to us, they’re generally very

enthusiastic and raring to go!”

Oliver Webb at Dig is keenly aware of the

shifting dynamics of the industry, and obviously

puts a lot of thought into how he fits in.

Discussing the recent sale of Magic Rock to

South African drinks giant Lion, he admires the

brewery’s success, but argues that shouldn’t be

the only measure of accomplishment.

“Whoever it is at Magic Rock who’s had a

massive payday, you could never begrudge

them that,” he says. “But when you’re just

starting off, what does that mean for what

you’re going to do? Because you can probably

set yourself up to be in that position in five

years. You can say to some investors, ‘put 100k

in now and then we sell in five years’ time and

the return will be X times more than that’. You

can get yourself a big canning line early on, on

the basis that it’ll allow you to grow faster and

pay off that capital.

“Or, you can go the other way and set

yourself up to be part of a larger community

Jane (Mothership), Johnny (Vault City) and Cameron (Turning Point)

The joy of it comes

through in the beer, and when

people come and talk to us.

like Digbeth is and just sort of be a

collaborator with a lot of things and then grow

that way. That probably puts us in a position

where nobody would ever bother buying,

because we’re reliant on the gallery putting

an exhibition on down the road, and whether

we’re going to be working with artists from

Grand Union. That’s not easy to scale.”

Of course, there is a boring business

element to running a brewery, which no

amount of passion and good intentions can

get around. It’s something each of our brewers

has had to face, either by roping in friends

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HOW TO… START A NEW BREWERY

The

Bottleshop

From left: Donncha & Oliver (Dig Brew Co), Jane (Mothership) and Johnny (Vault City)

THE SHOP

Search the shop by style,

region or brewery

THREE NEW WAYS TO DISCOVER GREAT BEER

THE EDIT

Our buyer’s favourites from his

recent travels. When they’re

gone, they’re gone!

www.beer52.com/shop

TOP RATED

Buy the Beer52 community’s

highest rated beers

and family, or learning new skills themselves.

For Vault City, Scotland’s Business Gateway

organisation was a good resource, offering

free training in areas like book-keeping and

pointing them in the right direction for getting

their unconventional operation licensed.

“Applying for a license to brew out of the

house was tricky, because wasn’t really a

brewery option,” says Adele. “Nobody’s really

tried to run a commercial brewery out of their

kitchen before. I can’t imagine why. If we’d

been on an industrial estate it would have been

different. In the process we were always unsure

we were doing the right things and ticking

the right boxes. We pulled in favours from

everyone we know - like Steve’s dad owns a car

garage so we stored some bottles there at one

point, because we had to order a thousand at

a time and we obviously couldn’t keep those in

the house.”

All this years winners have come to the

market from dramatically different directions.

But one thing they share in common is the

conviction that there’s room for them, and

gratitude at the way they’ve been embraced.

There may be competition for shelf space, but

there’s also a recognition that, whatever path

you take, we’re all ultimately pushing to get

better beers into people’s hands.

Oliver concludes: “If you want to be the next

Beavertown, you’re just going to be chasing

people who are five years ahead of you. And

they’re going to do it, wear it out and move

onto something else before you’ve even got

there. The reality is, those founders of the UK

beer scene have made this space available for

us to do something with it. Now, we could keep

brewing and marketing beers for the same

group of people. But if I had to make a war

speech to everyone, it would be that we need

to reach the other 90% of the market and drag

them across, because craft beer is really good.

Once you get people drinking it, they’ll keep

drinking it.”

SPEND £50 FOR FREE DELIVERY ORDER BY 4PM FOR NEXT DAY DELIVERY REINFORCED BOTTLE PACKAGING

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Cameron (Turning Point) & Johnny (Vault City)

Elfde Gebod

Out and about in Antwerp

WORDS & PHOTOS: Callum Stewart

Nello & Patrache

Cathedral of Our Lady

Often forgotten in favour of the

capital Brussels, Antwerp is an

ancient city with a long and varied

history. Situated less than an hour

from De Proef, where this month’s

beers were brewed, it is the ideal base

for us to rest, relax and test out some

of the great beers from the Flanders

region. Known as the City of Diamonds,

Antwerp also has a very young,

cultured crowd, thanks to its large

student population. It also has one of

the biggest ports in Europe, giving the

city an industrial feel akin to the likes of

Hamburg and Rotterdam.

After checking into our 19th century

townhouse in a suburb, we headed

straight to the city centre and the

magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady,

which towers above the city skyline. We

are told that construction began in 1352

and was never finished, which could

well be true as the spires are clad in

scaffolding.

Round the corner is one of Antwerp’s

many sculptures; the rather strange

Nello & Patrache is a throwback to an

old tale of an orphan and a dog, not

unlike our own Greyfriar's Bobby.

We then arrive at our destination for

the evening, Elfde Gebod. Sitting in the

shadows of the cathedral it’s the oldest

public house in Antwerp. A lively crowd

gathers at big tables, surrounded by

walls lined with statues of Holy Mary

and other biblical figures. The food is

traditional – moules frites are a popular

choice – but we’re really here for the

beer.

There’s a general consensus that we

will all choose something different,

and dishes are duly shared around

the group. Orval is a complex and dry

Trappist ale and Delirium Tremens

is a strong blonde with a large white

head and a fruity aftertaste. Some of

the more interesting choices included

the Rodenback Alexander which is a

Flanders Red blend aged on oak chips,

sour with cherries, and the Grimbergen

Optimo, a 10% Belgian quad.

After dinner, we head next door to

the well-known Paters Vateje which

has been described by locals and

tourists alike as ‘beer heaven on earth’.

We opt for a contrast of old and new

beers. Duchesse de Bourgogne is a

traditional Flemish red, sour but with

an almost balsamic and strawberry-like

taste before an acidic finish. The more

modern Brouwerij Alvinne provides

some more modern takes on Belgian

styles with Land van Mortagne, a 12.8%

dark amber Belgian Quad.

The food is traditional,

but we’re really here

for the beer.

Next day, the group descends on the

famous Antwerp brewery of De Konick,

best known for its APA. Aside from the

city zoo, it is the second oldest business

in the city, trading since 1833. The hand

logo is taken from the old city boundary

markers, where traders would have to

stop for inspections, and this signature

can now be found hanging outside

almost every bar in the city to signpost

that De Koninck is served.

After a couple of tastings, including

the Tripel d’Anvers, we pass through

an exhibition and museum just for

glassware, which shows just how

obsessive the Belgians really are about

this, as well as an impressive wall map

showing the location of every known

brewery currently in production. The

centrepiece is a walkway through the

current brewery, and they also have

traditional cheese and chocolate

making on-site.

We finish at a traditional bar Le

Pilgrim situated across the road

complete with beer garden, with

another long list of Belgian beers to

choose from, but unfortunately not

enough time. Antwerp should be high

on the list for any beer connoisseur's

next adventure.

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The men who

drink with goats

Each year, just around midsummer,

an odd cult descends on

Amsterdam for a long weekend of

drinking, and thinking about drinking.

If you know where to look, its followers

are easy to spot. They’re more likely to

be found not in the Rijksmuseum but

clustered around the scruffy brown

cafes in the centre of Amsterdam or

in the post-industrial warehouses that

house the city’s new wave breweries.

If their black t-shirt doesn’t have the

logo of an obscure brewery then it’s

probably emblazoned with the head of

a goat – the spirit animal of spontaneous

and wild ale brewers around the

world, and the mascot for Carnivale

Brettanomyces, the annual beer festival

celebrating wild yeast and wilder beers.

WORDS: Eoghan Walsh

The purity of homebrewing

On a baking hot Friday lunchtime,

there’s a steady trickle of these blackclad

festival attendees making their

way across the river Ij that separates

Amsterdam from its northern suburb.

They’re on their way to the first big

event of the Carnivale, and their

destination is Hotel Goudfazant, a

tumbledown former garage hidden

down a quiet street, past industrial

estates, fuel depots and car showrooms.

Now a restaurant with views across the

river, on this Friday the Goudfazant

plays host to the festival’s homebrewers

market. The market is a now-annual

gathering of amateur, semi-professional

and commercial brewers and, says

festival founder Jan Lemmens, “the

most pure part of the festival”.

In 2011 Lemmens, who brews at

Brewpub De Kromme Haring brewpub

in Utrecht, was getting interested in

beers brewed with brettanomyces

yeast – the wild yeast strain traditionally

associated with spontaneous

fermentation, the English Old Ale

tradition and beers like Orval but which

is increasingly being used to brew more

orthodox beer styles. “There was a

whole new thing [with brettanomyces]

going on,” he says. “So we challenged

10 or 12 Dutch brewers to make an

experiment with brettanomyces as

well.” The beers that resulted from

this little competition were, Lemmens

recalls, a mixed bag. But the following

year he took a different approach, as the

programme shifted to reflect Lemmens’

dissatisfaction with the lack of curiosity

he saw among his fellow drinkers about

the history and philosophy of the beers

they were drinking. “So, as a reaction

to that, we thought, let’s do a proper

lecture series, under the theme of

brett,” he says.

“A celebration of funk”

The festival has since become,

according to its organisers, “a

celebration of funk…for the uncommon

beers, brewers and beer lovers who

sometimes take a few steps back,

reconsider outdated techniques and

methods and possibly combine them

with 21st century knowledge.” The

Carnivale takes place over a long

weekend every June, decentralised

across Amsterdam’s bars, breweries,

meeting halls, and taprooms. In 2019

the festival programme features a

bewildering 80 talks, tastings, dinners,

film screenings and ‘happenings’

dedicated to brettanomyces,

spontaneous and wild fermentation,

farmhouse brewing and every wild

microbe in between.

Lemmens continues to try to mine the

outer reaches of the beer world to find

out what’s interesting, new and exciting,

and for him the Carnivale stands as

“a reaction to the beer market being

heavily commercialised. We really try to

be a bit punk, basically,” he says. That

outsider, punk attitude is on full display

at the homebrewers market, as drinkers,

brewers, and homebrewers mingle

with an easy familiarity – most of who

probably share in Lemmens’ anarchic

disposition. “The market has the most

passionate people, but…passion without

the pressure of money,” he says. Even

so, the market has been a springboard

for homebrewers to launch commercial

breweries, including several breweries

attending this year’s market. Lemmens’

own employer, de Kromme Haring,

started here, as did several of the new

wave European mixed and spontaneous

fermentation breweries represented in

Amsterdam, including Belgian brewery

Antidoot, the lambic blendery formerly

known as Bokkereyder, and Dutch

blender Tommie Sjef.

“Dare I pour some of my beer?”

Sean Coholan, brewer and owner of

Wide Street Brewing in Sligo, Ireland,

has trod this path. Having first visited

Carnival Brettanomyces as a drinker, he

returned a year later as a homebrewer,

and is back in 2019 with his first batch

of professionally brewed beers – a 100%

brett-fermented saison. Each trip to the

festival increased his knowledge and

confidence, ultimately allowing him to

apply the information and feedback

he’d received to his brewing. “I wanted

to see what I was up against, what I can

aspire to, what other people were doing,

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THE MEN WHO DRINK WITH GOATS

and what we need to be doing,” says

Coholan. “I needed to understand as

much as I could about the yeast, and a

festival called Carnivale Brettanomyces

is surely the best place to go!”

Showcasing your homebrewed

beers at the market, as Coholan

and his predecessors have done, is

a great way for aspiring professional

brewers to get honest feedback from

attendees, who happen to be some of

world’s most well respected brewers

of spontaneous, wild, and farmhouse

beers. “Brewers send other brewers

over to try my beer because they think

that beer is really good,” says Matt

Kent, a homebrewer of four years from

Maltby in West Yorkshire who is here to

pour, among others, a beer of his called

“is it infected?”, described by Kent

on the label as an accidental mixed

fermentation. “It’s flattering, but you do

get hot under the collar when somebody

comes over and you think, ‘Dare I pour

some of my beer, dare I let them try!’”

The critique is generally positive,

or at least constructive, a mark of the

festival’s relaxed attitude, an openness

that allows some of the brewers in

attendance who might have a reputation

for being taciturn or ruggedly individual

in their approach to brewing to share

their experience and knowledge with

those coming up behind them.

The brewers are not

just here to party,

they’re here to learn.

Soon, the homebrewers clear out of

the Goudfazant – off to hunt for wild

yeast strains along the riverbank, or

back across the river for one of the

many “Meet & Bleat” tap takeovers

taking place on central Amsterdam.

They are replaced with an older, less

punkish crowd, here for an exclusive

beer and food dinner with Jean Van

Roy of Brasserie Cantillon in Brussels.

A five-course tasting menu features

carrageen sorbet, hay-smoked quail

eggs, and an absurdly good purple

risotto, with smoked apples resembling

rich scamorza cheese. Each dish is

paired with a succession of rare lambics

decanted and presented by Van Roy

– among them a 15-year-old gueuze, a

cellared vintage of the brewery’s Lou

Pepe Kriek, and a stunning grape lambic

collaboration with organic Italian winery

Cantina Giordana.

The knowledge here is immense”

If this dinner is the festival’s extravagant

plumage and the homebrewers market

its punkish soul, then Carnivale

Brettanomyces’ lecture series is the

festival’s beating heart. It’s the rare

beer festival that can pack out a 16th

century Protestant church for Saturday

morning lectures on the impact of

climate change on traditional lambic

brewing, or a guided tasting through

historical Berliner Weisse recipes. But

Carnivale Brettanomyces does, and it’s

the depth and breadth of these talks

that makes the festival an annual fixture

for brewers. “Some of the best mixed

fermentation and sour brewers are here

at the weekend,” says Jim Rangeley,

lead brewer for Abbeydale Brewing’s

Funk Dungeon project. “The passage

of knowledge here is immense…[and]

that gets transferred back to the way we

make beer.”

It’s not just brewers who are at the

beginning of their brett adventure who

come to Amsterdam to learn about

new yeast strains, blending techniques,

or quality control. You could, as Art

Whitaker of Tennessee brewery

VonSeitz Theoreticales did, find yourself

in a talk on wild cider fermentation

sitting next to a note-taking Pierre

Tilquin of lambic blendery Gueuzerie

Tilquin fame. “The brewers are not just

here to party, they’re here to learn,”

says Whitaker. Whitaker is also an

administrator of the Milk The Funk

(MTF) Facebook group, a 24,000-strong

online community that also includes

a comprehensive brewing wiki that

the group describes as a “a communal

authority on alternative yeast and

bacteria fermentation with an emphasis

in alternative brewing techniques”,

as well as a podcast (which Whitaker

hosts).

A Milk The Funk convention

Carnivale Brettanomyces is where this

global community comes together,

bringing their online relationships into

the real world. “It’s almost like a Milk

The Funk convention,” says Whitaker.

The relationship between the festival

and Milk The Funk is symbiotic. The

brewers who are an integral part

of these online communities take

advantage of the festival to meet,

share knowledge, and hatch plans

for collaborations. In turn, Lemmens

uses the forum to find interesting and

interested speakers for Carnivale’s

lecture series. “I can’t imagine doing it

without the Internet,” Lemmens says.

“Without Milk The Funk we wouldn’t

be where we are now.” What’s more,

many Milk The Funkers are happy to

come to Amsterdam, drink great beer,

and tack on a trip south to Belgium. “It’s

the cradle of brett and funky beers,”

Whitaker says. “But also just walking

around the city, it’s a crazy rat race to

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get to all of the events, because you’re

running all over Amsterdam. But

then, of course, you get to see all of

Amsterdam.”

Because the festival is so dense with

brewers and serious hobbyists, brewing

pioneers who are working away on the

more esoteric margins of the beer world,

Carnivale Brettanomyces is a great

place to get a sense of trends making

their way from the edge to the centre

of craft beer. “Last year, the Nordic

fermentation yeast strains probably

were only kind of gathering traction,”

says Sean Coholan, “and this year nearly

the whole world is making IPAs with

Nordic yeast strains!”

Oslo is so hot right now

2019 is no different. The yeast strain

every brewer in Amsterdam is trying

to get a hold of from visiting yeast

wranglers is called Oslo. Taking its

lead from Nordic Kveik yeast, it was

isolated by the yeast bank Bootleg

Biology, which describes it as a

“modern take on traditional Norwegian

farmhouse brewing cultures”. Oslo

ferments hot – 37°c where normal ale

yeast fermentation happens in and

around 20°c, and lager fermentation

much lower again – and fast (five day

turnaround). So far, so typical for the

festival’s demographic. But what makes

Oslo different is that, instead of using

it to brew new iterations of farmhouse

beers, most brewers at the festival are

excited about using Oslo to make the

least punk, most mainstream of beers

out there: lager.

It might seem strange that a collection

of the world’s best brewers dedicated to

making beer on the outer limits of post-

Pasteur brewing would be interested

in making something as everyday as a

pils. But in truth it marries two disparate

experiences in the beer world that

arouses passion in these brewers –

experimenting with yeast in the service

of ever more interesting, complex and

iconoclastic results; and the simple

pleasure of enjoying a well-brewed pint

of uncomplicated pils.

Stumbling into the In de Wildeman

brown café late on Saturday, stomachs

gurgling with three days of sour beer

intake, this unlikely impulse behind

this unlikely coupling of beer traditions

reveals itself. There, propped up at the

well-worn wooden bar or leaning against

green-papered walls, is a knot of ten or

so of the world’s pre-eminent brewers

of wild, spontaneous, farmhouse and

brett beers. Each one of them supping

on bitter, German, Jever Pils. After

three days, even Art Whitaker and his

brotherhood of brett need a break. “I’m

tired of sour beer at this point. You want

something clean and easy to drink.”

Kveik Pils is coming to a bottleshop near

you soon. You have it on good authority

from a goat.

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Carnivale

Brettanomyces

Heading to Amsterdam for

Carnivale Brettanomyces is a

wonderful thing. I started off

wholesomely happy to be back in a

city I love after being absent from it

for almost four years. I’m usually a

pre-planner, my folders and Google

calendar and starred maps are

legendary, but I’d had no time. This

trip, despite being booked months in

advance, had crept up on me like a

slow-growing mould and before I knew

it, we’d caught a train in Schipol and

were heading to Centraal Station.

Minutes after checking into the

unfortunately named Hotel Isis in

Noordam, our worn little Vans hit

the floor to head to the Carnivale

Brettanomyces opening party at

Oedipus. Some buyout controversy

was already floating our way when we

WORDS: Katie Mather

arrived and I wanted to check it out,

but things were wrapping up so we

met friends, and walked 200 meters

or so to Walhalla, the cool, industrial,

would-be-full-of-hipsters-if-it-wasanywhere-else-in-the-world

bar and

microbrewery that would become our

base for the rest of the weekend. Then

the planning began.

“Are you going to the Tilquin

tasting?”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to the Cantillion

dinner?”

“Didn’t get a ticket.”

“Are you going to the homebrewers’

market?”

“Definitely, but where is it?”

The conversation continued like

this for some time, and as my schedule

filled up for the days ahead, the

sensation of bobbing powerlessly in a

fast-moving river took hold. This wasn’t

going to be a holiday where I sweetly

drifted from canalside to bar to café. I

should have made a binder.

The one thing I knew for sure as we

walked to the hotel through a Brutalist

shopping centre, was that we had to

get up the next day and hit up that

homebrewers’ market. I came here for

oddities. I wanted to see some weird

shit.

The Hombrewer's Market is

an opportunity for the types of

homebrewers who live for the funkier

side of life to share their projects with

likeminded beerfolk. Every year, or so

I’m told, some of the best beers found

anywhere in the festival will be poured

and chatted about, and some of the

best homebrewers will be spurred on

by the glowing feedback they recieve

that they might even start to think

bigger.

The sun had really gotten going

by the time I arrived at Hotel de

Goudfazant, and the IJ was looking

as beautiful as any body of water is to

me – endlessly alluring, captivating,

even with the giant rubbish barges

floating past. What I love most

about Amsterdam is the proximity

to water. Amsterdam-Noord’s best

bars emphasise this by converting

waterside industrial units into ideal

drinking situations. One even had a

climbing wall, should you be that way

inclined.

Inside the sparse industrial space

of Hotel de Goudfazant, tables of

wild fermented, bretted, inventivelyinnoculated

beers were laid out like

a craft sale. But unlike a craft sale,

most of the stuff on display was paywhat-you-like.

Here was a chance

for homebrewers who spend every

spare hour they can sweep together

researching and blending, pipetting

and sterilising, creating beers that

many actual real-life brewers would be

envious of. Everyone here was smiling

and ready to share the weird beers

they love; everyone was ready to be

delighted. What I wasn’t ready for was

the quality. I was amazed.

Unlike a craft sale,

most of the stuff on display

was pay-what-you-like

The dusty skylit events space quietly

hummed and popped with questions

and opening bottles. Each table

was heavy with glass bottles, some

with labels, some with handwritten

explanations beside them. Some

brewers were here to chat and ready

for questions, others were taken

aback by the day, unable to believe

they’d been accepted to appear in a

marketplace alongside some of their

heroes. Oh, that’s another thing. I was

starting to realise that some honest-togod

lambic and funky-yeast-specific

brewers still homebrew in their spare

time, and their creations end up here.

I walked up to a table at the back to

try an unlabelled Bretted buckwheat

NEIPA with its DNA typed up in arial

on A4 beside it – juicy from Huell

melon, thick from the buckwheat and

golden naked oats, funky from the

many yeasts at work inside it – and

asked the brewer how much he was

charging.

“Oh! I don’t take money,” he said,

completely shocked. “I’m not a big guy.

I do this for fun. I feel like I shouldn’t

be here!”

I shook his hand, mainly because I

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CARNIVALE BRETTANOMYCES

couldn’t reach over the table to hug

him. He absolutely did deserve to be

there.

Across on the other side of the room,

Fox Tale brewery had brought their

beers all the way from California for

us to taste. This was where everyone

I knew had congregated, drawn in

by their unique takes on sour beers.

Particularly amazing – because both

of their beers I tried were genuinely

amazing – was King Dragon, a sour

saison made with umeboshi plums.

Tart, rounded, sweet but bitter –

from some additional red shiso – and

playfully balanced by a rich sourness

that really punched through at the end

of each sip. What I liked about this

beer was that it wasn’t one-note like

so many modern sours I’ve tried. This

was about more than sourness. It had

Everyone here was smiling

and ready to share the weird

beers they love; everyone

was ready to be delighted.

life in it. I then fell in love harder when

I found out that the ume plums had

been picked from a tree that had been

grown from a plum pit brought over

from Japan more than 30 years ago, by

a Japanese Californian who wanted to

share a part of their heritage with their

local community. The plums for King

Dragon were harvested by Fox Tale

and the youngest generation of the

plum tree-planter’s family, and were

also made into salty umeboshi to eat

alongside the beer. Sharing heritage,

sharing passion, sharing the wealth.

Has your heart ever felt so full?

I nipped outside for a quick

sunshine break after the intensity

of the umeboshi feels and watched

leisure boats cruise past towards whoknows-where.

Tables inside the Hotel

de Goudfazant were being set up for

a ticket-only beer and food dining

experience and in corners, hidden

away, were small groups of drinkers

and brewers talking profoundly about

the beers in their hands. A white

table cloth was stained dark with

someone’s recent discovery. Cups were

being passed around – “try this” – and

drunkeness was setting in. The paved

waterfront was white with sunglare.

The financial buildings and flats of

Amsterdam-Est across the IJ shone

like a glamourous city skyline. Leaning

against the open shutters of the Hotel

I spied on excited people opening

more of their beers, and tried to tune

into the conversations around me.

Happiness is water, beer, sunshine,

people.

Queues gave away the most-hyped

beers, and waiting in line at one of

the busiest stands rewarded me with

a taste of Barrique, one of the most

highly regarded new lambic producers

in Belgium. If you don’t recognise

the name, that’s because owner and

brewer Raf Souveryns can’t sell beer

under the name Bokkeryder anymore.

He now brews under Barrique (or,

frequently as “Methode Goat”) and if

you’ve ever had a Bokkeryder lambic,

you’ll understand what the fuss was

all about. God knows why he was at a

homebrewing convention, but I’m not

complaining.

The beautiful thing we tried at Raf’s

stall was Oloroso, a beer Yuri Hegge,

owner of Foudres bar in Amsterdam,

later told us was his current favourite.

A blend of one, two and three year

old lambics aged in a single Oloroso

sherry cask and bottled in 2017, this

beer was stunning. As you’d expect.

Obviously.

Cups were being passed

around – “try this” – and

drunkeness was setting in.

I became attached to a stand at

the far end of the homebrewers’

market because of their energy and

totally mad business strategy. Sean

and Carla from Wide Street Brewing

in Ballymahon, Ireland focus on

brettanomyces-fermented beers. That’s

it. Apparently the locals love it.

They don’t really know what’s

different a lot of the time,” Sean

admits. “They just know they like the

beers. And that’s really all we care

about to be honest with you.”

Their brett saison made with EKG

and canned (can you believe it?) was

a dry, lightly spiced beaut, and I had

seconds. And thirds. Whatever you

feel about a canned saison, put it to

one side. This was exceptional.

The Homebrewers’ Market pulls

together everything that makes

Carnivale Brettanomyces a wonderful

thing into one airy event space. This

festival isn’t just about big names, and

bottle hunting. It can be if you like,

but what’s the fun in that? Here, the

people pushing the boundaries aren’t

even charging for their beers. Not

bound by the legal definitions of geuze

or lambic, these brewers are bending

and reshaping what sour, funky, truly

odd beers can be. And we’re all having

fun while they do it.

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praying at the altar of funk

It is shortly before 10pm on a warm

September evening at the Beer

Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick,

East London. It's a special night and the

venue is crowded. As if by unspoken

agreement, the anointed among us,

clutching tickets to the back room,

have sacrificed our hard-won places at

the tables outside. We have left behind

the less fortunate souls passed over for

this self-selecting rapture and pushed

through the crowds, heading for the

beery sanctum and the communion

about to take place within. Now we

congregate and wait our turn to taste

the holiest of holies: Lambic from the

fount of funk. Zwanze.

If beer is your religion then

Zwanze Day is one of its many annual

observances, albeit one reserved for

particularly fervent churchgoers. This

ritual pertains to the Apostolic Church

of Cantillon, and celebrates a style of

brewing that was almost lost to the

world. Every year Jean Van Roy, its

high priest, releases a specially brewed

limited-edition Lambic, and every

year fans gather at carefully selected

locations across the globe to tap the

WORDS: Anthony Gladman

beer together at 9pm Belgian time.

Each year's beer is different. Apart

from the Zwanze name, the only thing

that links them is their departure from

orthodox Lambic flavours.

In 2017, it was an unblended two-

year-old Lambic made with oolong

tea, brewed to mark the 18th birthday

of Van Roy's youngest son Sylvain.

In 2018, it was a blend of Lambics

that had been aged for two years in

Amarone, Chianti and Sangiovese

barrels. In 2019, celebrants will receive

a smoked Lambic made with a blend of

classic pilsner malts and smoked malts.

"Rather than taking the beer to an

extreme, we looked instead to find a

balance between the acidic character

of Lambic and the woodiness of the

smoked malt," Van Roy wrote in an

encyclical on Cantillon's Facebook

page. "The result is a fine gueuze

with the classic notes of a Cantillon,

complemented by an elegant

smokiness in the nose and on the

palate."

If you're an unbeliever, this might

sound pretty grim. As if Lambic wasn't

weird enough already, with its sour

snap and goaty phenolic tang, Van Roy

has gone and made it even stranger.

But for adherents to the cult of funk

this is manna. It's highly sought after

and hard to get hold of. If you found

the Holy Grail, this would be the stuff

to drink from it.

That's the hope each year, anyway.

There's always an element of faith

involved when embarking on the

pilgrimage to the nearest Zwanze Day

event. But there's no shortage of people

willing to take the plunge, such is

Cantillon's reputation.

Go forth and prosper

Like the beers, the events are all

different but share a few common

themes: the crowds, the carnival

atmosphere, and most importantly the

sense of occasion.

The genesis of these events goes

back almost ten years (the beers go

back a little further; the first was

brewed back in 2008.) In 2010,

Cantillon sent its Zwanze beer to

the USA for the first time. Cantillon's

beers are not readily available in the

USA at the best of times, and this one

was bottled with numbered stickers,

making a hot commodity even hotter.

You didn't need to be a prophet to see

what was coming: within a week the

bottles, sold for €6 at the Cantillon

brewery, turned up on eBay for the

equivalent of €80.

"We don't want these vintages to

become marketing tools designed

exclusively to make a few bucks," Van

Roy wrote in response. "Because of my

dedication to my work as a brewer and

out of respect for the product itself, it

is very important to me for prices to

stay reasonable."

And so the first official Zwanze Day

events were born to crusade against

black market profiteering. In 2011

Cantillon supplied beers only to bars

that would agree to sell them at a

reasonable price, and exclusively to be

drunk on site.

The good word spread quickly. In

2011 there were Zwanze days in 22

locations: 11 in the USA and Canada,

10 across Europe and one in Japan.

Two years later that total had more

than doubled to 46 locations. 25 were

in the USA and Canada, 20 in Europe

and again one in Japan. Growth

slowed after that until 2016, when

an expansion in Cantillon's brewing

capacity began to take effect. Last

year, Zwanze Day was celebrated in 68

locations: 31 in the USA and Canada,

34 in Europe and the rest in Japan,

Australia, New Zealand, China and

Brazil.

Each year's beer is

different, apart from

the Zwanze name.

Despite this expansion, Zwanze

remains extremely limited.

Participating locations receive just one

30-litre keg of the beer each year. That

means last year Cantillon released just

over 2,000 litres across the world. To

put that into some context, a fledgling

microbrewery working on a 5BBL kit

can produce a little over 800 litres in a

single brew. As such the Zwanze beers

and the events that surround them will

always be defined by their limitations.

Rarity is the watchword.

Criticism or blasphemy

With growth comes change. Part of this

for Zwanze has been greater public

awareness and scrutiny. Perhaps it

was inevitable then that controversy

would eventually attach itself to the

ceremonies. In 2018 this arrived in

the form of a near-naked woman

dousing herself in beer on the streets

of Brussels.

The performance by burlesque

dancer Colette Collerette was part

of the Zwanze Day celebrations at

Brussels beer bar Moeder Lambic.

Other acts that night included a drag

artist, a contortionist and cabaret

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ZWANZE DAY: PRAYING AT THE ALTAR OF FUNK

dancers — all from the Cabaret

Mademoiselle troupe of which

Collerette is a member. Her

performance was however

the only one to be filmed

and posted to Cantillon's

Facebook page. Taken

in isolation it attracted

criticism that Cantillon

was using women's

bodies and sexuality

to sell beer. It has

faced similar charges

in the past for some

of its beer names

and label art.

The church of

Cantillon lost a

few members as a

result but overall

its congregation

remains numerous.

Another complaint about

Zwanze Day is that it has become

too commercialised and driven by

hype. We can judge the truth of this

by examining similar events, for

example Beaujolais Nouveaux Day.

This is the annual rush on the third

Thursday in November to taste the

first Beaujolais wines made from that

year's harvest. Beaujolais Nouveaux

Day was a marketing wheeze right

from the outset, with races to deliver

the first bottles to Paris concocted to

capture media attention. It is all about

selling bucketloads of vin ordinaire in

a hurry to boost winemakers' cashflow.

Criticising Zwanze Day for

selling out rings hollow in

comparison.

Another parallel might be

drawn with Guinness's Arthur's

Day celebrations. These

were devised by Diageo in

2009 to promote the 250th

anniversary of the brewery,

and named after its founder

Arthur Guinness. Again,

this was pure marketing

from start to finish (The Irish

Times called it "a masterclass

in how to fabricate a national

holiday"). It was eventually

mothballed in 2013 but not

before the Royal College of

Physicians Ireland noted a 30%

increase in ambulance call-outs on

each successive Arthur's Day and a

troubling rise in alcohol-related liver

disease. The "hagiographic treatment"

of Arthur Guinness in order to sell

lakes of stout makes Zwanze Day seem

positively saintly.

Funky mystery

So how can we make sense of all of

this without bearing false witness

or preaching to the choir? Hype has

always been a part of the Zwanze

celebrations, and yet the days only

exist as a way to fight back against

its more extreme consequences. The

events are inherently limited and

exclusive but access to the beers

remains at the core of the idea. And

The event felt profane

rather than sacred,

transactional rather

than sublime.

they celebrate the miraculous survival

of a beer style that, ironically, very

few drinkers find approachable.

Zwanze then, like any religion, is full of

contradictions and relies on a certain

amount of faith to operate. Gueuze

moves in mysterious ways.

Beer Merchant's Tap, with its high

ceilings and sunlight slanting through

high windows, makes a good cathedral

for the cult of funk; its Lambic cage

a fine reliquary. And yet last year,

when I finally accessed the sanctum

and took my communion cup of 2018

Zwanze, the event felt profane rather

than sacred, transactional rather

than sublime. I missed the sense of

connection to my fellow parishioners in

the room and around the world.

But as each year the beer and the

events all change, perhaps it's worth

keeping the faith that next time will

be better, all without ever taking it too

seriously. The word 'zwanze' refers to

the semi-sarcastic sense of humour

associated with Brussels and its

citizens. Perhaps that's the best way in

which to appreciate these beers, these

events, this phenomenon.

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Floridian

Jonny Garrett pops the cap on a sun-drenched

interpretation of a German classic

Ich bin ein

W

e were warned before we

arrived, but it still hits you

like a wall when you step off

the plane. The heat and suffocating

humidity of Florida in summer drives

tourists and locals alike to drink, but it

only partly explains the state’s native

beer style.

While most hot parts of the world

adopted variations of pale lager,

Florida has inexplicably taken a niche

sour beer from Northern Germany.

They call it the Florida Weisse and it’s

based on the historic North German

wheat style with a tart, lemony edge

from lactobacillus bacteria. Traditional

Berliner Weisse, long out of favour in its

home country, has come to dominate

the Sunshine State.

True to American brewing form

though, they couldn’t leave it alone.

Florida Weisse departs from Germanic

tradition through the heavy use of

fruits, spices and other adjuncts. The

result is a fragrant, juicy and refreshing

beer that’s perfect for the climate,

even if some mental acrobatics were

required to get there. Who first made

those beer style backflips is up for

debate – even most brewers aren’t quite

sure – but Wayne Wambles, brewmaster

at Tampa’s Cigar City points to a beer

he made with a homebrewer called

Jonathan Wakefield.

“We brewed a couple of small

batches with him on our pilot system,”

he remembers. “The two beers were

Pineapple Kolsch and Passionfruit-

Dragonfruit Berliner. Both of these

beers were served draft at 2011

Hunahpu's Day and were very well

received by attendees, but the Berliner

especially stood out and poured a

bright fuschia color. It was unique

from other Berliners because the fruit

presence was more forward, helping

to balance the lactic acidity. I would

say that this is exactly the moment that

Florida Weisse began.”

Wakefield went on to found J.

Wakefield Brewing in Miami, and has

become famous for his various fruited

sours. But Cigar City also inspired lots

of breweries in Tampa Bay, specifically

Clearwater and St Petersburg. On the

spit of land that juts out of Tampa and

into the Gulf of Mexico there are tens

of breweries making the style, some

responding to demand and others

feeding their own appetite. Most of

those brewing it at the start were

former employees of Cigar City.

Learning the ropes of the style there,

they kept experimenting when they

moved on to set up their own breweries

such as Cycle and Angry Chair, creating

a whole scene of talented, technical

breweries with a taste for quick – or

“kettle” – sours that have had their

lemon-yoghurt acidity rounded out by

the heavy use of fruit.

Although not from the school of

Cigar City, 7venth Sun founder Devon

Kreps is one of the scene’s most

influential figures, and her brewery

recently opened an ambitious 15-barrel

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ICH BIN EIN FLORIDIAN

site in central Tampa, partly off its

success in brewing Florida Weisse. She

remembers the collaborative nature of

the style’s development.

“We were all playing around with

kettle sours and trying to work out

how to do it,” says Kreps. There wasn’t

much data or information out there,

so we compared notes on what was

working. It was fun, throwing all sorts

of fruit in and playing around with it.

It just seemed like such a natural fit in

Florida.”

If it sounds like too much fun, it’s

important to remember that even

the Germans were known for using

syrups to sweeten and jazz up their

Berliners, usually a vivid bright green

syrup made from woodruff. If anything,

these Floridian brewers were taking a

more artisan route, inspired by Belgian

Lambic and fruit beer production, but

using modern techniques. Zest is often

used in the boil, but otherwise most

fruit additions kick off a secondary

phase of fermentation, where the

yeast eats the sugars in the fruit.

Some are even fruited in the kegs at

the last minute, so no fermentation

takes place and the drinker gets the

freshest possible aroma and a dose of

sweetness.

“We’re looking to get the full flavours

of the fruit, unlike lambic where

everything is fermented out,” says

Kreps. “It’s a whole different animal

and the challenge is how much you use

of what. Because say, passion fruit, is

Wayne Wambles

Jonathan Wakefield

a really strong flavour so if you use it

with cherry, you’re going to kill all the

cherry.”

With the amount of fruit being used

in these beers, sourcing enough can be

a nightmare and many breweries rely

on purees from national fruit suppliers

like Oregon Fruit. While this guarantees

consistent flavour, it doesn’t take

advantage of one of the main reasons

this style became popular in Florida: its

local produce. While the climate isn’t

always brilliant for people, Florida is

one of the most verdant places on earth

for tropical flavours. As well as being

famous for its oranges, it has a baffling

array of different fruits from well-known

ones like blackberry and strawberry, to

dragonfruit and guava.

There are challenges to using local

fruits rather than purees, however.

Buying direct or from markets means

breweries must process and pasteurise

the fruits themselves to ensure no wild

yeast or bacteria get into the beer. Pair

o’ Dice in Clearwater insists on using

local fruits, herbs and spices throughout

its range and even has the “Fresh

from Florida” accreditation on many

of its beers, which guarantees its local

credentials.

“Finding someone who can source

enough fruit for us can be challenging

and so is dealing with the fruits, but it’s

all about supporting local business,”

says cofounder Julia Rosenthal. “It’s

something we built our business model

on and, while we might not be able to

get locally grown malt or mountain fed

water here, we do have some really

cool local fruits that add a little hint of

Florida.”

Rosenthal takes that a step further

with her Apple ‘n’ Spice Donut Florida

Weisse, which uses local blueberries,

but adds cinnamon and a touch

of lactose to recreate her mother’s

blueberry cobbler. The beer is

magnificent; rich jamminess and lots

of festive spice cut through the sweet

pastry notes from the lactose.

With such amazing flavours in the

brewer’s repertoire, it’s no surprise that

Florida Weisse has become so popular.

In the unlikely setting of a shopping

mall, Arkane Aleworks has found its

brewpub customers have an insatiable

appetite for its kettle sours.

“It became apparent real quick that

this was what people wanted,” says

cofounder Dan Graston. “There weren’t

many at the start because the multiple

fermentations means they take longer.

Now we’ve got ten to twelve sours, and

every other category has maybe four.”

It became apparent

real quick that this was

what people wanted

Their unusual and delicious

combinations – which included a

stunning coffee and cherry Weisse

when I visited – have won them

multiple awards throughout the state,

including Best Small Brewery in 2018

and 2019 at the Best Florida Beer

Championship.

Of course, in today’s interconnected

world, no local style remains local for

long. Skimming Arkane’s social media

makes your mouth water and, buoyed

by its vivid, instagrammable nature, the

Florida Weisse has started to attract

interest from around the world.

Sharing a similar climate, Barcelona’s

Garage Beer Co has started brewing

its own version in Silver Peel. Cheekily

called a Barcelona Weisse, this red

berry kettle sour is as good as any from

Florida. Even Leeds is in on the game,

with North Brew Co making seasonal

goses – the same as a Berliner Weisse

but with salt and coriander seed – that

are loaded with tropical fruit.

So, the philosophy and techniques

are spreading to other climates, but

we’ll only know that Florida Weisse has

hit the mainstream when a brewery

from Northern Germany has a go at

one. Until then, you’re best off heading

to one of the tens of breweries lining

the white sandy beaches of Tampa Bay.

Just don’t go in summer.

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this land

is our land

Matthew Curtis asks how our changing climate

might affect the beer we drink

The mercury tips close to 30 degrees

celsius as I write this. While a desk

fan feebly blows hot air around my

office, I’m reminded of 2018’s equally

relentless summer. For almost 12

weeks the sun’s rays bombarded the

UK and Europe ceaselessly. As well as

baking us in our cars and offices, it also

beamed down on our crops, including

those of barley and hops destined to

make it into our beer.

Later this week, the forecast is

predicting temperatures of 37°C in the

south east of England. As something of

a sun chaser, I always welcome warmer

temperatures, but as the heat rises

year-on-year, I do so with increasing

concern.

As the Earth’s weather continues

to evolve around us – sometimes

dramatically in the case of flash storms

or fires—so too does the debate about

climate change intensify. It’s important

to recognise that weather and climate

change are not the same thing.

Weather is what we are experiencing

right now, but it is getting more difficult

to deny that our changing weather

is forming a pattern as our planet

continues to gradually heat up. The

result of that temperature rise could

have catastrophic consequences for life

on Earth if we are not prepared to try

and mitigate it.

You might be asking what this has

to do with brewing? And the answer

is simply: everything. Beer is 100%

dependent on agriculture, it is the

first and most important step in a long

chain that eventually leads to a cold

glass of tasty beer in your hand. As the

climate changes, so do the conditions

that our crops need to thrive shift,

making it more difficult for us to grow

them.

However, before we look at brewing

it’s worth looking at another industry,

coffee. Up until now there has not

been a great deal of analysis directed

towards consumers on the effect

of climate change on the brewing

industry. In the coffee industry

however, that analysis has been more

forthcoming.

It’s important to

recognise that weather

and climate change are

not the same thing.

Coffee is a difficult crop to grow. It

thrives in very specific conditions, only

typically found in equatorial regions

of sufficient altitude; mountainous

countries such as Ethiopia, Columbia

and Vietnam. The gradual warming

of global temperatures is especially

concerning to coffee producers

because of this. As temperatures

increase these limited growing regions

are further reduced. It has been said

that unless climate change is somehow

slowed or prevented, coffee could quite

literally be wiped off the face of the

planet within 100 years.

Having no coffee would be the first

threat to the brewing industry (I jest,

kind of, but have you ever spoken

to a brewer at 8am before their first

coffee? I have, and it ain’t pretty).

In seriousness, hops, wheat, barley

and more crops vital to the brewing

industry could come under threat

should global temperatures continue to

rise. And we might start seeing adverse

effects because of this sooner than we

think.

A storm brewing

While British hops thrived in last year’s

higher than normal temperatures

(although the same can’t be said for

those grown in mainland Europe—more

on which later) our barley baked. And

not in a good way. This wasn’t the same

process as kilning freshly germinated

barley to make delicious malt. Instead,

this heat has potentially reduced the

prospective extract yield (the amount

of sugars brewers can get from barley

in order to allow yeast to convert this

to alcohol and carbon dioxide) that the

2018 crop of spring barley can produce.

Short term, this is a problem that

can be overcome. UK malt producers

prepare for such an eventuality by

holding stocks of both spring and

winter barley, meaning that if there

is a particularly bad year, there’s a

contingency so that its customers

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THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

remained satisfied. However, following

the 2018 spring barley coming to

market in the UK, some brewers

noticed significantly lower extract

yields while brewing.

“We noticed a substantial drop

in extract when we switched over

to spring barley,” Jack Walker, of

Hull-based brewery Atom Beers tells

me. “Initially, we had to adjust with

more grain to achieve similar results.

However, we found that this potentially

causing off flavours. In the end, we

changed malt suppliers to a company

using predominantly winter barley.”

Walker also says that the cost of

malt has risen by 20% since their

brewery was established in 2014

and he sees this increase as a direct

result of climate change. These higher

costs don’t end there however, as

experimenting with using more malt

to mitigate the decreasing yield of

sugars has also led to dumped batches,

expanding warehousing to hold more

grain, and the increased costs that

come with disposing of spent grain, let

over after brewing.

Breaking things down in the way

makes it easy to see how quickly

costs add up for breweries. Throw in

climate change to the mix, extrapolate

that across all of the breweries in the

United Kingdom, and we could have a

whole host of unsustainable businesses

on our hands…

“As climate becomes more

unpredictable, it is inevitable that the

malt specifications will change and

make it far harder to get consistent and

quality wort,” Walker says. “But, as long

as there is a consistent quality we can

usually adapt.”

Sophie de Ronde, head brewer at

the Suffolk-based Burnt Mill Brewery,

previously worked for one of the

UK’s largest producers of malted

barley, Muntons, before she began

her current tenure. According to her,

price fluctuations of raw materials are

something brewers have to simply

acknowledge and absorb. And this is

true of any industry so heavily reliant

on agricultural products in order to

sustain its own manufacture.

The cost of barley goes up when

poor harvests occur, but it then also

comes down with good harvests,” de

Ronde says, stating that she’s seen the

price of barley fluctuated by as much

as £150 per metric ton over the years.

She also points out that temperature

alone is just one of many factors that

influences the barley harvest—and

the resulting quality of the malt it

produces—with each passing year. A

multitude of factors from temperature

to rainfall will influence the nitrogen

content of a particular barley harvest.

This in turn affects a number of factors,

from extract yields to protein content

in finished beers and more besides.

“We do our best to optimise

processes and find the best quality

malt we can,” she says. “As for the

fluctuations in quality, this is down to

the skill of the brewer to assess how

best to adapt processes to ensure you

get the best results from the malt.

Working with natural raw ingredients is

challenging and continually changing.”

Of monsters and hops

While British barley struggled in 2018’s

heat, UK hop farmers enjoyed a good

harvest. However, hop farms in the UK

only produce around 2% of the worlds

hops, with around 80% being grown in

both the US and Germany, with overall

quantities roughly split evenly between

the two of them. Generally, whichever

continent has the best conditions that

year will reap the highest yield, with

one nation usually nosing above the

other and the US currently holding the

crown.

However, as with nitrogen in barley,

yield alone is not the defining factor in

a hop harvest. Instead, hop merchants

are looking for high levels of alpha

acids—the substances crucial to

forming bitterness in beer.

“While our US and Australian crops

both did well, Europe gave us the most

challenging conditions with the dry

and hot summer of 2018 taking a toll on

the German crop,” Daniel Christmas

of hop merchants Barth Haas (better

known as Simply Hops in the UK) tells

me. “Alpha acid content was 10-15%,

and in some cases up to 30% below

long-term averages.”

Temperature alone

is just one of many

factors that influences

barley harvest

Over the past decade there has

been a huge shift in the types of hops

brewers are demanding. Instead of high

alpha bittering hops such as Magnum

or Target, the demand is moving

towards lower alpha, aromatic varieties

such as Citra and Mosaic. Decreasing

alpha acid yields are being challenged

not just by climate change, but by the

hop preference of modern brewers. It’s

something merchants like Barth Haas

are “having to keep a very close eye

on,” according to Christmas.

“Climate change is on everybody's

mind in the hop industry. We’re seeing

extreme weather events with increased

frequency over recent years, some of

which are almost impossible to protect

against,” he goes on to say, referencing

the “monster” hailstorm that reduced

2018’s harvest of the Australian Galaxy

variety by 300 metric tons.

“Our greatest concern then is

making sure we are delivering against

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THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

future contracts. Climate change

can and will affect a growing regions

competitiveness or even ability to grow

hops in the long term,” he says.

At Burnt Mill, Sophie de Ronde has

seen hop prices rise over the years

that mirrors the rising cost of barley.

This spiked between 2012 to 2014,

when a host of new breweries arrived

on the scene, all craving the latest and

juiciest hop varieties. As with barley,

rising costs combined with the variable

quality of ingredients each year is

something they’ve had to learn to

adapt to.

“Climate and weather changes

can dramatically affect the quality

and quantity of hops from certain

regions. The main cause of concern

for ourselves is consistency in aroma

profiles and the actual hop oils,” she

says. “If there is a major swing in

aroma profile then this is more of a

concern. In these cases we can blend

previous crop years or blend varietals

from different countries to produce a

balance of what we are after.”

Becoming the change

While climate change, and the damage

it could potentially do to our planet

seems inevitable, many businesses

within the brewing industry are doing

what they can do to reduce their

impact on the environment. Making

beer uses a lot of energy and creates

a lot of waste, through the use of both

a great deal of water and a significant

amount of raw materials.

At Atom Brewery, Jack Walker and

his colleagues have been looking at

various ways of shrinking their carbon

footprint. Recently they assessed all of

the waste their brewery is producing

and began to look at ways of reducing

each of these waste streams. By doing

this they found a recycling centre in

Hull capable of processing more of

their spent grain, reducing the amount

of landfill refuse they were creating

by up to 40 bags per week. They’re

also installing new piping and a more

efficient chilling system. A recent audit

of their cleaning system has reduced

the amount of water required by 100

litres per cycle.

“From an ethical standpoint, we

would like to be an increasingly

sustainable brewery that recycles as

much as it can and conserves water

and energy,” Walker says. “Financially

though, while there may be some high

capital expenditure for larger projects,

they always pay dividends in what they

actually save.”

Burnt Mill are also looking at ways of

mitigating their environmental impact,

such as building a reed bed system in

order to naturally filter and clean its

wastewater, as well as support the local

ecosystem. Although she admits the

cost of investing in more ecologically

sound processes is prohibitive, with the

likes of solar panels and wind turbines

used to generate their own electricity

being out of reach of the average

brewing company.

Although, if we’re to remain on this

Earth (and continue to enjoy great

beer) then all of us need to be mindful

of our impact on the environment and

do our bit to be kinder to our home.

Otherwise, there might not be any

great beer, or a planet, left to enjoy.

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GREEN

beer

But

GREENWORDS: Anthony Gladman

I

want you to picture a barley field in

high summer, stalks gently swaying

in the breeze. See the ears grow

heavy with grain and bend towards

the ground. Watch the field turn from

green to gold as the barley ripens ready

for harvest. Feel the soft earth beneath

your feet as the sun warms your skin.

Makes you want a beer, doesn't it? It

does to me.

For most of us beer comes from a

tap, a bottle or a can. We're removed

from its roots in the farms that span

our countryside. Beer may not seem

agricultural, but it is. It is deeply

entwined with our natural world and

its changing climate. If the barley in the

field is at risk then so too is the beer we

brew from it.

As temperatures in mainland

Europe surpassed 45°C back in June,

climate change tipped over into

climate crisis. For many people 2019

became the year when enough was

enough. School strikes and Extinction

Rebellion protests signalled a growing

recognition that we must all do our bit

to preserve the planet which is our one

and only home.

drinking

towards

sustainability

no one wants to go full hippy, do

they? Living in a yurt and subsisting on

mung beans isn't going to cut it. How

can we ensure beer will still be around

in the future to make all our other

sacrifices bearable? As a consumer you

may feel powerless, but there are a few

steps you can take.

"The big thing for anybody is packing

materials," says Ben Landsberry at The

Kernel Brewery. "A lot of plastic comes

into the brewery. Everything's wrapped

in plastic, and that's quite frustrating."

That's as true for breweries as it is

for individual consumers. So if this

frustration sounds familiar, you've

probably already guessed the first

step I am going to suggest: avoid

unnecessary packaging. The simplest

way to do this is to get out to the pub

more and drink less at home.

Over the last few years Ben has

been working with environmental

consultants to measure and reduce

the brewery's carbon footprint. This

work has confirmed that packaging is

one of the major components of beer's

environmental impact. In a typical

brewery packaging will contribute 35%

to 40% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

"The difference between bottle size

formats is pretty minimal but then

when you look at them compared to

kegs... it was one-sixth the carbon

footprint for the same volume of

beer," Ben says. It's clear from this that

drinking more on tap is a good way to

reduce your own beer habit's impact on

the world. But you can still do better.

"The most sustainable thing would

be [using] serving tanks, and everybody

comes and drinks at the brewery," says

Ben. Tank beer isn't packaged at all,

and in some cases isn't transported

anywhere either. You can find Pilsner

Urquell on tank around the country,

and other tank bars are popping up

at places like Left Handed Giant's

brewpub in Bristol, Albert's Schloss

in Manchester and Brewhemia in

Edinburgh. But if you can find a

brewery serving its beers from tanks

on site, as German Kraft Beer does in

London, that's about as sustainable as

you can get.

After reducing your packaging,

the next step is to reuse as much of

it as possible. For beer this means

one thing: growlers. These bringyour-own

refillable beer bottles have

become a common site in specialist

craft beer bottle shops over the last

few years, but they could be on the

verge of something even bigger. When

Waitrose trialed a packaging-free store

in Oxford this summer, the offering

included growler fills of Toast Ale. The

supermarket has also experimented

with growler fills in London, in

conjunction with Camden Brewery.

Growlers typically cost around £6

to buy and then £12 to £15 to fill each

time. They need to be filled from

dedicated machines, mind you. This

ensures your beer will keep fresh

for up to six weeks if you store it

somewhere cool and dark — a fridge or

a cellar is best. Beer in growlers filled

straight from a tap will only keep for a

fraction of this time.

Packaging is one of the

major components of beer's

environmental impact

The fact that you can fill them again

and again is their main attraction but

growlers have other benefits as well.

They present drinkers with the chance

to access beers they can't buy in bottles

or cans, and they give retailers the

opportunity to offer tasters. This makes

them attractive to shops as well as to

customers.

The next link in the chain is

recycling, which is where the beer

trade's shift towards cans over recent

years works in our favour. Many of

us know that aluminium is more

recyclable than glass. But it might

be a surprise to learn that, when it

comes to recycling, not all cans are

created equal. Cans with labels are less

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recyclable than those where the design

is printed directly onto the can.

If you're buying a few cans at once —

a six-pack for example — then the best

packaging is probably something like

Carlsberg's new Snap Pack whereby the

cans are simply stuck to one another

with blobs of recyclable glue. “It might

sound like a simple fix, but it took three

years of collaboration with our partners

NMP systems, testing over 4,000 types

of glue to find the one we use today,”

says Pete Statham, Sustainability

Communications Manager at

Carlsberg. “We launched Snap Pack as

a trial in September 2018, and in March

we began rolling it out across more of

our products to extend the impact.”

Carlsberg estimates that once Snap

Packs are phased in across the entire

Carlsberg Group, it will save around

1,200 tonnes of plastic, equivalent to

60 million plastic bags. This will reduce

their global plastic use by 76%. Snap

Packs are only available from Carlsberg

for now, but the more breweries that

adopt this model the better.

Developments at a scale like this

demonstrate that the final and perhaps

the most important thing we can do as

individual consumers is to put pressure

on companies to be more sustainable.

This is where the real change needs to

come from.

Water water everywhere

How many pints is a lot? Picture the

glasses lined up along a wooden bar.

How many could you work your way

through over an evening? What if it

was just water? Ten pints of water. Is

that a lot? Because that's how much it

takes on average to brew just one pint

of beer. And most of that water isn't

even put into the beer itself, but is

used instead for heating, for cooling or

for cleaning. Doesn't that sound like a

lot to you?

Brewers recognise that their

industry is water intensive, and it's why

this is one of the first areas many look

to improve their sustainability. At The

Kernel Brewery the ratio, around 5:1,

is half the industry average — although

partly this is down to the fact that

they don't clean any kegs on site. "It

feels like we use more," says Ben. "As a

small brewery I don't think we would

ever get below 4:1, that's going to be an

insane goal."

Felix James, co-founder of Small

Beer Brew Co thinks differently. "In

a traditional brewing environment,

brewers drain waste products to

the brewery floor and use hoses to

wash down into a drain. Hoses aren't

particularly suited to this purpose

and many brewers will relate to the

frustration of wasting time and water

washing down floors."

"Every brewer worth his or her salt

knows that a good brewery starts with

a draining floor, but we decided there

was a better alternative," says Felix.

"We have successfully engineered a

brewery with a dry floor which saves

hundreds of litres of water every day."

Felix and the team at Small Beer

Brew Co have reduced their ratio to

just under 2:1, a figure most breweries

can only dream of. Usually it's only the

global brewing behemoths with their

megabucks muscle and mammoth

scale that get down this low. Has Felix

really achieved all this just by banning

hoses?

"The biggest saving at Small Beer

comes from using electrical energy

to sink the majority of heat from our

wort," he explains. "Much of the 'lost'

water (i.e. the half pint that doesn't

end up in the pint of beer) actually

ends up in our spent grain which goes

to cattle feed." This has a knock-on

effect that saves even more water. "The

farmer tells me that the cows drink

significantly less from their trough

when they eat the grain versus when

they're on alternative feed stocks."

"Sustainability is a thread that

runs through everything we do at

Small Beer," says Felix. Sounds good,

doesn't it? Would it make you more

likely to choose their beers over

another brewery's similar offering?

Perhaps. But what if all you had to

base this decision on was a few lines of

marketing copy on a label?

Died in the wool

We may never have a way to reliably

gauge how sustainable a company is

just from looking at its products — to

tell the green from the merely greenwashed.

It's impossible to know, when

faced with a shelf full of beer, the

water ratio for each can; we have no

way to measure the emissions from its

manufacture against levels with which

we feel comfortable. How can we be

expected to reward the companies

that take sustainability seriously with

our custom, and avoid the ones that do

not?

Perhaps one answer lies in

drinking more locally, where it is

possible to develop at least a nodding

acquaintance with the people who

actually make your beer. When you

know the values by which a company

operates, not just the stories it tells to

the world but the sum of its actions day

after day, month after month, then you

can judge it accordingly.

Like I said at the beginning, no

one wants to go full hippy. Earnestly

weighing up the environmental pros

and cons of every beer will drain it

of all its fun and cause unnecessary

delays at the bar. But if you drink out

more, drink more beer from growlers at

home, and support breweries that take

sustainability seriously, that should

count as having done your bit. We all

have our part to play but the onus is on

the system more than on the individual.

66

FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 67


MODERN

We all cringe at the stupid stuff

we said when we were younger,

so why get it indelibly recorded

on your body, asks Ollie Peart

fter a pretty good spell

of weather, I’ve noticed

something, as I’m sure you

have: tattoos. They. Are.

Everywhere.

Faces, necks, knuckles, feet, calves

and chests; forearms inked from

wrist to shoulder, some intricate and

considered, some traced straight

from a tattooists version of the Argos

catalogue. It’s no longer the reserve

of subcultures creeping down back

alleys to get jabbed with art, but a

world where seemingly everyone is

cruising into evermore prominent

parlours without a second thought to

get scribed with whatever their finger

happens to point at first.

For the record, I like tattoos. I don’t

have any, but I like them. Well, sort

of. I like the idea of them. I like the

heritage and the culture that’s at the

very core of their existence and the

fact they have been around in one

form or another for some 40,000

years. But I can’t help thinking that

the current generation of inked up

folk will come to regret it very, very

soon.

Have you seen Ed Sheeran’s

tattoos? Let’s be frank, they look

fucking horrendous. Among his 60-orso

tatts, the ginger git (I’m ginger

too so I can call him that) has a lego

man’s head, a Heinz ketchup bottle

label and some jigsaw puzzle pieces.

The aim I’m sure was that all of these

have meaning to his life in some way,

his childhood or whatever, but he just

looks like a sprawl of car boot bric-abrac

that’s been stuck in a loft for 15

years.

One in five adults in the U.K have

a tattoo, and that’s according to

data from 2015. Based on anecdotal

evidence, I’d say it’s one in three.

Driven by celeb’s social posts of their

latest body-art, people seem to be

in a rush to get themselves inked

up. Having a tattoo is an Instagram

staple. A quick glance at the hashtag

will throw up literally millions of

posts of people posing

looking all thoughtful and

‘cool’ or whatever.

Despite liking tattoos

though, they just look like

twats. ‘Life is now’ tattooed on

your back or ‘yes boss’ on your

arse cheek is a one way ticket

to regretville. Don’t believe

me? Pop down to your local

laser tattoo removal centre and

ask them how business is going.

Trust me, it’s fucking booming.

And so long as tattoos are

booming, so too will their

removal. Tattoos, like those

hideous platform Fila trainers

from the 90’s everyone is

wearing, will come and go with

fashion. Winston Churchill’s mum

got a tattoo of a snake on her wrist

in the early 1900s because it was

cool, 5 years later that fashion had

passed and she looked every bit the

tit as Ed Sheeran.

‘Yeah but it’s my body, I can do

what I want’. This is true. But if that’s

your only reason for getting a tattoo,

in rebellion to someone like me

telling you you’ll regret it, trust me,

you’ll regret it.

They’re like Artex. One minute

they’re cool and everyone is getting

it done, the next minute you realise

how shit it looks and that actually,

it’s toxic. You have a choice; remove

it at great expense, or live with the

fact your ceiling looks like it’s been

taken straight from a shitty boozer

from the 1960s.

I’m not saying don’t

get tattooed, I’m saying like a

concerned father I would think

about it properly. If you go into a

tattoo parlour, phone in hand with

a photo of something you saw on

Instagram and thought was cool,

odds are you’re going to hate it in

two years.

Aside from the celebrity drive on

tattoos, (Rihanna has 30 of them)

why are so many of us getting

them?

It’s easy to feel lost in the modern

world. A sense of belonging has

been all but eviscerated by an ever

more divisive society spending more

of its time in the virtual world than

the real one, living in isolation doors

locked and heads down. Religion

used to be the place to go to feel

wanted until we all figured out God

was a load of old nonsense. The Pub

became a great place to go and

feel a part of something bigger,

until they all started to shut down.

So maybe getting a tattoo is the

next best option.

As soon as you get inked you

are part of the club. It doesn’t

matter how shit or good your

tattoo is, you’re tattooed and will

be until you die, or can afford

laser removal. It’s a shared

experience that you can talk

about with fellow tattooed folk.

All I can say from the sidelines

is ‘what’s it like’ or ‘why did you

do it’ with zero understanding

of the reality, but you tattooed

bastards, you know, and only you

know. You’re so cool.

And I get wanting to be part

of something. I want to be part

of something. But in a few years

time when I’m peering in from the

sidelines at the tattooed, I won’t be

asking what it’s like or why you

did it, I’ll be asking when your

removal date is.

68 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 69


OFFICE BREW

OFFICE BREW:

Sour Power

WORDS & PHOTOS:

Richard Croasdale

The sun is out in central

Edinburgh, and we have a

flat roof with a view, so what

better time to bring back our regular

office brew feature? It’s been a few

months since we had the Grainfather

all-grain brewing system our from

the cupboard, and everyone’s had

a good chance to think about the

styles they’d like to try. In weather

like this though, it’s clearly the turn

of customer service veterans Annie

and Rachel to shine, with their selfdevised

rhubarb and raspberry kettle

sour.

We really wanted to dial the fruit up

to 11 for this one so, after consulting

with our friends at the Edinburgh

Brew Store (who also generously

provided the ingredients), we ordered

two massive tubs of fruit puree, which

we’ll add later in the fermentation

process.

To start with though, we need the

base beer. We’ve gone for a light

pilsner malt for our base, with a good

slug of flaked oats to give us a bit of

body. That’s mashed in at 68 degrees,

in 20L of liquor for one hour. The last

time we brewed was a bombshell of

an imperial stout, and I still remember

how much work it was to stir in the

mash, and the many times we had

to try and get it unstuck. Compared

to that, this relatively wet mash is a

dream.

We sparge in another 10L of liquor,

with a jug because there’s nowhere

to balance our hot liquor tank (a

repurposed tea urn) on the roof –

something else to plan for next time –

and are ready for the boil. This is a lot

more pleasant in the open air, and the

entire Beer52 customer service team

is grateful that we’re not turning their

kitchen into a malty swamp. We head

in for a cup of tea and an hour of

work, while our 30 litres of wort boils

down to a nice, predictable 25 litres.

We don’t want much hop bitterness

in this, so – taking a leaf out of the

Belgian playbook – we’re using aged

noble hops, which should have lost a

70

FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 71


OFFICE BREW

72

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lot of their alpha-acid content, while

retaining their antibacterial qualities.

Of course, when I say “aged hops” I

actually mean “hops that have been

at the back of the fridge for the past

18 months. Should still do the job. 20

grams of Hallertau blanc goes in 15

minutes before the end of the boil,

while the remaining 40 goes in a

flameout. Again, this should help keep

the bitterness low, while imparting

some yummy noble hop character.

Having previously borrowed the

glycol chiller from the Heriot Watt

homebrew club downstairs, there’s

no way I’m going back to our crude

counterflow chiller, which never really

worked properly in the first place. In

no time at all, this amazing gadget has

our beer down to a safe temperature

and there’s a good layer of trub at the

bottle of the kettle.

Kettle sours like this take

a little longer to ferment

than a yeast-only brew.

All that’s left is to pitch our yeast

and bacteria culture, and wait… a lot.

We’ve decided to use White Labs

WLP630 Berliner Weisse blend,

a mix of yeast and lactobacillus.

It’s not the worst bacteria in terms

Recipe

• 4.55kg pilsner malt

• 150g flaked oats

• HOPS

• 20g Hallertau Blanc @ 15 min

• 40g Hallertau Blanc @ flameout

Mash at 68° C for one hour.

Sparge, running 30L of wort

into kettle. Boil down to 25 L.

Cool to around 21 degrees and

add yeast.

of contamination risk, but just in

case we’re using a glass carboy for

our fermentation vessel, and have

invested in separate plastic tubes

and siphons for any brew involving

bacteria. We don’t want any future

‘clean’ brews to come out tasting of

yoghurt.

Kettle sours like this take a little

longer to ferment than a yeast-only

brew, as the bacteria also has to do

its slow work. We’ll probably check

on it after a month in the tank, then

add the raspberry and rhubarb if its

working out. Adding the (sterilised)

fruit late in the process should mean

the finished beer retains a lot of the

freshness that we really want front

and centre. Check back in a couple of

months to find out how our first sour

panned out!

FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 73


Last of the

summer scran

This issue, Alex Paganelli serves up

a late summer feast of berries,

cheese and stuffed tomatoes.

RECIPES & PHOTOS: Alex Paganelli

FOOD STYLIST: Joshua Noon

Berries coconut and CBD oil

• 10 strawberries

• 10 raspberries

• 1 nectarine

• 1 pot of coconut yogurt

• 1 handful of shaved coconut

• 2 tbsp of bee pollen

• a few drops of CBD oil

• 1/2 lemon

Start by chopping the fruit and add to a

bowl with a squeeze of lemon. Stir and

keep in the fridge for 30 minutes. Add a

teaspoon of sugar to taste.

Once cool and the juices have broken

down a little bit, spoon into a bowl and

cover with coconut yogurt, shaved

coconut, bee pollen and CBD oil. The

perfect healthy midnight snack.

74 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 75


Burrata socca and capers

For the caper salsa:

• handful of capers

• handful of parsley

• handful of dill

• 50ml of olive oil

• 1/2 lime

For the socca:

• 200g of gram flour

• 75ml of olive oil

• salt

• pepper

• water

Chop all the ingredients finely and add

to a mixing bowl. Stir until all combined,

spoon over the burrata just before

serving.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt &

pepper. Gradually add the water until

you have a thick batter (to eliminate any

lumps). Once the batter is thick, smooth

and elastic, water it down to resemble

a thin pancake batter. Add the olive oil

and set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In the meantime heat your oven on

fan mode on the highest setting (220°C

minimum) for 20 minutes. I use a cast

iron skillet to cook the pancake. Heat

the skillet on the top tray of your oven

for another 10 minutes after that.

After a total of 30 minutes, take the

batter out of the fridge, and loosen up

with a little more water if necessary. It

should be quite thin. Add a ladle to the

cast iron skillet, and return to the oven

for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the size

of your skillet.

Take it out, and blowtorch for a

little extra colour. Drizzle with olive oil

and add a generous pinch of salt and

pepper. Eat immediately.

76 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 77


Stuffed tomatoes

and harissa mayo

• 8 tomatoes on the vine

• 200g of brown rice

• 2 spring onions

• 2 stalks of celery

• handful of dill

• handful of basil

• 2tbsp of mayonnaise

• 2tbsp of harissa

• salt

• pepper

For the rice:

Finely chop the spring onion and celery

and fry on medium heat until softened.

Season and add the washed rice. Fry

for 2 minutes and add 300g of water.

Cook with a lid until all the water is

evaporated. The rice should still be

lightly crunchy and underdone.

Cool the rice down and add a

generous handful of chopped parsley,

dill, salt and pepper.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes

(but don’t discard them). Empty the

tomatoes (you can keep the pulp for

a tomato sauce or salad dressing). Fill

with the rice and put the lids back on.

Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil

over them and season.

Bake at 160°C for 20 minutes, basting

the tomatoes in oil every 5 minutes.

Serve with a spoon of the harissa

mayonnaise.

78 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 79


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80 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 81


ut pale ale

Mothership

LONDON

LONDON

summer stout

Mothership

TASTING NOTES

“She’s an easy lover,” so Phil Collins once said. And

there’s nothing more lovable than this easy-drinking

Pale Ale. This bubbly Brut is brewed with champagne

yeast to make it refreshing, light and spritzy. Perfect

for a long summer’s day session.

ABV: 4.5% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: Pale Ale

MOTHERSHIP

Mothership is an all-female

brewery that champions women

in craft beer. Through dedicated

craft, hard graft and a love of

big flavour, it creates innovative

(and award-winning) seasonal

beer collections with a social

conscience. Mothership aims

to crush the cliches and inspire

more women to get involved in

craft beer, leading a new wave of

beer making and drinking where

everyone’s invited.

ABV: 5% Enjoy at 10°C

Style: Stout

TASTING NOTES

A summer beer for those

who like to break the rules

(and running through a field

of wheat doesn’t cut it). A

traditional stout with bold

flavours, it’s smooth and sassy.

hypergalactic

Mothership

LONDON

EXCLUSIVE

4wayipa

Raise the Bar winners x Beer52

ABV: 5.8% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: West Coast IPA

ABV: 4% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: DDH Session IPA

TASTING NOTES

A beer as big and bold as the

night sky. This IPA is loaded

with an immense dry hop for

a hypergalactic aroma burst.

Drenched in tropical fruit

flavours from the Galaxy hops,

and studded with a delicious

dose of dank from Chinook.

Every sip is an adventure.

TASTING NOTES

This hop loaded session IPA

is a celebration of the four

winners of the 2019 Raise the

Bar competition, to find the

best new brewing talent in

the UK. Each brewer has put

forward a signature hop that

represents them and their

beer, and you can find them

at a festival near you this year.

Featuring Mosaic, Galaxy,

Mandarina Bavaria and Citra.

82 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 83


Optimo

Dig Brew Co.

BIRMINGHAM

BIRMINGHAM

nine

Dig Brew Co.

ABV: 5.2% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: Pale Ale

ABV: 5.4% Enjoy at 10°C

Style: Stout

TASTING NOTES

Dig Brew Co's ever returning Citra-focused

house pale. With this iteration, it has utilised

Galaxy alongside the Citra throughout the

whirpool and during conditioning. Fermented

with London Fog yeast.

DIG BREW CO.

Located in Birmingham's Digbeth

neighbourhood, Dig Brew Co is an

exciting, creative brewery whose

beers are matched by the ambition

of its vision. From international art

collaborations to beer-based opera,

the team here is full of surprises,

which is just how we like it.

TASTING NOTES

A dark and mysterious

stout from Dig Brew Co in

Birmingham. A huge malty

character with a smooth

finish. Ain't much happening

in the West Midlands.

hell

Dig Brew Co.

BIRMINGHAM

EDINBURGH

dry hopped farmhouse ale

Vault City Brewing

ABV: 4.5% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: Helles Lager

TASTING NOTES

Helles style lager

bittered with Saaz and

Northern Brewer hops,

then conditioned for

five weeks.

ABV: 4% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: Dry Hopped Ale

VAULT CITY BREWING

Vault City Brewing create mixed

fermentation craft beer with a

sense of place and seasonality.

Based in Edinburgh, founded by

Johnny Horn from the Hanging

Bat, and Steven Smith-Hay, this

young brewery have got huge

things ahead of them. Their

initial bottle releases have been

hard to find across the country

and gained rave reviews.

TASTING NOTES

Using the Jovaru Lithuanian farmhouse yeast, this beer

showcases the little known Merkur hop for a light,

giving an earthy mouthfeel followed by a sour finish.

84 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 85


yuzu neipa

Vault City Brewing

EDINBURGH

YORKSHIRE

wavelength

Turning Point Brew Co.

ABV: 5.2% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: NEIPA

ABV: 4.5% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: Pale Ale

TASTING NOTES

Using both Yuzu juice and

zest, this tropical fruit adds

both thickness and sharp

citrus flavours with plenty

of sour and bitter notes.

TURNING POINT BREW CO.

Turning Point brewery launched into

orbit in 2017, with Aron & Cameron

calling time on the day jobs and never

looking back. Since then they've been

busy brewing as many unique beers as

possible, whilst modestly honing their

craft, learning everything they can about

this mysterious liquid, and trying their

best to cram as much fun into every

minute of it as possible. They invite you

into their little world filled with hops,

good music, and space travel.

TASTING NOTES

Incredibly light in colour, and glistening with Mosaic,

Mosaic and more Mosaic. A juicy and piney showcase

of their absolute favourite hop.

totally tropical sour

Vault City Brewing

EDINBURGH

YORKSHIRE

lucid dream

Turning Point Brew Co.

ABV: 5.6% Enjoy at 8°C

Style: Sour

ABV: 5% Enjoy at 10°C

Style: Stout

TASTING NOTES

A fruited sour created

with a mixed culture from

Lithuanian and Norwegian

farmhouses, based on the

Vault City house yeast. Like

a tropical lilt, sweet and sour,

with tastes of lemon sherbet

and a full mouthfeel.

TASTING NOTES

Cookie Cream Stout - eight

malt varieties give a complex

backbone to this "dessert

in a glass" beer. Cacao nibs,

biscuit and oats bring cookie

to the party with the cream

coming from lactose in the

boil and a touch of vanilla.

86 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 87


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YORKSHIRE

ABV: 6% Enjoy at 6°C

Style: American IPA

TASTING NOTES

A monstrously dry-hopped

IPA. As pale as the moon, with

layers of tropical fruit, lemon

zest and pine from a triple

dry hop charge of Centennial,

Amarillo, and Mosaic.

swerve driver

Turning Point Brew Co.

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88 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 89


ILLUSTRATION : Eva Dolgyra

eriously, do you need glasses?

I am rapidly coming to the

conclusion that some people

definitely do, because they can’t

see that stealing glasses from

venues is theft.

As with my last column, I recently ran

another (obviously not very scientific) Twitter

poll and only 22% of people believed that

taking glassware from a venue is theft... 22%. I

am horrified.

But not as horrified as I was when I started

doing some research on this stuff and it turns

out that supplier to the industry Nisbets

estimates that the cost to the hospitality

sector of stolen glassware is £186m per

annum. That’s not change down the back of

the sofa now is it?

It turns out that one in three people take

glasses from venues, making it the most

commonly stolen item, but as a report in the

New York Post points out, it’s not just glasses,

Melissa Cole asks if you need glasses?

the metal straws being used to replace plastic

ones are also proving popular with lightfingered

members of the population, and are

costing some venues up to $5,000. (Small

note, whilst these are an eco-friendly option,

please do keep a small amount of plastic

straws in stock for those with disabilities or

drinking difficulties as the metal ones aren’t as

easy for them to use).

What really gets up my nose about all this

is that there is so much guff talked about

‘well, it’s an inbuilt business expense’ or ‘the

breweries give them to them anyway’ which is

generally untrue for smaller businesses and an

awful attempt to justify what is morally wrong.

While some breweries do write branded

glassware off as an internal cost, they still have

to replace them when stolen and, as Mike

from Wildcraft pointed out: “I’m a supplier, got

through over 1000 glasses in a year and most

of those pubs are now asking for more. We are

a small brewery, there is no budget for that!”

I know this might seem like a petty hill to

choose to expire on but it really winds me up,

especially when I ran a second poll for venues,

and among the answers to the question,

one particular venue, the Hop Garden in

Harbourne, tweeted this back: “Our branded

glasswear seem to just vanish some days. It’s a

big outlay, as you have to normally buy 500+

to make it cost effective for you and whoever

you’re purchasing from. We went from 500 to

300 in our first few weeks and we had sold

eight!”

The cost to the hospitality

sector of stolen glassware

is £186m per annum.

Miranda Bates from Duration adds: “A

brewery a friend worked at counted £200

taken in one event!” And another tweeter,

Mike Baxter, says: “You need to add a column,

I’ve easily lost £5-10k in glassware.”

When I asked the businesses what the

amount was stolen from them, 38% said more

than £100, 28% said more than £200 and

34% said more than £500. These are figures

that can wipe out days of take at certain times

of the year, let alone the hassle and cost of

ordering more when you take into account the

branding and the delivery of them.

And it’s the rank hypocrisy, as well as the

petty criminality of it, that gets to me. There

are so many people out there who talk about

the need to support local, that independent

is best, but are happy to put financial strain

on these businesses by taking what simply

doesn’t belong to them.

Mind you, all of this pales into

insignificance to the brass neck of this

anecdote from Meryl Wideman who

tweeted: “Managed a beer bar that routinely

had popular glassware stolen. I called our

reps of the brands and it was always replaced.

However, once someone asked to borrow a

screwdriver to ‘work on their car’ they tried to

walk out with a fully framed art piece.”

So, if you take a shine to a piece of

glassware in a bottle shop, bar or

restaurant, ask if they sell them. It’s

the least you can do, especially as

I write this, the living epitome of

moral bankruptcy is set to take

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the highest office in the land, so maybe we

could all do a little better at a micro level? You

never know, it might work its way up... and, no,

I’m not drunk, just trying desperately to cling

on to some form of optimism.

Right, rant over and onto something that I am

vastly behind the curve on and, I’ve realised.

It’s because I was being one of those people I

get frustrated with: I’ve been broad-brushing

cider and perry as ‘not my thing’ for far too

long.

I mean, I’m never going to be one of those

who likes things that are 90% fruit flavourings

but hey, whatever floats your boat. For years

I’ve been saying ‘I only really like Aspall’s’ but

boy oh boy have I not been drinking the right

stuff.

The new waves of fresh, vibrant, exciting

artisan ciders and perries out there have

absolutely woken me up to a whole new

world of possibilities and the food pairing

opportunities are endless.

However, if like me you are sceptical of this

sector of the drinks world, I will say in my

defence that I have been trying products that

are the result of too unfettered a fermentation

and that are more akin to a chainsaw across

the tongue that’s

recently been used to

dismember a dead goat. It’s not

that you or I don’t get them, they are just bad.

I should also add that perry holds a

special level of fear for me because one

of the earliest drinks I experimented with

was a warm bottle of seriously out of date

Babycham... yes, I am that old!

But when you are presented with a gift

from a friend (thanks Nicky Kong of the

Crown and Kettle in Manchester – not only

do you run an ace pub, you give ace gifts)

that flies in the face of all of that, you can

only sit back and marvel and then run out to

experiment more.

Said gift was Ross Cider’s Entire Butt

(yes, I know, snigger) and it was like my

mouth was being kissed by the pear

blossom fairy and then tickled by the

gentlest of carbonation and caressed by the

lightest breath of astringency.

All-in-all, it’s a bit of a life lesson really,

embrace experimentation and don’t get

stuck in a rut, you never know what’s

waiting for you out there. And now

I need to get back to pretending

to be on holiday while actually

working – another life lesson that

I seem to have spectacularly

failed at.

92 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 93


e’ll often have a favourite beer

glass at home that we just use for

everything, and there’s nothing

wrong with that. But many beer styles – traditional

and modern – have their own associated style of

glass.

Whether it’s the American shaker glass, the

British dimpled ale glass or the earthenware

German stein, a lot of these glass styles are deeply

WORDS: Louise Crane

ingrained in the historical beer cultures of their

homeland, and are instantly recognisable.

Others still have more obvious practical benefits,

thanks to their ability to show off a beer style's

specific selling points, whether clarity, head,

carbonation, flavour or simply the brand’s logo.

Here are just a few of the most common beer

glass styles for you to consider when you reach

into the fridge…

Shaker

This sturdy, straight walled,

stackable pint glass is probably the

most common glass for beer in the

United States at least (see below for

the shaker’s British counterpart).

You’ll find this 16oz (455 ml) glass

exists in most bars or restaurants

for serving up a generic ale or lager.

Its name, shaker, comes from the

fact that it’s the bottom half of the

Boston cocktail shaker, and it became popular in the

US after Prohibition, when the beer available was

nothing special - so why have a special glass?

Use for: anything you like, including IPAs,

stouts, porters, but especially for making up a

negroni.

English

Also referred to as an Imperial

glass, this tapered cylindrical glass

has a slight lip near the top, to

prevent chipping when stacked or

washed together. It holds a precise

568ml (or a pint, for the Imperialminded),

is cheap to make, cheap to

buy and easy to drink from. They’re

also very simple to clean and, like the

shaker glass, they stack, saving on space behind the

bar. Watch out for those that are laser etched on the

bottom - that’s a nucleation point for making your

drink that extra bit bubbly.

Use for: a pint of mild or a classic brown ale.

mug

These sturdy vessels are

common in England,

Germany and the United

States, where their robust

nature and ready-made handle

makes them perfect for chinking

together to toast another happy

beverage. Typically thick-walled,

their insulating nature keeps your beer cold, and the

handle keeps your natural body heat away from your

chilled brew. The dimpled variety of the beer mug,

first made in Britain in 1938, looks more interesting,

and some claim that the dimples help a drinker

appreciate the overall color and clarity of their beer.

According to historian Martyn Cornell, the arrival of

the dimple coincided with the triumph of the lightercoloured

bitter over the darker mild, and amber

beers look better in the refracted light of dimpled

glasses than in straight-sides ones.

Use for: red ales; robust stouts; impersonating

Thor.

stein

What makes a stein a stein

and not a mug? It’s the hinged

lid, equipped with a handy

thumb lever for opening.

Steins can be made of more

than just glass, so you’ll find

varieties made from porcelain,

stoneware, pewter, silver and

wood. Originating in Germany,

“stein” is an abbreviated form of

Steinzeugkrug, the German word for stoneware jug or

tankard. In the early 16th century many communities

throughout Europe passed laws stating that food and

beverage containers must have lids, and historically,

steins were preferred because some believed

they could prevent the spread of disease. Today,

decorative steins have become collector’s items and

are generally regarded as ornamental.

Use for: prettifying your shelves; warding off

bubonic plague; session lager.

Goblet

chalice

The most iconic chalice is

that of Stella Artois, thanks

to billboard advertising

demonstrating its long, thick

stem, and tall, curved bowl.

Goblets are much the

same, though tend to be

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BEER SCHOOL: GLASSWARE

thinner and lighter than chalices with a shorter,

wider bowl for analysing the complexity of a beer’s

aroma. According to Stella’s marketing spiel, the

chalice’s curved shaped was designed to enhance

the beer’s flavour by releasing aromas when the

liquid is poured. The stem is useful for keeping warm

fingers off the cold glass, maintaining the beer’s

chilled temperature. The round shape also maintains

a consistent carbonation and foamy head, which is

often sliced off with a knife after pouring if it rises

above the level of the rim, which is often

silver- or gold-coloured. This is pure bling.

Use for: heavy, malty beers, such as

Belgian ales and German Bocks.

Pilsner

Designed for, well, pilsners, this glass is

tall and skinny with a lightly nipped-in, low

waist. For the most part, they hold slightly

less beer than a pint glass, although size

does vary. When the beer is poured in, it

smoothly skirts the side of the glass until it

reaches the kink, which tumbles the liquid

into the wider bottom, nucleating it into a

cascade of bubbles.The slender design also

allows you to gaze upon the colours and

carbonation, while the slightly

wider top of the glass helps

with foam retention, bringing out

the drink’s true flavour profile and

aromas. It’s very popular in both

America and Europe.

Use for: pilsners, bock or

kölsch.

Weizen

Very similar to pilsner glasses, these

glasses have a strong, narrow base, a

curve inwards, then outwards, then

round at the top, the curvature of

which marks them out from pilsner

glasses. They are much taller than

pint glasses, but hold about the same volume.

Designed for use with aromatic wheat beers, the

curved lip at the top helps to trap bubbles to form

a thick foam head, allowing you to fully appreciate

their aroma and flavour. Sometimes fruit is served on

the rim of wheat beers, which is a bit of a no-no for

the beer aficionado, since the acidity and juice of the

fruit could destroy the foam head.

Use for: wheat beers and fruit beers.

Snifter

Typically associated with cognac and

brandy, these glasses are great for

releasing volatile aromas in a drink.

The rounded bowl is perfectly shaped

for cupping your hand around, where

the urge to swirl your drink around

with a thoughtful look on your face

is irresistible. This stirs up the flavour

and aroma compounds in your beer, sending them

into the atmosphere ready for your nose to capture,

bringing out the full bouquet of your brew. As such,

don’t fill your snifter to the brim, or you’ll end up

with some suspicious looking wet patches on your

trousers.

Use for: stronger beer such as Double or

Imperial IPAs and Belgian IPAs; quads; wee heavys;

barleywines; and being Winston Churchill.

Tulip

Probably the most interesting

shaped glasses on this list,

they have a small stem and

footer with a unique, bulblike

bowl on top, shaped

like a tulip or a thistle,

hence their names. The

tulip glass has a top

rim that curves outward,

forming a lip that helps

ensnare the foam head,

enhancing the flavour and

thistle

aromatics of hoppy and malty brews. The thistle glass

resembles a stretched-out version of the tulip, but

it’s slightly taller and has less of a curve around the

lip. As per the snifter, the bowl allows you to liberally

swirl around your beer, releasing the full aromas, and

so long as you don’t fill it to the brim, there’s room to

stick your nose in for a good sniff.

Use for: Scottish Ales, if you’re drinking out of

a thistle glass, since it’s Scotland’s official flower. The

tulip glass is commonly used for stronger brews, such

as Double IPAs, Belgian ales and barleywines.

Stange

This is the glass of many names, including

the strange glass, stick glass, pole glass

or rod glass. Some are misnomers (and

mis-spellings), but some are spot on, since

the word “stange” is the German word

for rod - which is exactly what it looks

like. The stange glass is straight up and

down, and generally, it will hold around

6.5 fluid ounces (185ml), but the size can

vary and recently larger ones have been

appearing. The firmer concentration of the

important volatile compounds within the beer allows

you to get a real sense of its flavour. Stangen are

carried by slotting them into holes in a special tray

called a Kranz (German for "wreath").

Use for: delicate beers, such as German Kölsch

or Altbier, to help intensify the flavours and aromas.

Teku

A relative newcomer to the world of

beer glassware, the Teku is similar

to a tulip glass but with a longer

stem, wider bottom bowl and a

small chimney-shaped upper bowl.

It’s an elegant and functional beer

glass, designed by Italian beer experts

and engineered by legendary German

glassmakers inspired by the ISO glass

used in wine tastings. People rave

that they make beers taste better than they really are,

thanks to the radial curvature which traps the aroma

and the thin rim for the best possible exposure to the

beer as it touches your lips.

Use for: sours; lambics; gruit, fruit, or heather

beers.

Does the rim width

affect your drinking

experience?

Yes. A wide rim glass, like you’d find in a beer mug,

say, encourages deep gulps of tasty beer, forcing it

to the back of your throat, which can accentuate

bitterness. Narrow rims allow you to sip your drink

with more lip and tongue control, so that the beer

stays to the front of your mouth, where greater

interaction with the air will bring out sweeter

flavours.

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The term "sour" beer covers a multitude of

styles and techniques - so many in fact that

it is considered by some pundits to be rather

unhelpful, in that it invites comparison between beers

that are set out to be quite different from one another.

What they have in common, though, is a tart sourness

(rather than bitterness - a distinction which confuses

a lot of beer novices). The simpliest way of making a

beer sour is to raise its base acidity using Lactobacillus

bacteria when mashing in the grains. This technique,

known as kettle souring, adds only 48 hours to a beer's

production time and is pretty safe and predictible. Mixed

fermentation uses a mixture of yeast and bacteria; these

beers take significantly longer than kettle souring and

are considerably more expensive to make. As well as

the more complex (often slower) primary fermentation,

mixed and spontaneously fermented beers are

frequently left in wooden barrels for a year or more in

order to fully mature.

98 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 99


NEXT TIME...

Based on more than 400,000 ratings and reviews from our members,

next month’s box will feature new beers from your highest-rated breweries

from the past few years. There’s also an unmissable lineup of beer news and opinions

from the UK’s best beer writers, including Melissa Cole, Matthew Curtis, Eoghan Walsh,

Katie Mather and Anthony Gladman. Cheers!

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