Ferment Issue 45 // Helsinki x Tallinn

jamesbeer52

FERMENTMAGAZINE.COM | ISSUE 45

ADVENTURES IN THE GLOBAL CRAFT ALCOHOL MOVEMENT

JOIN US ON A BALTIC ADVENTURE WITH SOME OF

THE MOST CREATIVE BREWERIES IN EUROPE

45>

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EDITOR

Richard Croasdale

LEAD DESIGNER

(Maternity Leave)

Ashley Johnston

DESIGNER

Adele Juraža

Editor’s

NOTE

@fermenthq

@fermentmagazine

Contributions, comments, rants:

richard@beer52.com

ADVERTISING

To discuss how Ferment

could work with your brand, request

a media pack or book an advert,

contact: matthew@beer52.com

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COVER ILLUSTRATION

Philip Lindeman

www.philiplindeman.com

PUBLISHED BY:

Ferment & Beer52,

Floor 2,

26 Howe Street,

Edinburgh,

EH3 6TG

Since we first visited Tallinn a couple of years back,

I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen what an amazing

place it is. My one regret at the time was that I didn’t

make the short hop across the water to explore the scene

in Finland. Well, it’s taken a while, but here I am, and I’m not

disappointed. From competitive saunaing to waking up with

a broken hand 100km from my hotel, suffice to say that the

Finns know how to party.

And there’s plenty of other very interesting stuff this issue,

including brewing in clay amphorae, making cutlery from

spent grain, brewery safety and the little-known off-flavour

that could be tainting your brew.

Our bottleshare and city guide this month come from

Newcastle, where regular contributor Siobhan Hewison had

quite a couple of days. At the other end of the spectrum,

Tom Pears shares his thoughts on the restorative powers of a

nice walk.

Special thanks this issue go to Lee Zaicew, for the authentic

Finnish experience, and for letting me sleep on his futon.

As ever, feel free to drop me a line with your thoughts,

premonitions and embarassing medical problems on

ferment@beer52.com or @fermenthq.

Helsinki, p.8

This issue of Ferment was first

printed in October 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: hello Helsinki

Richard Croasdale finds a thriving beer scene full of

optimism, camaraderie and great beer.

12: pyynikin

Finland’s craft pioneer, still shaking things up six

years later.

16: lumi

The tiny brewery, whose chef founders are dealing

in big flavours.

20: Maku

They’ve travelled the world to create the perfect

good-time brews.

26: metal is for everyone

What is it about the Finns and metal? Our own

Bryce finds out.

40: trouble brewing

Are craft breweries getting sloppy with

safety?

58: ampohra

Katie Mather looks at the ancient

fermentation vessels and the

breweries bringing them back.

62: something from nothing

Another step towards zero waste brewing.

66: mouse

Matt Curtis goes in search of the most

common off-flavour you’ve never heard of.

94: Beer school: baltics

The baltic states have a centuriesold

relationship with British

brewing.

By Craig Collins @CraigComicsEtc & Mark Brady @HolidayPirate


PYYNIKIN

Brewery

Richard Croasdale

heads north to Tampere,

to witness a local

brewing revival

Once upon a time, the town

of Tampere was a hub of

brewing. The immaculate

water – universally agreed to be among

the purest in the world – resulted

in traditional beers of such quality

that the town was famed across the

region. But then prohibition struck,

and the few licensed breweries that

remained were picked off one by one,

by the international brewing giants

bent on creating a pan-European lager

hegemony (we know that side of the

story from cities around the world

though, so won’t go re-hash it here).

Then, in 2013, Tuomas Pere – a man

with beer in his blood, figuratively

and literally – decided he was fed up

of social work, and that the time was

right to put Tampere and Finland back

on the beery map.

“Beer has always been part of me,”

he explains. “I come from a Sahti

family, which is a very traditional

beer in Finland, older than any other

style in the world, and the recipes

have always been passed down

through families, usually from mother

to daughter. It’s strong and very

beautiful, using yeast like German

weizen yeast, but with no carbonation.

“My recipe is 400 years old, and

from my father’s side it’s at least 100

years old. My brother taught me when

I was 15. In around 2012, I wasn’t

happy in my job, and my wife found

that the brewing school was looking

for new students. I got in and learned

how to brew professionally, initially

perfecting our Sahti to give it a shelf

life of around 3-4 months.”

When he opened Pynnikin in 2013,

its annual production was around

35,000 litres. It was one of only

20 breweries in the whole country,

around half of which had effectively

fallen silent. Demand quickly

outstripped Tuomas’s ability to supply

from his small basement premises, so

he launched a crowdfunding campaign

to find something more suitable. “In

one day I got €35k. I mean, what the

fuck,” he laughs.

The current brewery is much more

appropriate, and has enabled Pyynikin

to become Finland’s fastest growing

brewery in three consecutive years.

This year’s production hit 2.25 million

litres, with demand still increasing

both domestically and internationally.

When I arrive to see the brewery for

myself, there’s a host of local bloggers

and press already waiting, cameras

and dictaphones poised to record

the moment. It’s not the reception I’m

used to, as a beer writer of dubious

repute, and I’m certainly not ready to

give an impromptu presentation on

the reasons for my visit, nor the staged

grinning handshake photos with

Tuomas. The reaction from my media

peers is unreadable – perhaps I should

have learned some Finnish for the

sake of appearances? – but they seem

satisfied when I trail haltingly into

awkward silence, so I can only assume

the job is done.

Thank God for beer, which is cold

and plentiful in the post-presentation

huddle, and I sink a half-litre of

Pyynikin’s Mosaic lager in about 30

seconds. This stuff is absolutely great;

long-time readers will know I’m not

usually a fan of Mosaic – which to

me usually tastes of pickled onion

Monster Munch – but this thirstquenching

brew is so crisp, with

spritzy notes of lemon zest and a

palpable grapefruit tingle on the sides

of my tongue. This is the first of four

cans I’ll consume over the next several

hours. I have no regrets.

Tuomas admits that his timing has

played a large part in the brewery’s

success. After a brief and unsuccessful

flurry of ‘new-wave’ Finnish breweries

in the early 90s, drinkers here had

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een saddled with pretty poor

domestic lagers, even as interest in

authentic, high quality produce had

steadily increased.

“My job at that time, after brewing,

was to go out and meet the shop

owners and markets and sit with them

with samples. The first six or seven

months, it really felt like we were

pushing at an open door. The hours

were long, but it felt like people had

been waiting for this, for someone to

reclaim Tampere’s brewing heritage.”

As something of a pioneer,

Pynnikin inevitably came up against

Finland’s licensing laws, which are

almost as restrictive as those of the

Scandinavian countries. Going against

the natural Finnish tendency to be “a

little shy and quiet” Tuomas set out

to challenge what he saw as one of

the biggest barriers to a successful

national craft scene.

“We were brave, because Finnish

alcohol laws are quite set; we were

like pirates fighting against the system!

The media are always asking for our

opinions, because they know we’ll

make a noise! Other breweries have

been a bit more careful.

“We’ve made some progress too.

Before, the maximum ABV you could

sell in the supermarkets was 4.7% and

now it’s 5%. We were a big part of

that; when the law was being debated,

I was getting text message updates

from a couple of politicians sitting in

Parliament. Also breweries couldn’t

sell beer straight from the brewery

before, which has also changed,

allowing us to have shops and

taprooms on-site.”

While “people will still buy an

IPA if you brew it” Tuomas says

consumers' tastes are becoming

more sophisticated in terms of trying

different styles. He also says the ABV

arms race – arguably an inevitable

consequence of the relaxation of

prohibition – is showing signs of

calming down, just as it has in the UK.

“Ironically, considering how hard we

all fought to have the limits raised, low

ABV beers are really trending at the

moment. It’s a good thing; people want

to have three or four good beers and

not go home drunk! We’re also seeing

a lot more women drinking beer and

embracing these lower strength beers

with more interesting flavours. That

trend has benefited us, because we

were early going into low-abv.”

Having covered the brewery history,

it’s time for a tour, and I’m impressed

by the scale of the operation. Around

30 people work just in this warren

of pipes and tanks now, and I’m

introduced to all of them.

But there’s one more surprise

waiting for me upstairs in the staff

area: a fully-equipped sauna with –

yes – its own beer fridge. The threetiered,

wood-panelled room has a tall

cylindrical stone heater in the centre,

and the air is heavy with sweet pine

resin. Taking my cues from my hosts,

I strip off, jump into the shower and

then take my place on a scalding hot

bench.

“The sauna is very important in

Finnish culture,” explains Tuomas.

“It’s a great leveller, and many deals

are done here; you’re all naked, with

nothing hidden. That sort of thing

encourages trust!”

With that, he empties his can of

Mosaic lager onto the coals, releasing

the most amazing baked malt aromas

and sending a plume of super-heated

lager into the space around my head. I

feel the pride of my nation is at stake

here, so sip my drink nonchalantly,

Richard with the founder of Pyynikin, Tuomas Pere (on the left)

ignoring the rivulets of sweat pouring

off my back, my swimming vision and

the pounding of blood in my ears.

In the end though, I snap and stand

unsteadily.

“Don’t shower,” advises Tuomas…

What? “You’ll lose the benefit if you

shower now. Grab a beer and go sit

on the fire escape instead.” I do as

instructed, and am soon installed on a

metal gantry overlooking the carpark,

necking a session IPA dressed only in

a skimpy towel. Not for the first time

in my Ferment career, I ponder the life

choices that have brought me here.

Again though, I have no regrets.

Right in the middle of Tampere,

Pyynikin’s Brewhouse is a beautiful,

traditional-looking wood-panelled

pub, serving amazing food and an

impressive range of beers from the

brewery itself and other stars of the

Finnish scene. It also has its own glassfronted

pico-brewery for experimental

pilot brews. It’s always great to see

a craft brewery with such a large,

prominent location, and so busy that

the owners can’t get a table on a

Tuesday night!

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LUMI BREWING

WORDS: Richard Croasdale

Lumi Brewing is tiny, and I say this having

seen quite a few tiny breweries. In terms

of its actual footprint, it’s not a lot bigger

than a large garage. What it does have though

is height, and the ingenious layout takes full

advantage of this fact, with kit stacked up

on top of the cold room, and racks of raw

ingredients perched above the miniscule,

wood-panelled brewhouse. I point this out only

to excuse my first, tactless question to head

brewer Greta: “This is cool. Where are you

brewing the 7,000 litres for Beer52?”

Astonishingly, the full order is being brewed

right here. This small but mighty brewery has

only been going for around 18 months, founded

last year by restauranteur Ryan Lumb and sous

chef (and avid homebrewer) Greta Mäkinen.

“Ryan and I had worked together for

years – he discovered craft beer through his

involvement in the Helsinki Tap,” says Greta.

But of course as soon as you’re involved in

that scene, you immediately want your own

brewery. He knew I brewed, so we started

talking and this space came up – it had been

Greta Mäkinen

used by another craft brewery that was moving

to much bigger premises – so it all happened

quite quickly in the end!”

As a Brit, Ryan opted for quite a traditional,

English-style brewkit, complete with woodpanelled

sides. Style-wise though, Lumi is more

American, with nods to German technical

values and a dash of their own creative flair.

“We never set out to brew English styles,

because they just don’t sell here. We’re chefs,

so we always think in terms of what flavour

combinations will work. For example, we just

made a cherry gose based on a tart tatin with

cherries and allspice that Ryan baked when

he was a chef. So you have all these memories

of what you cooked and what worked, and you

can feed those into beer recipe creation.

“We also like traditional flavours of course.

There are some beer styles you’re not

supposed to go and ruin. German Pilsner is the

best thing in the world, so I’m not going to ruin

it by adding fruit or something. Some things

are best left alone.”

Greta is proud of Finland’s relatively

young brewing scene, and the roughly 100

breweries that have sprung up here over the

past few years. She acknowledges that it’s

somewhat less mature than the better-known

craft countries around it – Sweden, Denmark,

Estonia – but is confident it’s on a fast-track to

become one of the great brewing nations.

“Trendy, weird stuff is what sells here in

Helsinki. People want beers that are sour, with

fruit berries, spices and anything that’s hazy.

Like everywhere else, what we’ve had for such

a long time is bad bulk lager, and drinkers here

are in the phase of wanting to get as far from

that as possible. Assuming we follow what’s

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happened in other countries, people’s tastes

will become more sophisticated and they’ll

appreciate a wider range of styles over time.

“In terms of the future though, I’d personally

like to go to a fine dining restaurant and get

a beer menu with my 10-course food tasting

menu. That would be fantastic!”

Since the Beer52 order is reaching the end

of its fermentation while I’m there, we stop

to sample a couple straight from the tank.

Go West is a classic west coast IPA, and an

excellent example of style, with a real bitter

snap and tasty but subdued malt. Its name

apparently was informed by the fact that,

seconds after deciding they should brew

something in this style, the classic Pet Shop

Boys tune started playing on the radio. “I want

to do a big imperial stout called ‘it’s a sin’

next,” says Greta with a grin.

There’s also a freshly canned Queens

of The Sour Age to try, named after the

traditional Finnish ‘Queen’s Jam’, made from

Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries.

“This is a very traditional thing here,” explains

Greta. “You eat it with pancakes. It was funny,

because as soon as we first did this, all the

local breweries did their own queen’s jam sour.

Jesus Christ!”

I’m relieved to hear Lumi is planning to

expand, albeit in a fairly modest way; the

next-door unit will soon be vacant, allowing

Greta and Ryan to knock through. They’ll

need the extra space too – a great year of

collaborations has helped get Lumi’s name

heard across the region and beyond. It’s

already exporting to Sweden, and hopes

working with Beer52 will drum up an appetite

among UK drinkers.

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BEER

TO MAKU

SMILE

WORDS:

Richard Croasdale

I'm already late for my meeting with

Maku Brewing, but have decided

to blame Pyynikin entirely. Having

missed the last train from Tampere,

I ended up sleeping 100km away

from my hotel, on the couch of the

brewery’s international sales manager.

I think I may also have broken my

hand while running for the bus, which

is going to make photography rather

difficult. Fortunately, Maku’s newlypromoted

CEO, Ville Makkonon is

waiting at the train station to collect

me, with a huge smile on his face.

Apparently, news of my big night out

in Tampere has travelled fast, so he’s

full of sympathy and keen to show me

around.

Maku is just north of Helsinki, in

the town of Tuusula, and was founded

in 2014 by the “original five”. The

way Ville tells it, this core group

was something of a dream team,

assembled by former IT workers Jussi

Tamminen and Juhani Repo, after they

decided to open their own brewery

while working together in Ireland.

“Jussi and Juhani met when they

were both sent to Ireland with a bunch

of colleagues from IBM,” he explains.

“Naturally, they started drinking there,

fell in love with beer, and the idea

was born! When their time in Ireland

was over, Jussi decided to travel the

world for a year, talking to brewers,

trying different styles and learning

what made a successful brewery. His

main conclusion was that there is a

Maku core group was

something of a dream

team, assembled by

former IT workers

global community of people who are

as passionate about beer as he is, and

that passion and determination are

the two most important ingredients, as

long as you can surround yourself with

the right people.”

When he returned to Finland, Jussi

and Juhani took everything they had

learned and started collecting other

people from fields including marketing

and sales, so they’d have all the skills

they needed as soon as they launched

their first beer in 2014.

Brewing-wise, Ville is proud to say

Maku has never chased the more

extreme fringes of the craft beer

world, opting instead to focus on

easy-drinking, well-balanced beers,

brewed to the highest standard

possible. The line-up therefore mostly

consists of pale ales and pilsners, with

the occasional easy-drinking saison

thrown in for variety. Recipe creation

remains in the hands of founder

Juhani, with fellow brewer Jani

sometimes pitching in.

There are a few surprises for the

eagle-eyed observer though, including

stout-filled bourbon barrels on a high

shelf, and even a handful of casks

in the storage and shipping area. I

can’t resist asking Ville about the

latter. “Ah, yes,” he replies. “They're

not actually Real Ale but something

similar. There's a few pumps in

Helsinki, maybe six bars with cask

pumps. It's not the craft crowd though

- it's mostly older, more conservative

drinkers, but we love brewing it!”

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MAKU BREWING

Jani, showing us the way to the beach

From left: Ville, Ari and Jussi

Maku’s no-nonsense approach is

also reflected in the branding, which

shuns “wild craft beer names that tell

you nothing about what’s in the can”.

Even the line art that adorns every

label features a variety of simple yet

familiar scenes of friends having fun

– “the places where the beer always

‘Maku’ is Finnish for

‘taste’ – this brewery

is nothing if not

to-the-point

tastes best,” as Ville puts it.

It should come as no surprise that

‘Maku’ is Finnish for ‘taste’ – this

brewery is nothing if not to-the-point –

and it seems to have worked out well so

far. After several rounds of investment,

in which Maku has accumulated some

300 shareholders, it has expanded

from its original industrial unit to

occupy the two neighbouring halls,

making space for extra fermentation

vessels, a top-end canning line and,

yes, even a staff sauna.

Maku has been around long

enough to see considerable change in

the market here, and Ville is excited

about the direction in which things

are heading.

“There's a growing realisation

that we maybe don't need the state

monopoly retailer any more,” he says.

“It created this perception that beer

equaled mass-produced lager, and

that became the culture. Craft came

along and is very quickly changing

how we think about beer and,

importantly, our relationship with

alcohol generally.

“So there’s more space opening

up for beer in the stores, more

competing products on the shelves.

It’s only just started to bite, but

already the big breweries are feeling

it and changing their behaviour by

coming out with their own ales. To

be honest, that’s really good news

for everyone, because it helps get

the message out that beer is not

just lager, so drinkers become more

adventurous and aware. At the start

of the 20th century there was a

brewery in every village and I think

we're going in that direction again.”

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One for

the

Road

EXCLUSIVE

Our podcast is now live!

This month, take your enjoyment of the Helsinki x Tallinn box to the

next level, with behind-the-scenes gossip from Richard’s trip to Finland.

Find out what makes the Baltic craft beer culture so exciting, with bar

and brewery recommendations, suggestions for more beery exploration

and unmissable knowledge to impress your friends.

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innish M

Metal is for Everyone

M

y name is Bryce, and I bloody love metal

music. It’s always been there for me, from

humble beginnings as a child listening to

Metallica, to a fully-grown adult branching out into

bands whose lyrics I don’t even understand; half of

the time because they’re not in my language, half

of the time because they’re uttered in a guttural

growl… and sometimes both! Metal is ever-present

in my life, but it’s more than just music, it can

actually come in handy.

For example, jump on a treadmill and stick on, oh,

I don’t know, Katy Perry? Sure, you’ll maybe have a

good jog, break a light sweat, but you won’t go home

fulfilled that you’ve broken any land speed records.

Now, switch to Dragonforce’s “Through the Fire

and Flames” - hey presto, YOU CAN NOW RUN

WORDS: Bryce Kitcher

100MPH*. The intense combination of Herman

Li’s anomalously speedy guitar riffs and Dave

Mackintosh’s banging drums is enough to put a

spark into anyone’s workout.

* information lacking verification

Metal isn’t all about fist-clenching and work-out

boosting, though. In quite the contrast to the gym

analogy, studies have confirmed that metal is also

the perfect genre to chill out to. A study by the

University of Queensland in Australia in 2015 has

shown that metal music makes you calmer, not

angrier as some would assume. So not only does it

boost your workouts, but you can also meditate to it

(probably).

It truly is a transcendental genre of music. And

where does a high percentage of the world’s metal

music come from? Just look at the theme of the

mag: it’s Finland.

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that Finland has

the highest ratio of people-to-metal-bands out of

any country in the world?

That’s not just a stat I pulled out of my jet-black

Ibanez, it’s true. As per Encyclopedia Metallum’s

research to find the most metal country in the

world, Finland was deemed as the winner, with 53.5

metal bands per 100,000 people. That means that,

if you live in Finland, there’s a pretty decent chance

you’ve crossed paths with many of metal’s finest, just

by living your normal day-to-day. The taxi driver

who picked you up from Helsinki airport? Their

band’s metal EP is playing from their radio. The

grocery store worker who scans your bread? They’re

mad for the metal. The lovely little grandmother

knitting a sweater for an extra cold Finnish winter?

You’d best believe she’s knitting in time with some

complex prog-metal.

It’s something that’s not too surprising when you

think about just how many widely-known metal

Lordi at the Grand Final of Eurovision 2006

bands originate from this frosty land. Finland by

no means have invented metal, after all (the answer

to that can range anywhere from The Beatles, to

Steppenwolf, to Iron Maiden, depending on who

you ask), but they are undeniably highly influential

in giving the world some of it’s most talked about

metal bands.

Here’s an example that will fit in well with a timehonoured

tradition in British culture… ever heard of

Lordi?

No?

How about that band who won Eurovision

wearing those outrageous costumes?

Yeah, still probably not specific enough…

… how about the METAL BAND who WON

EUROVISION dressed as BLOODY MONSTERS?!?

That’s Lordi. They’re bloody excellent, and

excellently Finnish. Long before people were

confusing them for a Kiwi pop-singer, Lordi were

dominating the world’s metal scene from their

hometown of Rovaniemi. 37.5% of households

in Britain watched them win the prestigious

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METAL IS FOR EVERYONE

competition in 2006, and since then Lordi have

been helping propel Finland into metal playlists

all over the world, with help from hugely popular

bands like Turisas, Nightwish and HIM.

Many say it all started with Children of Bodom

(best not look into that name), though. In 1997,

the Espoo-based death metal band released their

critically acclaimed debut album Something Wild,

featuring lead single Deadnight Warrior of which’s

video depicted the band playing their song outside

in the Finnish snow, with temperatures reaching

as low as minus fifteen degrees celsius. The album

rocketed to the very top of the Finnish music charts

and paved the way for many of the bands already

mentioned in this article.

The rise of Bodom and the Finnish metal scene

has prompted people all over the world to learn as

much as they can about the nation itself. Bodom

themselves appeal to the mass-market by writing

their lyrics in English, but there are many Finnish

bands who have become popular by simply singing

in their native tongue. In fact, 97% of students at

the University of Vienna said in 2013 that they are

taking Finnish language classes as a means to better

appreciate their favourite bands, which is nothing

short of marvellous dedication. Another “tick” in the

box of metal: it’s also very educational.

Now, onto my favourite style of metal. Finland

is regarded as a country who helped popularise

the beloved sub-genre “folk-metal,” which fuses

folk instruments like accordions, hurdy-gurdys and

violins into the unfamiliar surroundings of drop-C

tunings and pumping double-bass pedals.

With the folk fusion comes folk-styled lyrical

influences meaning that, quite often, bands will

sing about the love for fermented beverages! One

of the most popular folk-metal bands Korpiklaani

- meaning “The Backwoods Clan” in English -

celebrated their love of our favourite beverage

earlier this year. “Beer Beer” (feat. Scotland’s own

Christopher Bowes from Alestorm) is an anthem

that’ll make your head bop, and the lyrics are

nothing short of a work of art:

“Beer, beer

I want beer

from beer I get really drunk.

Beer, beer

I need more beer

so much I pass out.”

Yes, there are plenty of Finnish bands who will

lead their fans to yell ancient war cries and throw

themselves at each other in the name of metal.

However, metal isn’t just for those of us large

enough and brave enough to enter the feared “wall

of death” slam-dance seen at many metal gigs. The

band Hevisaurus prove this by catering their style of

metal specifically to Finnish children. They complete

their act by performing all shows dressed as

friendly power-metal-loving dinosaurs (get it? Heavy

Saurus?) and honestly, there are few things more

bizarrely wholesome. The video to their timeless

classic “Juranoid” is something to be seen, believe

me.

Anyway, if that doesn’t prove that metal is for

everyone, I don’t know what does. So my advice is

to raise a glass in one hand, a “devil horns” hand

gesture in the other, and treat yourself to some

calming, motivating, educational Finnish metal.

It’ll make the enjoyment of this month’s box far

more authentic!

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NEWCASTLE

CITY GUIDE

WORDS: Siobhan Hewison

are lined with old photos showing off

the region’s ship-building past. Popular

with real-ale lovers and CAMRA

members, it’s also a great spot for

local and national craft beers on keg,

and obviously it’s a must-visit if you’re

interested in social history. It’s also

centrally situated so is perfect for a

visit pre/post-cultural entertainment.

Welcome to my hometown. It’s

beautiful, you’re going to love it. I

always have fun writing city guides

for Ferment because I have severe

wanderlust, but it has been a bit of a

struggle to write this one, since there

are dozens upon dozens of places I

would recommend. It’s not all nights

out in the cold with no jacket. I’ve given

it my best shot without going massively

overboard and therefore pissing

Richard (magazine editor) off, but if you

want more suggestions, do get in touch

on social media — @britishbeergirl

PUBS AND BARS

BRIDGE TAVERN

7 Akenside Hill, NE1 3UF

This industrial-style pub is a firm

favourite with locals — they have their

own microbrewery on-site, visible

towards the back of the pub; their food

menu is an impressive blend of comfort

food and fine dining; you’ll have to

fight for a seat on the terrace upstairs

if it’s sunny and/or the weekend; and

the atmosphere is cosy thanks to

bookshelf-lined walls, low lighting,

and a mix of sofas, tall stools, short

tables and booth seating. Go for their

own selection of cask beer, brewed in

association with Wylam Brewery, and

stay for the guest beers.

CROWN POSADA

31 Side, NE1 3JE

The Crown Posada is a gorgeous pub,

famous for its grand architectural style

and the fact that it’s one of the area’s

first ever pubs, but also because of

the fantastic array of real ales. It’s in

a Grade II listed building with a lot

of its historic charm still thoughtfully

present, and there’s even a working

1940s vinyl gramophone. Settle in for

the afternoon with a pint of local cask

beer and a good book — you won’t

regret it.

MEAN-EYED CAT

1 St Thomas’ St, NE1 4LE

This cute little micropub is almost easy

to miss — It’s tucked just off one of

the city centre’s busy streets, and has

a very unassuming panelled exterior.

Some woman on TripAdvisor rated it

2/5 - “not pleasant” but I would have

to whole-heartedly disagree. It’s a

quirkily-decorated small space, but it’s

a beer-lovers dream, and I’d argue that

it’s one of the best spots in Newcastle,

both for its beer (six cask offerings

and eight keg), and for its cuban

empanadas provided by Cubanos

Street Food. Don’t make me start a

catfight with you, TripAdvisor Stranger

*shows claws*.

TOWN MOUSE

11 St Mary’s Pl, NE1 7PG

The Town Mouse is a very cute

basement micropub, to the north of the

city centre. Lauded by CAMRA since

they opened two and a half years ago,

it’s easy to see why — with two rooms

and an excellent selection of brews

from breweries near and far, plus a

comfortable, friendly atmosphere,

passionate bar staff, and beer-centred

decor (think hop vines on the ceiling

beams, and old pump clips and labels

decorating the walls), this is a beerlovers

home.

VICTORIA COMET

38 Neville St, NE1 5DF

If you’re just getting off the train,

the Victoria Comet is one of the first

pubs you’ll encounter (and you might

recognise it from the film Get Carter

starring Michael Caine). This is a quirky,

affordable pub, with a wide selection of

drinks and food, a good range of cask

and beers, and a friendly, jolly vibe. And

obviously a great first-stop on any pub

crawl beginning at Central Station!

FORTH HOTEL

Pink Ln, NE1 5DW

Tucked away on a small side-street

near the train station sits the Forth

VICTORIA COMET

Hotel, which last year underwent

an extensive makeover, and is now

tastefully decorated with modern

touches contrasting with bare brick

and historic features of the venue.

This lovely pub is also now way more

spacious, so there’s more room to

enjoy their great line-up of beers

and their new pub grub menu (I am

drooling at the chicken and burger

options as I type this).

BACCHUS

42-48 High Bridge, NE1 6BX

An homage to the local shipping

heritage, this eccentric boozer has

an “ocean liner theme” and the walls

FREE TRADE INN

12 St Lawrence Rd, NE6 1AP

This charming and kinda dive-baresque

venue is a firm favourite of

Newcastle’s craft beer lovers — it

boasts a massive 12 lines of keg and

nine hand pumps (local, national and

worldwide breweries), regular food

pop-ups, a plethora of bottles and

cans, ciders, and one of the best beer

gardens in the city with waterside

views over to the bridges and the

Newcastle/Gateshead quaysides. You

can’t miss this place out of any NE

England beer venture!

BREWERIES

WYLAM

Palace of Arts Exhibition Park,

Claremont Rd, NE2 4PZ

Being one of North East England’s

brewing powerhouses, Wylam

probably needs no introduction, but

I have to write one anyway. Beloved

among craft beer hipsters and real

ale enthusiasts, Wylam is almost 20

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NEWCASTLE CITY GUIDE

FORTH HOTEL

CROWN POSADA

BLACKFRIARS

DABBAWAL, HIGH BRIDGE

years old and has become one of the

country’s most popular breweries.

Based in Exhibition Park’s Palace of

Arts, their Tap Room is one of the city’s

most popular watering holes, and the

Grand Hall is one of the north’s premier

event spaces.

ERRANT

Arch 19, NE1 3PG

Brewing a nice mix of classic British

beers and crafty juicy IPAs, Errant

is fast making its mark in the North

East England brewing scene. Not

least because of the wacky popculture-focused

names for its beers

(Cultivating Mass, Books from Boxes,

and Werewolves Not Swearwolves, to

name but a few), and the thoroughly

eye-catching designs. It’s also got a

pretty neat home, tucked away in an old

Victorian railway arch in the city centre,

and the brewery’s taproom is open on

the last Saturday of the month.

ANARCHY

Benfield Business Park, Unit A1,

Benfield Rd, NE6 4NQ

I first encountered Anarchy a few years

ago when our rental car broke down

near a pub outside Morpeth on our way

down south. Luckily the pub had a great

beer selection, and I got to drink copious

amounts of Anarchy’s brown ale while we

waited. It’s grown rapidly since beginning

in 2012 and has become legendary for

both its exciting, flavour-packed brews,

and the fun and varied taproom events

on weekends. Plus, in this beer-lover’s

humble opinion, Anarchy has some of the

most awesome artwork to be found on a

beer label.

TYNE BANK

375 Walker Rd, NE6 2AB

If I could describe this award-winning

brewery in one word, it would be this —

*swoon*. But I think I have to write a bit

more, so here goes. Glorious classic ales,

brewed in the hip Ouseburn area, with

an industrial-style taproom which hosts

events from gigs and quizzes to food popups

and craft markets. Did I mention the

taproom has 16 keg and eight cask lines?

Oh, and they’re kid and dog friendly. Oh

and also, the brewery in general is super

eco-friendly. Yay!

ALMASTY

Unit 11, Algernon Industrial Estate,

NE27 0NB

Almasty, based near the coast of

Newcastle upon Tyne, makes delicious,

unpretentious beer, and doesn’t have a

core range, to enable the brewers to make

the most of seasonal ingredients. You

might recognise these guys for their cute

wooden pump-clips with little trees, which

are both unassuming and yet visually

rather striking. On another nice note: I

had to google what ‘almasty’ means, and

apparently it’s one of the many names

given to a bipedal creature called the Alma

which is thought to inhabit the Tibetan

mountains and forests. Isn’t that lovely?

FOOD

BLACKFRIARS

Friars St, NE1 4XN

This stunning venue could have gone in

a few of our city guide categories, since

it covers pubs and bars, food places,

and things to do. It’s a 13th century

marvel located in an old refectory,

and one of the most unique places

you could ever spend an evening —

former uses include accommodation

for King Henry III, and a monastery

for Dominican Friars. Their restaurant

space is said to be the oldest dining

room in the country, and the food

menu is as grand and sumptuous

as Blackfriars itself, showcasing

local seasonal produce in the form

of traditional British cuisine. If that

wasn’t enough, you can even attend

a Medieval banquet in their stunning

Banquet Hall, and they have a regular

programme of tasting evenings in their

Tasting Room.

BY THE RIVER

Hillgate Quays, Gateshead NE8 2FD

Run by some of the guys behind Wylam

Brewery, this new quayside spot under

the Tyne Bridge (that view… *swoon*) is

a collection of old shipping containers

that have been repurposed to include a

microbrewery and bar, Träkol restaurant

which serves up spectacular charcoalgrilled

food that acclaimed food critic

Jay Rayner dubbed “outrageously good”,

and on the weekends, the rest of the

containers transform into a street foodlover’s

paradise. HWKRMRKT showcases

the finest local indy food vendors, and

have a mix of traders in residence and

rotating guests. By The River is perfect for

a refined evening with friends, or a lazy

munchy Friday night with a big group of

pals. And best of all, the beer is awesome.

COOP CHICKEN HOUSE

25 Collingwood St, NE1 1JE

Chicken, cooked over a firepit, served

with a huge selection of sauces (which

take up half their menu and come

served as ‘shots’). Seriously, what more

could you want? Get a whole chicken

and share with friends (or with yourself,

we won’t judge), or go along for their

all-you-can-eat wings on Sundays, and

wash down dat spicy goodness with a

cold beer. Bliss.

DABBAWAL

69-75 High Bridge, NE1 6BX

1 Brentwood Ave, NE2 3DH

Purveyors of authentic Indian street food

for over a decade, Dabbawal now have

two restaurants — one in the city centre,

and one in the trendy suburb of Jesmond.

With an extensive mix of small plates

and big eats (including lots of vegetarian

options), and decor which is just as

vibrant and colourful as their dishes,

this is one dining experience you don’t

want to pass up when in Newcastle! Best

enjoyed with a group of friends, where

you can get ‘one of everything’ and share.

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QUILLIAM BROTHERS

Claremont Buildings, 1 Eldon Place,

NE1 7RD

100 different kinds of loose-leaf tea

from Hungary. Stripped-back decor,

mismatched furniture and cushions on

the floor. House-baked sweet treats.

Tasty toasties, soups, sandwiches and

sharing platters. Art installations. A tiny

downstairs cinema showing cult classics

a few evenings a week. A closing time

of 11pm, for those who want an evening

out with nice drinks but don’t want to

imbibe the hard stuff. This is total hipster

heaven but it’s really just so very lovely

and cosy.

WHAT TO DO

IN NEWCASTLE

SEE SOME LIVE THEATRE

Newcastle is rife with places to see the

latest big-budget productions, and the

best independent locally-produced

shows. The Live Theatre, Northern Stage,

Theatre Royal, and Tyne Theatre in the

city centre are just a few of the mostloved

spots, and there’s the People’s

Theatre (this gal performed there in a

school production once… #HumbleBrag),

the Gosforth Civic Centre, Tynemouth

Priory, and a whole host of other

venues across the region’s different

districts. There are 22 different venues

in total making up the official Newcastle

Gateshead Cultural Venues — the city

has an excellent reputation in terms of

the arts, so there’s never any shortage of

things to see.

SHOP INDEPENDENT

The High Bride area is replete with

vintage shops and record stores. The

Grainger Market, within a Grade I listed

building, is almost two centuries old,

and houses dozens of independent

stalls, bazaars, fashion boutiques,

butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers

(probably) and eateries. Stack is full of

quirky retailers including bars, coffee

shops, restaurants, ethical clothing

vendors, gift shops, a beer shop, and

even a yoga studio. While Newcastle

is known for its nightlife, it is also

a mecca for shoppers — the places

I’ve mentioned are just the tip of the

iceberg.

QUILLIAM BROTHERS

VISIT UNIQUE HISTORIC

BUILDINGS

Where to even start with this one?

Obviously there’s Newcastle’s eponymous

castle, but this is a city steeped in history,

so there’s way more to see. The Norman

castle’s Keep, Black Gate and stairs are still

pretty impressive all these years later; the

Lit & Phil is the largest library outside of

London, and is absolutely gorgeous inside;

the Holy Jesus hospital has been serving

the community in one way or another for

700+ years, and even though it’s now office

space you can see a lot of original features

in its facade; Morden Tower is a Grade I

listed ancient monument dating back to

the mid-1200s, which has welcomed poets

and creatives for readings (including many

big names such as Ted Hughes, Allen

Ginsberg and John Byrne) since its lease

by the Pickards in the 60s. Quite simply,

just walk around the city and you’ll be met

with an abundance of cool local history.

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THE TOWN MOUSE ALEHOUSE

11 St Mary’s Pl,

Newcastle, NE1 7PG

MEMBERS’

WORDS: Siobhan Hewison

As everybody settled in to our

cosy corner of Newcastle’s Town

Mouse pub for this month’s

bottle share, I was excited to welcome

our lucky drinkers with a third of Two

by Two’s juicy, full-bodied NZ IPA on

cask. As an Edinburgh resident I am

always delighted when I spot a Two by

Two beer in a pub near me since they’ve

always been outstanding, so a wee jaunt

to Newcastle was inevitably going to

be a positive thing, since Two by Two

are based just outside of Newcastle city

centre. When I asked what everyone

else thought of it, I was met with

enthusiastic praise for the beer — craft

beer lover Jake even said it was “lifechangingly

good” which is a compliment

if I’ve ever heard one! Out of our group

of 11 (or 13 if you include me and Jon,

proprietor of the Town Mouse, who

joined us for the evening), there were a

few who generally didn’t like beer but

came along out of interest. Monica, who

was sipping on a G&T when I got to the

venue, actually really liked the NZ IPA

— I pointed out that it was maybe the

bitterness and slight sweetness that she

enjoyed, since those are characteristics

also present in gin.

BOTTLE SHARE

Our second beer of the night was

Hacker-Pschorr’s official Oktoberfest

Märzen, a lovely golden/amber beer,

with a load of biscuit and toffee

maltiness on the nose and in the taste.

I note that when I was picking this beer

out from the huge range of Oktoberfest

beers in local bottle shop Mmm…and

glug…, it was between this and about

five others, but this beer had a fun

swing-top cap, so here we are. I’m so

glad I chose this one — it was enjoyed

by most, even by Eva-Marie who doesn’t

tend to like beer, because this one is

“not hoppy, and it’s quite sweet”. Marta

comments that it’s not something she

would usually pick because she prefers

lighter beers like lagers, and the smell

put her off, but after tasting it she

actually really likes it (and she ended

up choosing it as one of her top beers

of the evening, alongside table-buddy

Christopher). Joe and Ben had similar

comments — the smell was questionable,

but “the more you drink it, the nicer

it gets” so I’m counting this one as a

success!

Next up, purchased from Beer Box in

the city centre, we had a rhubarb saison

by Allendale Brewery, another personal

favourite brewery (apparently a lot of

my favourite breweries are North East

England-based…??), in collaboration

with Northumberland-based First &

Last brewery. I love the sharpness and

sweetness that rhubarb brings to beer, and

saison is one of my favourite styles, so I was

thrilled to share this beer with the group

and hear their thoughts. Unfortunately,

Danny thought I said it was a ‘dry cider’ and

was very disappointed with the results. But,

once he realised it was a fruited saison, he

was much happier with the beer — “now I

know what I’m drinking, I’m really enjoying

it!” Everyone seemed to love this one, and

Eva-Marie later crowned it her favourite

beer of the evening.

The fourth beer was another one

from the Town Mouse’s draught list — a

collaboration brew from Errant and

BrewDog Newcastle called Ocular

Patdown. This dry stout slightly divided

opinion with the group. Monica gave her

measure to her partner Jake, who was

more than happy to ‘help’, but I also heard

lots of ‘mmm’s and ‘aaah’s. I advised the

group to notice how the flavours change

as the beer warms up — the roasty toasty

notes from the malt become more

prominent, giving more depth of flavour

(which Christopher appreciated, leading

him to pick this one as his top beer of

the evening). Guinness-lover Ben didn’t

like it, saying it was just a bit too much in

the way of chocolate and coffee flavours,

and Joe and Tom thought it was actually

better when it was colder because it was

more drinkable that way. Emma doesn’t

like stouts, but she thought this was

“outstanding”. This was also Marta’s first

EVER stout, and she was surprised by

how much she didn’t hate it, which I’m

personally classing as an achievement.

My last beer of the evening, also bought

at Beer Box, was Birmingham’s Dig Brew

Co and Ireland’s Lough Hill’s 7.3% pecan

and salted caramel ice cream stout, called

Next Year Rodney — a good segue and

stark contrast from the previous beer,

while still being the same style. Jake’s first

sip was met with an enthusiastic/raunchy

“ooh hello!”, and Emma (who doesn’t like

stouts) thought it might be her favourite

beer of the evening. After a few chuckles

from folk at the table, Emma realises that

she actually really does like stouts — a

revelation which I am proud to have had

happen at an event I’m hosting! About half

the group enjoyed the beer but thought

just one third was enough; however, Eva-

Marie enthusiastically proclaimed that she

could drink “pints and pints” of this.

Jon then cracked open, as a surprise

for everyone, a delicious DIPA from

local guys Errant and Stu Brew called

Claremont Road. We all chatted and

sipped and enjoyed each other’s

company, and it was a great way to end

the night. It was a thoroughly lovely

evening, where everyone got along

really comfortably, and some even left

exchanging social media usernames. I

love how beer can bring people together

— it’s so easy to strike up conversation,

and even if you have different tastes,

there’s always some fun or interesting

anecdote to share with those sitting

next to you at the pub.

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THE TOWN MOUSE

Winner CAMRA Newcastle

Pub of the Year 2019

townmousealehouse.co.uk

B1318

Great North

Museum

A1058

Royal

Victoria

Infirmary

Newcastle

University

Civic

Centre

Northumbria

University

Newcastle

City Campus

A167M

Town Mouse

Newcastle Beer

& Cider Festival

B1307

Eldon Square

Grey’s Monument

Laing Art Gallery

A193

Theatre Royal

@the_town_mouse @townmousencl @townmousealehouse

Basement 11 St Mary’s Place NE1 7PG

38 FERMENT MAGAZINE

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A

glass of beer can be many things. It

might comfort, refresh, or lubricate

awkward situations. It can speak

to the skill of its maker, the personality

of its curator. It has the chameleon-like

ability to pique a joyous moment or

abet an episode of sullen escape.

In short, it’s easy to get romantic

about the pint in your hand.

But that protein-heavy haze in your

favourite IPA obscures a side to brewing

which most of us - outside of the

900,000 or so employed in the UK’s

beer and pubs sector - are unlikely to

Robin Eveleigh investigates accusations that craft brewers

need to get serious about safety

ever encounter. It’s a world of chemical

burns, confined spaces, noxious fumes,

broken bones and stitched wounds. In

rare, tragic cases, these dangers prove

fatal.

A video posted to Facebook and

Twitter by Newport’s Tiny Rebel a few

weeks back brought brewery safety

sharply into focus.

The 21-second clip showed a huge

mash tun - a vessel which in your typical

production brewery contains thousands

of litres of sugary grain porridge at

70-degrees celsius - spewing hot,

steaming, sticky wort from a manway.

Brewery workers wearing high viz but

little in the way of protective clothing

stood watching in seemingly perilous

proximity. Tiny Rebel captioned the

post: “When the mash tun pump fails

and you don’t have a back-up." Context

is of course everything, particularly on

Twitter, but it certainly didn't look great.

Critics - including brewers who

have been on the receiving end of

scalding wort spills - responded

with scorn, branding the stunt

“moronic”, “terrifyingly irresponsible”,

“complacent” and “absolutely reckless”.

Beyond the Twitter storm though, it

begged the wider question - does craft

brewing have a safety problem?

A glance through the history

books courtesy of bloggers Boak and

Bailey provides a macabre insight

into some of the historical perils of

#YeOldeBrewerylife.

Their ‘Brewhouse Death Trip’ post

is a grim compilation of obituaries

recounting tales of workers drowned

in vats, crushed by machinery, and

overcome with poisonous gases. There

are explosions, electrocutions, deadly

trap door falls and fatal scaldings.

In the famed London Beer Flood

of 1814, two giant vats ruptured and

sent a 15-foot tidal wave of porter

raging through neighbouring streets,

demolishing buildings and deluging

cellars. Eight members of the public

were killed and three workers were

pulled, injured, from the remains of the

Horse Shoe Brewery’s collapsed rear

wall.

In the modern brewery, the dangers

are no less real, nor any less deadly.

In 2006, technician Stewart Klincke

died when he was overcome by carbon

dioxide fumes at the Heineken-owned

Scottish Courage brewery in Reading.

The firm was later cleared of health and

safety breaches.

At JW Lees’ Greengate Brewery

in Manchester in 2014, a 30-yearold

driver was killed falling into a

delivery tanker. Two years later,

twenty-two workers were hospitalised

and contractor David Chandler died

in an ammonia leak at Carlsberg’s

Northamptonshire plant. An inquest

into Mr Chandler’s death found

the incident was “accidental but

preventable” and a Health and Safety

Executive (HSE) probe was ongoing as

Ferment went to press.

Does craft brewing have

a safety problem?

But it’s the rapid expansion in

Britain’s craft sector which some old

hands say gives cause for concern. The

craft beer boom has spawned almost a

thousand new breweries in the last five

years, and the Society of Independent

Brewers’ (SIBA) latest annual report

estimates indies will generate almost

900 new jobs this year alone. Inside of

a decade, we’ve seen hobby brewers

catapulted from cooking up 40-pint

batches in garden sheds and back

rooms of pubs to helming huge plants

with scores of employees pushing out

thousands of litres at a time.

We asked David Smith of York-based

consultancy Brewing Services whether

workplace smarts are keeping up with

the galloping pace, and his response

was unequivocal: health and safety has

been left behind in the rush.

Newport's Tiny Rebel

“The industry has a problem - and

not only in health and safety,” he says.

“It's in every aspect of craft brewing.

We are dealing with enthusiastic

amateurs who quite frankly shouldn't be

anywhere near a mash tun, or anything

else, because they've had absolutely

zero training and have no idea about

brewing health and safety.

“I've been working in microbrewing

for thirty years. Things are worse now

than they’ve ever been. There aren’t

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TROUBLE BREWING

enough skills and qualifications to go

around - it’s literally the blind leading

the blind.”

In the UK, safe work practices are

governed by the Health and Safety at

Work Act. In simple terms, employers

have to protect staff from work injury

and illness. Failure to comply can lead

to action by a local authority or the

HSE, and workers can also sue under

civil law.

We have a duty of care to

each other to make things

as safe as possible

A 2009 HSE study identified brewery

work as the riskiest in the drinks sector,

where the main perils include slips and

trips, carrying heavy loads such as casks

and sacks of grain, falls from height,

and exposure to hot liquids or corrosive

cleaning chemicals. Working in

confined spaces - and yes, that includes

that time-honoured collaboration brew

photo opportunity of digging out the

mash tun - and operating pressurised

vessels also contribute to the risky

business of brewing.

Employers have a legal obligation to

report any serious accidents to the HSE,

and data shows non-fatal injuries in

beverage manufacture have been on the

rise since 2015, from 253 per annum, to

264. The true figure is likely to be much

higher, however, as the watchdog warns

injuries are massively under-reported.

The HSE also carries out random spot

checks - but counsels that its inspection

programme prioritises hazardous

industries, or sectors with a proven

poor health and safety record – and its

website details every action taken to

enforce health and safety legislation.

As recently as September, for example,

Harvey’s brewery in Lewes, East Sussex,

was served an ‘improvement notice’ for

defective guarding on machinery. In

July, Brewdog was similarly censured

for charging hydrogen-releasing

batteries close to ignition sources. And

in 2017, Buxton was slapped with an

‘immediate prohibition notice’ after

inspectors discovered brewery workers

risked a dangerous tumble into the

mash tun.

In extreme cases, the HSE will

prosecute, and in the Crown Court

safety breaches carry a maximum

penalty of two years in prison or an

unlimited fine. Shepherd Neame was

fined £10k in 2015 after a worker lost a

finger. The same year, Herefordshire’s

Wye Valley had to forfeit £20k after an

employee suffered a broken foot while

cleaning a mash tun.

Even so, Kevin Mutch, another

industry consultant who has helped

school students at Nottingham

University’s International Centre for

Brewing Science in all matters health

and safety, fears the trade is “basically

unregulated.”

“I must have had contact with around

200 small breweries, and the HSE has

never been near any of them,” he says.

“We’ve seen lots of small operations

started up by home brewers making

a business out of their hobby.

Competition is fierce at the moment,

and health and safety is the last thing

on their minds - they just plough on,

thinking they’ll get away with it. I'm all

for their enthusiasm but the bottom line

is, you have to produce your product

safely.”

Trawling through hundreds of

comments about mishaps on a popular

Facebook group for beer professionals,

Ferment picked up on sorry stories of

brewday accidents ranging from the

sublime to the ridiculous - from caustic

soda chemical burns to tools thrown in

a tantrum and ricocheting off the floor

to hit their user in the face.

Oliver Parsons, head brewer at

Sussex-based Arundel, was hospitalised

with second-degree burns in the first

month of his professional career,

and admits he came to the job after

home brewing and just a week’s work

experience.

Three weeks in to his new role, Oliver

tossed a dose of Profloc - an additive

which helps clarify beer - into a vessel

of boiling wort. It belched back a plume

of scalding foam.

“It came down on top of me and I had

to dive off the ladder, seven feet to the

floor, and roll away,” he recalls. “I was

quite lucky really. We had procedures

in place - they got my T-shirt off and got

me under the hose. The incident was

logged in our accident book. We looked

at what caused it and took measures to

prevent it happening again. You’ve got

to learn from your mistakes.”

Oliver was indeed lucky. In the

States, brewer Kerry Thomas - formerly

of Idaho’s Edge Brewing - suffered a

similar accident while adding hops to a

boiling kettle. She suffered 30% burns

and spent the next six months in rehab.

SIBA has an eye on workplace health

and safety, and its H&S checklist -

which used to cost members £50 - was

recently made free to download from

the site’s ‘toolbox’ section. Additionally,

for £300 a year, brewer members can

enrol in SIBA’s Food Safety and Quality

(FSQ) scheme, which involves a basic

health and safety audit.

“The vast majority are doing the

things they need to be doing,” says

SIBA chief exec James Calder. “Safety is

an obvious issue. People shouldn't learn

it by accident, they should learn safety

as a priority.”

But with only 260 out of SIBA’s 750

brewery members signed up to FSQ,

Kevin Mutch – who has personally

Oliver Parson's burns

carried out over a hundred FSQ audits -

wonders if enough is being done.

“We have a duty of care to each other

to make things as safe as possible,” he

says. “We need a minimum standard of

auditable training - and I'm talking all

things legislative, not just health and

safety.”

Tiny Rebel’s video clip – which it's

since deleted – was met with such ire

not only because it looked downright

dangerous, but also because the

decision to film this moment of seeming

recklessness for public consumption

does the reputation of the entire sector

no favours.

“Craft brewing needs to realise

that, to go forward, it has to be more

professional, in every aspect of what

it does,” concludes David Smith. “The

industry has got to grow up - we've had

the fun, now let's get down to the hard

work of what brewing is really about.”

Tiny Rebel was approached for

comment on this story.

42

FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 43


Ollie’s

MODERN

Life

Rage might feel good at the

time, but ultimately you’re only

hurting yourself, says Ollie Peart

You’re angry. Very angry.

Your political persuasion,

upbringing or social

standing make no

difference, you’re still angry. You

never used to be this way, although

you can’t really remember. All you

know is now, today, you’re utterly

pissed off. You’re pissed off at all

those morons who can’t see the

bigger picture. I mean who are these

people?

You know what I’m talking about

don’t you? Yeah, of course you do.

Your seething rage is testament to

your understanding. You’re angry

because you know, you read up on

these things. You’ve grasped THE

FACTS. You know what’s really

happening and these dickheads,

these arseholes, fuckbuckets and twat

bandits have no idea what is going on.

You know what else? Neither do you.

A quick Google and I can smash

your theory out of the water

complete with videos, articles and

statistics to back it up. Think the

Earth is round? Think again pal. Think

Trump is a terrible president? Check

out THESE facts. Oh really? You think

Michelle Obama is A WOMAN -

PAH!!! See, you can’t win.

You’re a pawn. You’ve been

masterfully manipulated by people

who are far, far smarter than you will

ever be. They’ve systematically and

methodically chipped away at your

very being to reinforce or alter your

outlook on the world. This is nothing

new of course, newspapers have been

doing this for centuries.

The difference is the newspapers

were the same for everybody and

their content decided by an editor.

Social media is bespoke to you, and

only you. The content you see has

not been filtered or checked by an

editor but by mathematics. Equations

and algorithms figure out subtle

differences in your online activity to

serve you a Brexit-related MEME

followed by some uber-positive,

borderline-sickening spaff from your

favourite tweeter, because it knows

you’re most likely to engage

with it.

It would be like a

newspaper editor knowing

your every quirk and

exactly what makes you

tick, chucking your very own

bespoke newspaper through

the door. Nobody else will have a

copy or ever see that copy. It is

unique to you, and that’s terrifying.

It’s one massive attitude

amplification machine, which is

dividing every narrative into black

and white and obliterating the

grey because, well, grey is boring.

Mediocre can go fuck itself as far as

social media is concerned, which is

why anyone online is either a hideous

leave/remain angry knobnose or so

puke-inducingly positive you want to

gouge your eyes out.

And it’s YOUR fault.

Albert Einstein once said ‘I fear

the day that technology will surpass

our human interaction. The world will

have a generation of idiots.’ and you,

you’re the idiot.

You spend too much time on social

media. You think you’ve gamed the

system by liking the Guardian AND

the Daily Mail. You haven’t. You’re

being gamed. You’ve forgotten how

to debate and how to empathise,

it’s why you think remainers are

all stupid media-elite shitheads or

leavers are all racist tory-loving

scumbags.

For the most part

of course, neither is true but the

minorities who are of this persuasion

have the loudest voice, because this

is what the algorithm knows gets the

clicks.

You’ve contributed to this mess.

The insecurity you feel at the

moment is thanks to all those hours

you’ve spent on the shitter scrolling

through inane bullshit. It’s time to do

something about it.

STOP. Just stop. For a whole day

a whole month or forever, I don’t

care. Try a new way to understand

the world. Go to the library and get a

book out on politics, spend your days

dedicated to intimately understanding

the complexity of our political

system. Learn a language, preferably

one from a country you have little

or no understanding of and have a

preconceived idea of what their entire

nation of people are like. Learn to

cook, grow vegetables, make cheese

or tightrope walk. It really doesn’t

matter.

This doesn’t mean giving up the

internet of course. The internet really

is the ultimate information machine.

It just means not letting a platform

filter what you see. You might have

to get used to typing in full web

addresses again with this new

approach, but it’ll be worth it.

The one thing you have to

make sure of, is that you check.

You check and you check again. You

want to make sure that whatever

information you are reading, watching

or listening to is right, because

currently you and everybody else has

a warped view of reality. You need to

accept that most people are nice, not

all leavers are racists, remainers are

not media-elites and the Queen still

shits.

Because if you don’t, you’ll go

around defending your new outlook

on the world, triumphantly declaring

that Albert Einstein once said ‘I fear

the day that technology will surpass

our human interaction. The world

will have a generation of idiots.’

Which, of course, he didn’t.

44 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 45


uncut funk

Funk Fest is held at Abbeydale

Brewery every year, or at least

it better had be, since it’s

become one of my favourite

events in the beer calendar. It’s a big

top of rare and unusual beers where

you can talk to literally anyone about

yeast, and it’s well worth driving over

Snake Pass for.

Jim Rangeley runs Abbeydale

Brewery’s Funk Dungeon, an array of

barrel-aged, Brettanomyces-ridden

and inventively blended beers created

straight from his imagination. One day

he decided Sheffield needed a festival

to celebrate the beers he and the rest

of the Abbeydale contingent love.

“It’s the sort of beer that I love

drinking,” he says. “Around 18 months

ago I could start to see the first

releases from the Funk Dungeon

project getting ready. A launch festival

seemed like a great way to showcase

Following up on her recent report from Amsterdam’s

Festival Brettanomyces, Katie Mather drops in on a funky

gathering a little closer to home

them, spread the word about the beers

we’re making, and provide something

unique in the North.”

This year, Funk Fest was bigger and

weirder than ever, and beers from the

brewery’s own Funk Dungeon were

joined by a collaboration between

Melissa Cole and Abbeydale using

kefir called Slam Dunk Da Funk, some

seriously special bottles of Mills’ Draw

Together, and all sorts of goodies from

the UK and Ireland from the likes of

Torrside, Wide Street, Little Earth

Project, Fyne, and Siren Craft, to name

just a few.

There were talks too, hosted by

Fyne Ales Origins, Fierce Beer and

Duck Chicken Cider, and London

Beer Factory were joined by Matthew

Curtis for a coolship brew-along

special complete with in-depth Q&A

for the curious and the nerdy. Oh,

and there was a “funky beers only”

homebrew competition too, entered

by homebrewers with beers ranging

from bretted IPAs to wild herb

infusions.

The thing about sour beers;

wonderfully complex, passionately

created sour beers, is that the people

who like them are really into them,

and there are so many to try that

there is a very good chance there’ll be

something in it for you too. That’s why

a festival like this is so great — here is

a perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

And while a lot of us tend to lazily call

all of the spontaneously fermented,

kettle soured or otherwise oddly

nurtured beers outside of our usual

frame of reference “sour”, the truth is,

they aren’t all sour at all.

Some taste like muddy footprints

across a barn floor. Others remind

drinkers of balsamic vinegar and

autumn allotment bonfires. For a

lot of people, the sense that beer is

“farmyardy” is enough to put them

off their tasting session. For others

— myself very much included — the

evocative scent of horses and straw

and the faint waft of muckspreaders

in the gloomy distance is something

actively sought out. “Yes!” we say.

“Smell the goat in that!”

Rotten, you might think. Perhaps

we are. But our numbers are growing.

You’ll be won over too, you’ll see.

We raise our cups in celebration

of microbiology, and laugh at the

strangeness of enjoying a flavour

accurately described as “farm puddle”.

Does face-ripping sourness bring

people together? From my experience

at this year’s festival, I’d say it does.

But what do the Abbeydale lot think?

What gave you the idea to start a

funky-and-sour-beers-only festival in

Sheffield?

Jim Rangeley (Leader of Funk

Dungeon): “We’d recently been

over to Amsterdam to Carnivale

Brettanomyces and were in awe of all

of the funky and sour beers available

there from producers all over the

world. I felt that the UK had a lot to

offer that we weren’t shouting about

so much, so we set about curating a

beer list!”

Did you come up against any

opposition, or at the least any confusedseeming

people when you first said you

were going to set up Funk Fest?

Sue Morton (Director): “I was confused

but prepared to back our resident

beer geeks. The team rallied around

them, and just look at what they’ve

achieved. I couldn’t be prouder of

them. I’m even learning to like the

beers though previously my most

adventurous was a gentle saison.”

Laura Rangeley (Communications

Manager): “We have had a few

people that weren’t quite sure what

the festival was all about – last year

especially, we found that a lot of

people from the local area came along

to have a look around the brewery first

and foremost, as we’re generally not

open to the public.”

“However I think it’s fair to say

that it’s been embraced by all, even

those who hadn’t tried these styles

of beer before were happy to give

them a try. This year, we introduced

our “sour scale” in an attempt to help

newcomers to the style have a more

accessible way to understand where

might be a good place to start with the

beer list.”

What is it about these styles of beers

that inspires you?

JR: “I love the excitement around

never really being 100% sure how

a wild beer is going to turn out.

Generally, brewing a beer is all about

maintaining full control over your

product and achieving consistency

time after time. With a wild beer, and

once it goes into barrel to secondary

ferment and age, you give away

some of that control, and it’s the

learning process of understanding the

interaction of the beer, the wood, the

yeast and the bacteria, and developing

skills around tasting, blending, and

most of all patience. You always know

what you’re aiming for, but never quite

how you’re going to get there.”

“We have lots of admiration for

breweries such as Burning Sky, Little

Earth Project and Kernel, who’ve been

doing amazing things in the UK. A

trip to New Belgium in Colorado in

2016 was another inspiration behind

wanting to get our own project up and

running.”

How has the local beer scene reacted

to Funk Fest and the Funk Dungeon?

46

FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 47


UNCUT FUNK

SM: “Sheffield has a great beer

drinking community which has

embraced these wonderful styles

being produced in their own

backyard. It’s not just the younger folk

— our oldest employee is a traditional

real ale drinker and they’ve embraced

the sours and now seeks them out!

And our founder Pat has always loved

Belgian sours and is delighted to find

his own brewery embracing those

styles.”

LR: “It’s gone down really well. In

Sheffield, we’re always going to be best

known for Moonshine [Abbeydale’s

flagship pale ale, which makes up over

50% of their total output] which is

really important to us and something

we’re very proud of. At the same

time, we’re definitely building on our

reputation as innovative and possibly

a little bit bonkers at times too, and

the festival has really helped with

this.”

JR: “The homebrew competition

that we ran this year was a great

way for us to reach out to the local

community and beyond as well.”

Why do you think these styles of

beers are gaining popularity now?

JR: “Generally I think palates are

shifting away from sweetness being

the “in thing” to being aware of

sourness again. There’s probably a

political element to this with the sugar

tax! As more people produce and talk

about these types of beers, people are

becoming more aware of them. And

to have them made locally rather than

needing to import is great.”

“Also - I love that yeast is being seen

as cool! It’s not just all about the hops

anymore and the interest in yeast and

bacteria is definitely growing.”

SM: “It’s about flavour and a lack

of preconceptions about what beer

ought to be. Because of the boom in

craft brewing there’s been a revival of

all sorts of different styles of beer and

a whole range of brewers have driven

this, embraced it and broadened their

production. Us included!”

LR: “For me as well they can

be a great beer option for people

who wouldn’t generally describe

themselves as beer drinkers. One of

my absolute favourite elements of

my role in beer communication is

helping those who approach a bar

with comments like “So I usually go for

a cider…” or “do you have anything you

could recommend for my Sauvignon

Blanc loving pal?” to find something

to enjoy, and sour and wild beers have

often been the way in!”

What sort of feedback have you had?

LR: “Honestly it’s been amazing. A

couple who’d travelled from St Albans

told me they’d enjoyed it as much

as their trips to Arrogant Sour in

Italy and I nearly cried! We try really

hard to present an honest and open

festival, there’s no pretension and no

fuss, and I think people really “get”

that.”

What are some of the funniest

reactions you've had to some of the

beers available?

SM: “12 minutes into the first ever

Funk Fest, we had a customer who

brought a beer back to the bar saying,

“This beer’s sour, is it supposed to

taste like this?”. I’m pleased to say

though that he was very happy to be

talked through the beer list and did

find some that he enjoyed!”

“This year I did also overhear

someone exclaim “Thank god for the

Rennies!” which we’d scattered around

the festival for those who might need

them...”

LR: “I also loved the reactions to

our sour scale and will be continuing

the campaign to make “MegaGoat” an

acceptable piece of beer terminology.”

What would you do differently for

next year?

LR: “The tasting sessions which we

ran this year were really popular, so I’d

love us to be able to build upon these

next year. We also ran a “Funk Fest

Fringe” this year, where a few local

venues supported the festival in the

week prior to it. They did some really

fun things including sour beer slushies

and Berliner Weisse with a range of

syrups – I’d love to bring some more

playful elements to the festival too.”

JR: “I’d love to expand the festival

by including other drinks offerings –

we had cider from Castling’s Heath

[created by Tom from Little Earth

Project’s dad!] this year which was a

great addition, alongside the tasting

session from Duck Chicken which

was really well received. Natural wine

would fit in really well too so we hope

to reach out to producers in this area

for next time.”

Each of you -- which was your beer of

the festival?

JR: “Of the guest beers I was really

pleased to get hold of Siren’s new

Stock Ale, a collaboration between

Siren and Wiper & True. Steve [Hoile,

Barrel Project Manager at Siren] was

one of the earliest supporters of the

festival last year, we’ve brewed with

him in the meantime too, and the

beer was absolutely spectacular, a

masterclass in Brett.”

“From the Funk Dungeon beers I

also want to give a bit of a shout out

to Ryes From The Grave – it’s the one

that’s taken the most work to get to

where it is and I think it’s the first beer

to really fully encompass everything

that the Funk Dungeon is all about.

It’s a rye base beer, which has been

blended with three carefully selected

barrel aged sours, the oldest of which

is almost 2 years old so dates right

back to the start of the programme.

If I may say so myself it’s absolutely

delicious and I’m really proud of it.”

SM: “I’m not allowed to drink at the

moment so mine was the kombucha

Reinheitsgenot. We’ve brewed a

kombucha for each of our inhouse

festivals recently and they’ve gone

down really well, it’s great to be able

to have our own offering available

for those who are looking for a low

alcohol option.”

LR: “I was a bit obsessed with

the London Beer Factory Pointless

Innocence — a 7.2% strawberry

smoothie sour IPA. I’ve got a bit of

a sweet tooth and this satisfied that

whilst also retaining an identity as a

complex blended sour. Outstanding!”

Pat Morton (Director and Brewer):

“The Little Earth Project Organic

Harvest Saison 2017 was superb.”

48

FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 49


IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ST AUSTELL

The

Bottleshop

JACK STEIN’S

PROPER SUNDAY ROAST

Proper Job IPA (5.5% abv) is the perfect match for a classic Sunday roast.

Brewed with Cornish spring water, punchy American hops and the finest

quality malt, this strong golden ale has a powerfully hopped flavour and

refreshing finish. Its citrus, pineapple and grapefruit notes enhance all of

the flavoursome trimmings that a proper roast dinner has to offer.

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.

METHOD

• 1.5kg topside of beef

• 1 tbsp sea salt

• 1 tbsp vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS

• 800g Maris Piper potatoes

• 20g sea salt

• 50ml goose fat

ROAST POTATOES

• 1 hispi cabbage cut into four

• Sea salt

• 2 heads of garlic finely sliced

• 50ml olive oil

VEGETABLES

• 2 shallots, finely chopped

• Sprig of thyme

• 1 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 tsp salt

• 375ml red wine

• 1 litre beef stock

• 1 tsp Marmite

• 4 tsp soy sauce

• 2 tbsp tomato ketchup

• 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

GRAVY

Season the topside and sear in

vegetable oil until it’s well coloured

on all sides. Place into a pre-heated

oven at 55˚C. Leave it in the oven

at this temperature for 4 hours. This

will give you a perfect medium rare.

If you prefer medium, set the oven to

65˚C. If your oven doesn’t go this far

down, roast at 150˚C for 2 hrs. Take

the meat out and rest.

PROPER ROASTIES

Increase the temperature to

200˚C. Peel the potatoes (reserving

the peelings) and cut them into

chunks. Pour 2 litres of water into a

saucepan, add 20g salt and bring it

to the boil. Add the potatoes and the

peelings, and cook for 20 minutes

until very soft. Strain carefully

and cool. Pour the goose fat into a

roasting tin and place it in the oven

for 15 minutes. Place the potatoes,

cut side down, in the hot oil and

carefully cover with the oil. Season

the potatoes with the remaining salt

and roast for 60–90 minutes, turning

them a few times.

PROPER GRAVY

Sweat the shallots and thyme, then

add the red wine. Reduce until it’s

almost all evaporated. Add the stock

and reduce by half until thick. Finish

with soy, marmite, ketchup and the

vinegar.

PROPER VEG

For the cabbage, get a

griddle pan very hot and

colour on all sides, but do

not cook too much so that

the vegetable has some

crunch. Place the garlic

and olive oil in a cup and

microwave on full heat

for 30 seconds until

soft. Drizzle this over

the cabbage and

season with sea salt.

Slice the beef, pour

over the gravy, season

with salt and pepper

and quickly flash

it in the hot oven,

then serve with the

roast potatoes and

cabbage.

50

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

FERMENT MAGAZINE


THE MOST

IMPORTANT LAGERS

EVER BREWED

How was it that simple, lighttasting

and refreshing – some

even say boring – lager

became the most widely consumed

alcoholic drink in the world? Why was

it pale lager and not pale ale or porter

which became the only truly global

beer? And how did lager go from being

a dark and sweet beer local to Bavaria

to become a light and dry beer local

to everyone in the world? As I was

looking more into the history of lager,

a number of specific developments

or discoveries led to beers which can

be considered as the most important

lagers ever brewed, and together they

give us a better appreciation of this

much-misunderstood family of beers.

THE FIRST ONE,

AROUND 600 YEARS AGO

I don’t know what this beer was. I don’t

know exactly who made it, when, or

where. What we can say is that three

things had to come together to create

the essential conditions for the birth

WORDS: Mark Dredge

of lager: constant cold temperatures,

a special yeast, and a long maturation,

and that these things first combined in

the northeast of Bavaria and over into

Bohemia. The temperature part was a

no-brainer: people realised that beer

tasted better when it was cold, which

scientific knowledge can retro-fit with

the understanding that it was less likely

to go sour. Being hundreds of years

before artificial refrigeration, the only

reliably cool places were cellars, either

under buildings or dug into hillsides.

The beer fermented in the cold and

was then drawn off into big wooden

barrels and rolled deeper into the

colder sections of the cellars, where

it was stored – or lagered – for many

months. Somehow a new yeast – a

hybrid of two other yeasts – emerged

and evolved in this environment and

was tolerant of the cold in a way which

typical ale yeast was not. Lager became

a new and distinct family of beer and

this cold, slow production became

the established way of making beer in

Bavaria – but only in Bavaria – and we’d

expect those early lagers to be dark,

sweet, probably smoky, probably under

4% ABV, almost certainly inconsistent,

and unfamiliar to what we know as

lager today.

BAVARIA’S BRAUNBIER, 1500

The Bavarian beer purity law of 1516

– now known as the Reinheitsgebot –

said that in Bavaria only water, barley

and hops could be used to make beer

(yeast was added a few years later).

At that time, there was Braunbier and

Weissbier. Braunbier was brewed with

barley that had been roasted, and it

was typically cold fermented and then

stored for two to nine months – it was

a lager. Weissbier used wheat as well

as barley and it was air-dried, hence

lighter in colour (the name means

white, not wheat), and it was typically

brewed at ambient temperatures and

was made and drunk quickly – it was an

ale. When the beer purity law banned

wheat from brewing, it made Braunbier

– therefore lager – the everyday beer of

Bavaria. Later a law would ban brewing

over the summer months, which led to

longer-lagered beers, and through the

16th century we see brewing gradually

commercialise and professionalise

in Bavaria, giving us a more defined

starting line to lager’s story. Munich

Dunkel is descendant of those early

Braunbiers and is perhaps the world’s

longest-brewed beer style.

MUNICH LAGER AND

VIENNA LAGER, 1840

The early production of Bavarian lager

was rudimentary and empirical, made

using passed-down processes, and

lacking industrial scale or scientific

knowledge. That would change from

the late 1830s when a Munich brewer,

from the Spaten brewery, and a Vienna

brewer, from Klein-Schwechat brewery,

travelled to Britain to learn more about

brewing from the world’s greatest and

most-advanced brewing nation. Their

travels showed them new instruments

like the saccharometer (which

measured sweetness), they came to

understand the true importance of

temperature, they learnt how steam

could power huge breweries, and they

were taught about British malting,

which enabled lighter-coloured malts.

The brewers returned home to their

family businesses and introduced the

new technologies and techniques,

gaining better control and consistency

by having instruments to measure their

processes, then they started to grow

with steam power and introduced ice

to cool their cellars (later these brewers

would be the first to use artificial

refrigeration to enable year-round

lager production and remove the old

brewing season – artificial refrigeration

would go on to enable lager brewing

to happen in hot climates where it had

previously been impossible to brew),

and they made paler malts and used

them in new brews. The improved

beers of Munich (and Bavaria in

general) stayed brown in colour, while

the new Vienna lagers were ambercoloured.

These became the first

modern lager styles and allowed lager

to become something more than just a

Bavarian brewing quirk.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT LAGERS EVER BREWED

THE ORIGINAL PILSNER,

NOVEMBER 1842

In the 1830s, the Bohemian city

of Pilsen had several small shared

breweries and certain citizens had

the rights to make their own beer

and sell it. The trouble was that a

lot of the brewers weren’t very good

and in 1838 the authorities revolted

(literally) by dumping 36 barrels of

sour, dark ale into the streets, an

event which became a catalyst for

them deciding to build one big new

commercial brewery owned and run

by the brewing rights citizens. They

made the revolutionary decision

to brew the lagered beers of their

Bavarian neighbours, so they dug deep

cellars, hired a Bavarian brewmaster,

bought a lager yeast, plus they made

malt using the British method, and in

1842 the Citizens Brewery sold their

first barrels of golden lager, a beer

which would come to be named after

the city: Pilsner. Bavarian, Vienna

and Pilsner lagers began to travel the

world and disrupt the British brewing

hegemony, where the bright, crisp

taste was becoming more appealing

than heavy, bitter ales.

THE FIRST

AMERICAN LAGER, 1870s

Lager was made in North America

from the 1840s and it was brewed by

Germans, using German techniques,

to taste like dark Bavarian lagers,

and it would’ve been drunk by the

growing numbers of German migrants

arriving into North America cities

like Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati

and St. Louis. To the liquor drinking

Americans, the lager drinking

Germans were a curiosity, but by

the 1870s, as Germans and German-

Americans had built a large brewing

industry, the Americans were now

drinking lots of lager, but they came

to demand something lighter than

the heavy Bavarian-style brews.

To achieve that, rice and corn was

used to supplement the American

barley and in doing so it created a

new kind of beer: after dark Munich

lager, amber Vienna lager and golden

Pilsner lager, yellow American lager

became one of the most important

kinds of beer in the world, one which

would ultimately become the template

for what lager is today. The German-

Americans changed more than just the

beer style: they built enormous steampowered

breweries, they artificially

cooled huge aboveground fermenters

and lagering tanks (bringing lager up

out of the underground cellars), they

sped up production, they used largescale

bottling and pasteurisation,

they created national distribution

networks and national brands, and

these processes became the new

normal way of making lager. Bavarians

might have invented lager but it was

the (German-)Americans who were

responsible for making it the global

drink we know today.

A DANISH LAGER WITH

THE BEER SICKNESS,

NOVEMBER 1883

Despite all of the industrial

developments of the 19th century,

there was still a lack of fundamental

understanding over fermentation and

yeast, meaning beer was inherently

troubled by inconsistency. Since 1846,

Carlsberg had been making Bavarianstyle

dark lagers in Copenhagen and

had grown to become one of Europe’s

top lager brewers, but in 1883 there

was a problem: they caught the

dreaded ‘beer sickness’ and their

beer turned funky. The brewery

tasked their in-house scientist Emil

Christian Hansen to find a cure, and

he discovered that Carlsberg’s yeast

actually contained two different

lager strains and additionally had

an infiltration of wild yeast from a

nearby orchard. Hansen was able

to isolate a single cell of good lager

yeast, propagate it up into a largeenough

batch to brew with, made

sure it tasted great, and from there on

instigated single-strain fermentation.

Once perfected, the brewery shared

their knowledge with others and it

become arguably the most important

scientific brewing discovery of all

time, because it finally helped control

fermentation. The great scientific,

technical and industrial advances

of the 19th century meant that in a

few decades, from the 1830s to the

1880s, lager had gone from brown,

small-scale, variable and Bavarian,

to golden, large-scale, consistent and

international.

THE FIRST BEERS

ADVERTISED ON

TELEVISION, 1945 & 1955

The post-war years changed beer

and beer drinking all around the

world, where significantly it now

wasn’t so much about the industry

or even the liquid, and domestic

and social changes were having a

greater influence. The combination of

home refrigeration, central heating,

supermarkets (instead of specialist

stores like a grocers and hardware

store), car ownership and television

advertising greatly impacted beer

buying decisions. With television, the

biggest brewers could now advertise

nationally, becoming even better

known which allowed them to get

even bigger, and it’s from this time

that we see many familiar brands

become household names: Kellogg’s,

Campbell’s, Heinz, Coca-Cola,

Budweiser, and more. The familiarity

of big brands created a bland

similarity between all the products,

but that was specifically appealing

to consumers at that particular time.

The first beer advertised on American

TV was a regional lager from New

England called Narragansett, who

sponsored telecasts of Boston Red

Sox baseball games from 1945. In

Britain, we didn’t get commercial

television until 1955, with the first

adverts shown on 22 September of

that year. Numerous companies went

into a lottery to be the first shown and

a toothpaste brand had that honour.

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THE MOST IMPORTANT LAGERS EVER BREWED

Later that night, Guinness was the

first beer advertised on British TV.

The first televised lager adverts in

Britain came in the early 1960s, and

the advertising coincided with the

increasing availability of lagers and a

growing acceptance of drinking cold,

carbonated beer instead of cask ale.

Britain, however, would be the last

country in the world to drink more

lager than ale – that only happened in

1989.

THE FIRST LIGHT LAGER,

1975

Large national brands dominated

the American beer market and were

constantly in battle with each other

(or, more realistically, in a battle to

be second behind the behemoth of

Bud) and looking to sell more beer

to more people. By the mid-1970s, as

people were becoming more body

conscious and counting their calories,

so there came a nascent demand for

a less-filling kind of beer. The science

to brew a beer with lower residual

sugars, and therefore lower in carbs

and calories, had been around since

the 1960s but didn’t have any success

until Miller Brewing released their

light beer in 1975 and backed it up

with a huge advertising budget. It

immediately struck with the keep fit

zeitgeist and the other big breweries

reacted quickly as sales of this new

Light lager snowballed. Like had

happened a century earlier, American

drinkers made the choice to move

to lighter beers. A similar thing

happened in the UK at this time, and

while it wasn’t to Light lagers in the

American sense, it was certainly to

lighter-tasting and looking beers.

THE LOCAL CRAFT LAGER,

1980 & 2019

By the 1980s, virtually every country

in the world drank lager and had their

own local brands. The impact of the

bland dominance of fizzy yellow beer

was a major catalyst to the emergence

of small craft breweries and beers

which were different and had flavour.

Many of the earliest craft beers were

not lagers and among the first styles

to gain major acceptance were amber

ales (IPAs didn’t truly take off until

the early 2000s). Then came the

emergence and growth of ambercoloured

lagers like Anchor Steam,

Sam Adams Boston Lager, Brooklyn

Lager and Yuengling Traditional Lager.

These new flavoursome lagers became

an alternative to consumers who were

shifting to small-scale brewing while

still wanting something unchallenging

to drink. Jump forward to today

and there’s a renewed interest in

lagers. We’re seeing classic old-style

lagers brewed traditionally and they

sit next to abundantly hoppy IPLs

which mix Pilsner and IPA into a new

super-brew. These lagers, which are

celebrated alongside classic German

and Czech lagers, are reinventing and

reinvigorating the world’s favourite

alcoholic drink.

Mark Dredge’s new book,

A Brief History of Lager: 500 Year’s

of the World’s Favourite Drink,

is out now!

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Katie Mather gets her Greek on

A

popular quote in the beer

world is: “There’s nothing

new in brewing”. You’d

think that’d stifle those hardworking

inventors, but no. This is what creates

innovation and drives the industry

forward. Taking this dryly cynical

phrase literally, it makes sense that

much of the most sought-after beers

being created at the moment take

inspiration from the distant past as well

as the future.

This is great news for brewers. It

means they get to play around with

unusual equipment inspired by

brewers of the past in the name of

beer invention. One of the greatest

things about brewing is acquiring new

equipment. It’s the way of the brewer.

Always tinkering. Always collecting.

To the average drinker even

just a few years ago, the weird and

wonderful tech behind the making of

a delicious beer might have seemed

inconsequential, but more than ever

before, we’re getting nerdy about how

beer is made. That’s why we’re now

more accustomed to finding special

mentions on can and bottle labels

saluting the coolship or Pedro Ximenez

barrels that helped make the beer

inside a reality.

One special guest you may have

seen mentioned by some breweries,

including Yonder, Mikkeller, Harbour,

Beavertown and Cantillon is the

“amphora.” But what on earth is one of

those? A clay vase with a stopper in,

right? A vase from the olden, olden,

olden days used to make wine? What

does that do? And why are brewers

interested in them?

Ancient amphorae

In the times when cats were revered as

gods and the Aegean sea was riddled

with the thrashing limbs of banished

monsters, the Ancient Greeks,

Egyptians and the Roman Empire

(not in that order) used amphorae

to transport their wine. They were

terracotta vessels with pointed or

deeply-domed bottoms, with slim necks

that could be stoppered, and handles

so they were portable. (Amphora

comes from the Greek amphi - on both

sides, and phero - carry). They’re so

useful that they haven’t really changed

for thousands of years.

For the Ancient Egyptians, amphora

vessels were convenient methods of

storage that just happened to look cool.

Think of them like very, very, very old

Kilner jars. Unlike similar “qvevri”,

used in Georgia as an essential part of

a complex skin-contact wine-making

process for more than 1000 years,

amphora have generally always been

used to store liquids. This is the main

difference between the two — qvevri

don’t have handles. You ain’t supposed

to move them.

Susasn Boyle, a beer writer and

researcher who’s worked with the

British Museum among many other

institutions, says as well as being good

at storing things, amphorae have a

unique temperature-controlling effect,

which would have been exceptionally

useful in ancient times.

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FEAT OF CLAY

“The type of clay used to make

amphora pots is quite porous,” she

explains, “giving the liquid inside a

chance to breathe, and this wicking

enables a cooling effect of up to two

degrees.”

“When I was working on an ancient

beer-brewing project with the British

Museum, we found that the beer inside

our specially-made amphora was at

least two degrees celsius cooler that

the outside air temperature!”

It’s not all Greek

So why the name? Were amphorae the

inspired invention of the mysterious

and classy ancient Greeks? Dr.

Marchella Ward, an archivist for Oxford

University’s Faculty of Classics says this

is a common misconception.

“It’s funny to me that people think of

these things as “Greek”,” she says. “Sure,

if you want a mythical history, it gives

them some kind of special mythical

value. But very similar things were just

as common in ancient China, ancient

North Africa and many more places all

over the ancient world. They’re not that

special. They’re just old!”

Don’t worry if you were drawn in

by the marketing though. So were the

ancients.

“Even the Greeks and Romans had

false pretensions when they used them!”

Dr. Ward says. “There’s one that was

found with the inscription ‘I am a prize

from the goddess Athena’ as if Athena

herself had inscribed the pot!”

What does terracotta

taste like?

Amphora aren’t just storage jars

anymore. Beer makers are starting to

wonder whether there’s something

special about fermenting in terracotta.

In an article for SevenFifty Daily,

Peter Weltman lays out why amphorae

may be more than just a pretty jug.

“Beyond the romanticism involved

in borrowing ancient techniques,” he

says, “Terra-cotta pots offer unique

interactive properties with wine—they

pull out acidity, allow oxygen exchange,

and provide superior insulation, among

other benefits—that are different from

those of stainless steel, wood barrels,

or concrete.”

They impart different flavours

depending on their linings too. Many of

the amphorae found around the world

are treated with resin or beeswax to

inhibit wicking, change the aroma of

their contents.

“There is a microcosm of microbes

in the pores of the clay,” says Susan

Boyle. “And there’s a definite terracotta

flavour profile compared to stainless

steel.”

Someone who knows very well what

a terracotta amphora can do for their

beer is Jonathan Hamilton, former

leader of Beavertown’s Tempus Project.

In 2017, two amphorae were delivered

to the brewery and soon he was

working on the project’s first amphoraaged

beer.

“It started off as a joke,” Jonathan

says. “Brewers like Birra del Borgo

near Milan have been using amphorae

inspired by natural wine makers who

are doing the same, and I started

looking up how to get hold of them. I

found a company called Terra Nova in

Italy who manufacture them — and they

weren’t that crazy expensive.”

“We chose to have them lined

with beeswax because the general

consensus is that using unlined

amphora means they are much more

intensely flavoured. In October 2017,

they arrived.”

The Tempus Project’s first brew

committed to amphora was for the

2017 Rainbow Project, a collaboration

with Jester King. A mixed-ferm Sour

Red ale made with ancient Teff grains,

aged hops, it was aged on Pinot Noir

grape skins in red wine barrels before

it headed to the Terracotta Amphora

for 8 months.

After this, Entomb followed; a lactosoured

gose-style beer with spelt,

which thanks to three months in the

amphora had a unique mineral quality.

“That was super interesting,” says

Jonathan. “It came out really clear

because it had essentially been lagered

for months, and it had a big honey

character from the beeswax. The

second batch we aged for a lot longer,

increased the acidity and left it for

about 10-12 months in the amphora.

That was pretty intense, we started

getting a sea-salty, minerally-kinda

vibe”

Practically purposeful

One of the main questions around

amphora is whether they actually have

much to offer a brewer. Do the benefits

they bring to a brewery outweigh the

difficulties of working with a vessel

you can’t easily clean, or move or store

without a lot of faffing around?

We’ve already talked about flavour,

and that’s what many brewers are

keen to experiment with. An amphora

might not give your session pale

much of an oomph, but if you’re in

Birra del Borgo brewing

the habit of creating stranger styles —

mixed fermentation perhaps, or even

crossovers with cider or wine lees —

the subtle effects of the porous clay

can enhance and bring another level of

complexity.

There are other plusses too. Darren

Smith for Imbibe magazine talks about

a naturally-occurring convection

current formed by Co2 being forced

around the vessel’s unique shape. This

kinetic quality means no battonage

(stirring, basically) is necessary. Nice

of the beer to do some of the work for

you!

One of the greatest

things about brewing is

acquiring new equipment

Despite all this, it does seem that

brewers are talking about amphorae

much more than actually using them.

So is it a passing trend? Jonathan says

he’d like to see more people trying

them for themselves.

“The interest in natural wine in

brewers, and the fact we learn things

from each other — you’re gonna get

people experimenting with amphorae.

The beers I’ve tried made this way have

been really great, I hope it’s not just a

gimmick.”

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WORDS: Anthony Gladman

London’s Makerversity occupies a

honeycomb warren of stairways,

corridors and interconnecting

rooms beneath Somerset House. The

‘makers’ — technologists, engineers,

artists etc. — who inhabit its co-working

spaces and workshops aren’t used to

their neighbours’ projects smelling

of much beyond solder, solvent

or sawdust. But the workbenches

belonging to one trio of young

industrial and product designers smell

different. Less like a factory floor and

more like a brewery or kitchen.

Oksana Bondar, Poppy Pippin and

Nanna Guldbaek (better known in

the beer world as Art-Director for

Norwegian brewery Lervig) have

banded together as Luna Lab and, in

a corner of a whitewashed basement

room, are busy creating brand new

sustainable materials. Their raw

ingredients are brewery byproducts,

gross-sounding stuff that’s usually sent

to landfill or washed down a drain:

spent grain and trub, hop-gunk and

sediment scraped from the bottom of

the mash tun.

“Actually it's quite beautiful. Let

me show you,” says Guldbaek, diving

into a little fridge set under a worktop.

She pulls out a scuffed plastic tub,

the type that might once have held

cheap ice cream, and peels back the

lid to reveal a slick of startlingly purple

gloop. She tells me it’s sediment from

a blackcurrant beer she picked up at

Wild Card brewery the week before.

“As soon as you open that one it has

like a…” She stops and sniffs. “It smells

like something you want to eat.”

Although she’s known for her

artwork, Guldbaek actually studied

industrial and product design. She was

only part-way through her first year of

the course when she started working at

Lervig and saw first-hand the waste a

brewery produces. Not long after, she

started asking questions about what

actually happens to these materials.

About 85% of brewery waste is

spent grain. (The stuff left behind once

brewers have extracted the sugars they

need from malted barley, wheat etc.)

Global production of this averages

about 42 million tonnes each year,

much of which will end up in landfill.

Jaega Wise, Head Brewer at Wild Card,

fills four 240-litre wheelie bins with

spent grain every week.

“We pay lots of money to dispose

of our waste in a safe manner,” Wise

tells me. And while there are some

alternative uses for it, for example

as animal feed, these can have their

problems too. Like so many new

breweries, Wild Card is an urban

business. With only so many farms in

the outskirts of London, there aren’t

enough animals to get through all the

spent grain being produced. There’s

also animal farming’s contribution to

climate change to consider.

Luna Lab’s request to collect some of

Wild Card’s spent grain was a welcome

one, then. But Wise was surprised

when Luna Lab started to ask for other

waste material as well. “The volume

of yeast and hop matter that we have

is also quite large and can very easily

be forgotten about, especially in

comparison to malt,” says Wise. But

until now, no further uses have been

found for this material. Much of it,

Wise suspects, ends up being washed

down the drain despite that being

illegal. “You'll get in a lot of trouble with

Thames Water,” she says.

The less energy, brute

force and electricity we

use, the better

In Luna Lab’s workshop these deadend

materials are given new life. Early

prototypes tell of how Pippin, Bondar

and Guldbaek were still discovering

their process, which involves

dehydrating the raw ingredients,

blending them and mixing them with

organic fixatives, and using a heat press.

“We're trying to keep the processes

to a minimum so there's not going to

be a brute force, like there usually is

in manufacturing,” says Guldbaek.

“So it's natural material and sticks

to the sustainability theme. The less

energy we use, the less brute force and

electricity we use, the better.“

This means there is no need for a gas

mask, no health and safety concerns

for the maker or the end user. “This is

completely transforming or reimagining

the way things are made,” says Bondar.

Luna Lab say their processes are so

clean that you can eat off the same

surface where the material is made.

I pick up a chunk of the stuff, slightly

smaller than a tennis ball. It is much

lighter than it looks, with a slightly

rough texture, but strong too. It is the

murky greenish colour of used hops.

“All the materials that you see here are

100% natural,” Bondar tells me. “There

is nothing toxic added. It's all organic.

This is just one piece from an array of

experiments. Most of them are flat, with

differing densities and textures. Some

are smooth, some rough. Some are thin,

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SOMETHING FROM NOTHING

almost flexible, like dried seaweed or

leather. Some are thicker, almost like

wood. They hope to develop material

strong enough to replace plywood or

chipboard, that can be used to make

furniture or even structural elements

for taprooms and bars.

Most exciting of all is the material

made from Wild Card’s blackcurrant

beer sediment. It is immediately

appealing. I find myself wanting to

touch it again and again, to pick it up

and manipulate it in my hands. To

smell it. Hell, I really want to chew on

it. (But I manage to refrain from that.) It

is a vibrant deep red, semitransparent

with a satin sheen. It is soft and pliable,

smooth on one side and textured on the

other. It looks like fruit leather.

Luna Lab are moving fast and

have already moved beyond simply

producing materials. They also have

prototype products: beer mats and

cutlery. Guldbaek explains that the

material made from spent grains is

particularly suited to these uses. “The

beauty is they're not 100% waterproof.

But when it comes to cutlery and single

cutlery and plastic, we don't want it to

be forever. We want it to last as long as

I'm eating my sandwich, and then we

want it to disappear and be part of a

natural circle again.”

Luna Labs cutlery can be composted

after use, or simply thrown in

the ground where it will quickly

decompose. It can even be implanted

with seeds that will germinate and grow

where the cutlery is buried.

At Wild Card, Wise is already excited

about this. “That would be brilliant

if you had something that was stable

enough for you to eat with, but would

break down in a few weeks. So it

wouldn't have lasting effects. We do a

lot of stuff with food vendors here, and

we have so many plastic forks and stuff

like that. Plastic consumables, so many

we have to throw away. So for us, that

sort of stuff would be great.”

As for the fruit-leather-like material,

Bondar says they see it replacing

food packaging. It could easily wrap

around the sort of street food served

at taprooms or festivals, where people

often eat standing up and plates are

not really practical. This material too

would decompose quickly once it was

no longer required.

As you might imagine, Luna Lab

are not the only company looking to

unlock the hidden value of brewery

byproducts. Marmite has been making

its yeast extract in Burton-on-Trent

since 1902 using spent yeast. Now

Dutch startup FUMI Ingredients has

developed a method of extracting

protein from spent yeast that can

be used as a vegan replacement

for egg whites. “Egg whites are the

hardest ingredients to replace in food

products,” says its co-founder Corjan

van den Berg.

Van den Berg tells me the interest

they have received in their egg white

replacer is “really truly overwhelming”.

Food companies, in particular those

producing vegetarian products, have

been quick to see the potential. “They

ditch their egg whites ingredient,

replace it with ours, and then instead

of just having a vegetarian product they

now can become vegan.”

It’s not just vegans who stand

to gain from FUMI’s new product.

Van den Berg found that 1kg of egg

whites represents about 40kg of

CO2 equivalent. “It's really a huge

From left: Nanna Guldbaek, Poppy Pippin & Oksana Bondar

environmental burden,” he says. But

FUMI’s egg white replacement can offer

a significant reduction in greenhouse

gas emissions. “You only need 1kg of

CO2 equivalent to produce the spent

yeast; we will also have about 1kg of

CO2 emissions in our process. So in

the end you end up with something like

2kg of CO2 per kilogram of egg white

replacer, and that of course means a

95% reduction of CO2 equivalent. So

it's a huge, huge step.”

Van den Berg, an engineer, says he

hates to see inefficiencies in our society,

but that sometimes these can also be

opportunities. “There are so many

beautiful things coming together here

where you get the opportunity to go for

a vegan product which is made from

what you could otherwise consider a

waste stream. That is the beauty for me.

This is what I'm really excited about.”

While FUMI’s egg white replacer is

aimed at commercial customers, you

may well see Luna Lab’s products in

your own hands before long. Bondar

tells me Luna Lab has already received

a lot of interest from people wanting

to place orders, and they have found

a manufacturer ready to make their

products at scale. Wise is amazed at the

determination displayed by Guldbaek,

Pippin and Bondar. “I can't believe how

quickly they did it, from concept to

actual product.” Of the blackcurrant

beer she says: “The beers weren't even

packaged yet. The beer was in tank still.

And they've already made that fruit

leather type thing.”

This is completely

transforming or reimagining

the way things are made

This is just the beginning for Luna Lab,

who have hit upon one of those ideas

that seem so obviously good it’s hard to

believe no one has thought of it before.

Guldbaek, Bondar and Pippin are ready

to make an impact on the world, just

months after graduating from university.

As I prepare to leave our interview, Pippin

mentions one last request: she wants me

to tell the world that Luna Lab needs

funds. Investors, get your wallets out. I

think this has the potential to be big.

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Bartender, there is

WORDS: Matthew Curtis

One of the greatest things about

being a beer lover in the

modern age must surely be the

proliferation of excellent sour, funky

and wild ales. From geuze and lambic,

to pale ales dosed with Brettanomyces

(a strain of yeast that creates funky,

fruity flavours as it ferments), rustic

saisons and fruit infused kettle sours

like Berliner wiesse or gose—the

choice is broad if you’re fond of a dab

of acidity in your beers.

And as more of these styles of

beer are created by brewers, so too

does our understanding of how they

are made deepen. This could be an

increased awareness of how to slow or

speed up wild fermentations through

temperature control, or fine tuning

one’s palate to create the very best

blends, carefully balancing notes of

sweetness and acidity to create a

A Beginners Guide to Identifying THP

better end product.

It could even help us understand

the formation of off flavours and how

to best detect and, in turn, eliminate

them, helping us make better beer in

the process.

The understanding of many

common off flavours is growing, not

just within the brewing industry,

but by drinkers too. Knowing how

to detect compounds such as the

butterscotch-laden diacetyl (formed

by yeast during fermentation) or the

balsamic-tinged acetic acid (produced

by the aptly named bacteria,

acetobacter) is becoming much more

commonplace as more of us seek to

further understand what should and

shouldn’t be in our beer.

Understanding off flavours is

increasingly important, even for casual

drinkers, because knowing when a

in my beer

product is faulty gives us a chance to

hold our hands up and say so. And

if we are able to communicate that

something we are supposed to enjoy

is faulty, then this should, hopefully,

equip producers with the knowledge

that they need to improve, raising the

standard of beer for all of us.

However, some off flavours are still

widely misunderstood, or just not very

well-known at all, such as the subject

of this essay: tetrahydropyridine—

known as “THP” for short.

If you enjoy wine or cider as well

as sour beers, you may already be

familiar with THP, or “mouse” as

it’s more commonly referred to

outside of beer. So-called because

it produces an aroma akin to mouse

urine. Understandably however,

not everyone is familiar with this

particular aroma. Although if you’ve

ever had to clean out the habitat of

a hamster or gerbil, for example, you

may have noted the smell of stale

breakfast cereal that is produced by a

rodent's number ones.

If you taste a beer, wine or cider

that is showing THP, you’re most likely

to detect this stale flavour right at the

back of your palate as you swallow.

This is due to THP reacting with the

acidity of your palate, and also can

mean it might take a few sips until

you do taste it. It becomes easier to

taste the more you drink, and the

pH of your palate begins to increase.

To taste it can recall the flavour of a

popular o-shaped breakfast cereal, or

leading corn tortilla chip brand.

Hopefully you’ve just read the above

and gone “ah, that’s what that flavour

is” but don’t worry if you haven’t.

Everyone tastes differently and some

people are more sensitive to some

flavours than others. As an example,

I am very sensitive to both diacetyl

and THP, but I struggle to detect high

levels of astringency, which is why I

am fond of very bitter beers.

If you haven’t tasted THP before

then don’t worry, you might be very

lucky, (unless you make sour beers, in

which case you need to find a friend

who can) as actually only around

70% of people can actually taste it.

If, like me, you can, then I share your

pain, unless you are one of those rare

people that actually professes to enjoy

this flavour...

The purpose of this article is to

hopefully help you understand the

basics of how THP is formed, how to

detect it, and why it’s bad for beer. I

also hope to look at the term “mouse”,

as I don’t think it’s a particularly useful

descriptor, and one that beer should

avoid adopting if more people are to

understand why THP makes a beer

faulty.

Ultimately, my belief is that if more

of us understand why something is

faulty, then we can not only learn how

best to communicate this, but also

contribute to making better beer for

everyone in the future.

The hamster dance

According to the highly useful “Milk

the Funk” wiki—an inexhaustible

resource on sour beers—THP is

formed largely by various strains

of Brettanomyces as it metabolises

amino acids during fermentation.

Variants of THP can also be formed

by lactic acid bacteria such as

Lactobacillus and Pediococcus.

As this piece is to help you, the

drinker, learn about the basics of this

66

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A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING THP

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flavour, why it exists and why it's bad,

I won’t go into too much scientific

detail, but at the footer of this piece

is a link to an in-depth report on this

published by Milk the Funk, should

you wish to delve deeper into the

subject. I can also recommend joining

their Facebook group, as it is a great

place for healthy discussion on the

production of sour and funky beers.

According to Richard Priess of

Canada’s Escarpment Labs, “Only a

small subset of hardcore sour fans

who may dive deep enough to know

what THP is and identify it.”

Escarpment is a yeast lab providing

liquid yeast pitches for Canadian

craft breweries. It also offers indepth

quality control services for

its customers. Priess has been

heavily involved in the research and

prevention of THP forming in beer

and kindly contacted me during my

own research to share some of his

work and offer further insight.

“THP tends to only occur in sour,

mixed fermentation, spontaneous, and

Brett beers,” Preiss tells me. “Most of

our work [at Escarpment Labs] has

been on the practical side, educating

customers on how THP is formed and

how it can be avoided or mitigated,

based on existing knowledge.”

Preiss believes that relatively

limited awareness of THP when

compared to more common faults

such as diacetyl or light strike is due

to sour beers still being relatively

niche. Despite this field growing it still

occupies only a tiny fraction of the

brewing market, which means that—

unless you have come to sour beer via

the world of natural wine or cider—it

could be that you haven’t tasted it yet.

And if you have, you may not have

known it at the time.

At Escarpment Labs most of the

work done by Preiss and his team

has been on education. Their aim is

to educate customers on how THP is

formed and in turn teach how it can

be avoided or mitigated. But this isn’t

as easy as you might think.

THP tends to only occur

in sour, mixed fermentation,

spontaneous, and Brett beers

“Unfortunately, researching THP is

quite expensive as the compounds are

really tricky to measure directly,”

Preiss says. “That being said,

we are looking at ways to

reproducibly produce THP

in the lab from Brett and

Lacto [he also says it's

surprisingly elusive], and

once we've cracked

that, we can start to at

least study formation

and reduction of

THP using sensory

methods.”

In attempting to find a solution

to mitigating the THP problem in

sour beers, Preiss’ work has revealed

that the sour or Bretted beers in

which it form “benefit strongly” from

conditioning in package. Meaning that

“live” or “bottle conditioned” beers are

less susceptible to developing THP as

the yeast present in the beer should

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FERMENT MAGAZINE 69


A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING THP

clean up any dissolved

oxygen in the beer.

Strains of Brettanomyces will also

break down the THP they produce

over time, meaning that a beer

containing live Brett should clean

itself up in due course—if given the

right conditions to do so. This is great

news if you’re hoarding a collection of

sours or lambics, as it means that any

faulty bottles may improve with age.

However, this means that if THP is

present in a kettle or “quick” sour, such

as a Berliner weisse or fruited gose, it’s

not going anywhere. If you’re detecting

cereal or corn chip flavours in these

beers, best to drop the brewery in

question a polite email to let them

know there’s mouse in your beer.

But is mouse a useful term for this

off-flavour? Reiss agrees that it can

be accurate, but I’m not so certain.

However, this is due to different people

perceiving THP

in different ways, as

Preiss explains.

“To one person, THP

might be intensely mousy, but to

another, it may taste like stale

cereal,” he says. “That's why

we tend to encourage multiple

descriptions for any single flavour

compound.”

Cereal killer

Dominique “Do” Bongers,

head of Fierce by Nature—

the mixed fermentation

and barrel program at

Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer—is

constantly on the lookout

for potential faults in

her beer. She describes

THP as having a cereal

or “muesli bar” taste, as

well as contributing to

an undesirable, “sticky”

mouthfeel in the beer.

Fierce by Nature is

a very new project—only launching

its first two beers at the 2019 London

Craft Beer Festival (to many plaudits,

I must add)—and Bongers has been

meticulous in her process to avoid

the development of off-flavours in her

work.

“In my Fierce by Nature unit I have

a tap, and every Wednesday I taste

the process of the beers, both keg and

bottles,” she says. “They need at least

one month in the warm room; when

cleared they can go out as

finished goods.”

The reason for this

conditioning time is

that yeast such as

Brettanomyces will

get stressed during

packaging. With no

more nutrients to feed on, a high

alcohol environment and a lack of

oxygen it will begin producing off

flavours, such as THP.

“No matter how you package the

beer, there will be changes in pH and

carbonation, because if you want it

or not, conditioning will take place if

you have dissolved oxygen pick up,”

Bongers says. “In a way, it is as simple

as waiting for Brett to clean THP up,

but if you give it the right conditions

you can reduce the conditioning time

to about a month.”

Perhaps most presciently, Bongers

states that time is only useful in

clearing up THP if you know what it

is and can identify it in beer in the

first place. Breweries making sour

or Bretted beers often don’t have

the time or financial resources to do

their own detailed research into it

either, which

is why the work carried

out by folks like Richard Preiss at

Escarpment labs is so valuable.

To one person, THP

might be intensely mousy,

but to another, it may

taste like stale cereal

What’s equally as important is

that as drinkers we arm ourselves

with a little knowledge so that we

can identify off flavours such as THP,

so that in turn we can open useful

dialogs with the people that make

our beer, and hopefully help them

improve where necessary. I admit it’s

not our responsibility as consumers to

help breweries with this. But I do like

to think of craft beer as a community

where these conversations can be had

openly, for the

betterment of beer.

So don’t be afraid of dropping a

brewery a polite email if you suspect

you’ve a faulty beer.

The only remaining issue for me is

the term “mouse.” While I understand

that everyone tastes differently, I’m

not so sure that going around smelling

mouse urine and comparing it to

you beer is best practise. What I do

recommend however, is spending

plenty of time sampling all the

wonderful sour and Bretted beers out

there so as to further our knowledge,

and in turn our enjoyment of these

fabulous mixed culture beers.

“Brewers who invest time in [mixed

fermentation] projects do this out

of love for the yeast, hard work and

patience that gives all these beers

their own story,” Bongers says. “We

share our knowledge so every batch

will taste better, so more people can

enjoy it and will drink more of it.”

Source: Milk the Funk Wiki —

http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/

Tetrahydropyridine

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RECIPES & PHOTOS: Alex Paganelli

FOOD STYLIST: Joshua Noon

Herring

Ahoi

This month, Alex Paganelli serves up

three dishes inspired by one of Finland's

most beloved ingredients: Herring

Breakfast buckwheat blini

Beetroot mayo, fried egg and Herring roe

For buckwheat blini:

• 60g of plain flour

• 60g of buckwheat flour

• 160g of water

• 1 egg (separated)

• pinch of salt

For beetroot mayo:

• 50g of pickled beetroot

• 100g mayonnaise

Place the flour and salt in a bowl and

mix well. Add the water and whisk until

super smooth. Add the egg yolk and set

aside.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg

white to soft peaks, and gently fold into

the batter.

In a small processor blend the

beetroot until you have a smooth puree.

Add the mayo and stir well. Season to

taste.

To assemble:

Heat a little oil in a non stick pan, and

spoon in some of the blini batter. I like

to use an 8cm ring to keep a neat round

shape.

Cook for a couple of minutes on

medium heat and flip. Carry on cooking

until both sides are golden brown.

Place the blini on a plate, and in

the same pan add a little more oil if

necessary and fry the egg.

Once the egg is cooked, place onto

the blini, add a spoon of the beetroot

mayo, a generous spoon of Herring roe

and some chopped chives.

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Pickled plate of herring

Carrots, onions and mustard seeds

• 5 fillets of pickled herring

(buy a good quality fish

from your fish monger)

• 1 carrot

• 1 white onion or shallot

• 1 small handful of dill

• 2 tbsp of mustard seeds

• 500ml of white vinegar

• 500ml of water

• 1 tbsp of salt

• 3 tbsp of sugar

Start by pickling the vegetables: dice

the carrots and place in a bowl. Slice the

onion and place in another bowl. Then

in a third bowl place the mustard seeds.

Heat the vinegar, water, sugar and

salt. Once it reaches boiling point, pour

onto the vegetables and mustard seeds.

Leave until completely cooled.

On a plate lay out the pickled herring

fillets. Garnish with the diced pickled

carrots, onions and mustard seeds. Top

off with the dill, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve with some rye bread.

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Herring Soup

For the broth:

• 2 herring heads, middle

bones and tails

• 1 leek (green part only)

• 1 white onion

• 3 cloves of garlic

• 1/2 red chilli

• a few springs of dill

• 1 litre of water

For the soup:

• 250g of new potatoes

• 2 carrots

• 1 leek (you can use the

remaining parts of the one

used for the broth)

• 1 handful of parlsey

• 1 handful of hen of the

woods, or any other

mushroom you can find

Heat some oil in a pot and add all the

vegetables (roughly chopped). Sear for

a few minutes until lightly brown on the

edges. Add a pinch of salt.

Cover with water and add the fish

bones and dill. Cover and cook for

about 30 minutes or until the broth is

flavourful enough to your taste. Season

again if necessary. Sieve and discard all

the vegetables. Reserve the fish heads if

you want to serve the soup with it.

In a clean pot, add the clean and

sieved broth, chopped carrots and

potatoes. Cook until ‘al dente’. Add

the leeks and continue cooking for 5

minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook

for another 3 minutes. Finally add the

chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Add the fish heads to your bowl if you

want the extra drama.

FERMENT MAGAZINE 77


a wander

a pint

Tom Pears hits reset on the madness of the world

Let’s be honest, 2019 hasn’t been

great has it? Actually, it’s been

pretty brutal. Every day seems

to bring new turmoil, whether it’s the

ongoing Brexit saga, environmental

catastrophes or a disgusting new

soundbite from the Troll in Chief. All

the ingredients for an introduction

to a dystopian thriller – before the

‘event’ that turns most of humanity

into blood-thirsty mutant zombies –

are present and correct. Sometimes a

soft reset is necessary, to escape the

suffocating mundane routines and

pressures of everyday life. Personally, I

always find inner peace and sanctuary

in the countryside. The great thing

is that you don’t have to be Bear

Grylls to appreciate the wilderness;

if planned strategically, a tactical trip

to a local inn can further this mood

of accomplishment, plus a pint of

hand-pulled bitter has unique soothing

powers for sore feet.

I am sitting outside the glorious

Prince of Wales pub in Kennington

with my friend Joe, observing a convoy

of Alan Partridges rolling up in vintage

Jaguars, Lotuses and Austin-Healeys.

I mention to him my desire for a bit

of fresh air, probably accentuated

by inhaling the fumes of twelve old

sports cars. In typical nonchalant

fashion he says, “well, next week I’m

heading up to Spurn Point, come

along”. I quickly go to Google as he’s

ordering at the bar. Spurn Point is a

shard-shaped tidal island that slices

in to the Humber estuary, home to

a nature reserve, sand dunes and a

lighthouse. Joe’s going to take photos

for his degree, and I’m happy to tag

along, hoping to find lizards and bore

him about wading birds. During the

walk home, there is a noticeable spring

in my step; finally I can escape London

for just a few days, the binoculars and

toothbrush are packed, I am ready to

greet Yorkshire once more.

It sounds quite odd for someone who

was born and lived in the badlands

of the Essex/Hertfordshire border

his whole life to have such a love and

affinity with Yorkshire. Things in the

sky fascinated me, from Peregrine

falcons to stories of duelling fighter

pilots. I became a keen birder,

ornithology was the longest word

I knew at that point and I still love

wheeling it out at every available

opportunity. So Yorkshire became a

favourite destination; my dad didn’t

mind the driving, there was plenty

to see and do and it was cheap. And

I always found myself contented,

drowning in my oversized raincoat

and armed with my trusty pair of

binoculars. Our little family of three

weren’t exactly professional ramblers,

but we liked to wander, safe in the

knowledge there was a pub nearby for

my parents to while away a few hours.

The basecamp for our expedition

to Spurn Point is Joe’s hometown of

York, a city I know very well. I still

have my felt Norman helmet from the

Jorvik centre and, embarrassingly, it

still fits. Naturally, Joe and I wander the

cobbled streets and venture into many

of the city’s watering holes. The House

of Trembling Madness for a sour, then

to the Market Cat to explore its range

of Thornbridge brews. The following

morning though, it’s all business, with

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A WANDER AND A PINT

walking on our minds. We carefully

load up the car with photography

equipment and then we begin our

odyssey.

Upon arrival, we are met with a stiff,

cool breeze that rattles our cheeks,

instantly shaking the cobwebs away

from the night before. Spurn Point is an

eerie place, a coastal wilderness where

nature has taken back control. What

remnants of humanity remain have

either decayed or been whittled away

by erosion. The fact there are a few

abandoned ex-military bunkers and

pillboxes dating back to the First World

War makes it feel even more eerie and

sinister. The only building intact is the

imposing black and white lighthouse

that stands proudly resolute. There are

signs everywhere, warning wanderers

to always watch the tide as the

‘washover’ can quickly bisect the point,

stranding unaware walkers. Mother

Nature is very much in charge here.

Spurn Point is an eerie

place, a coastal wilderness

where nature has taken

back control

The wind continues to rattle, blowing

sand up into our faces. We wade

through long grass to the beach, where

we stand in silence for what feels like

an age. I keep rushing my binoculars

up to my eyes, thinking I’d glimpsed

a whale or a dolphin, but it’s just the

waves playing tricks on me (combined

with my dreadful eyesight). As we

turn to head down the coast, a lone

doe gazes at us from the long grass

on a bank across from us. A peaceful

Mexican standoff ensues, as the waves

blow in and petulant seagulls squawk

above us. She pops her head down to

graze and we slink off to explore once

more.

Crawling up the deceptively steep

sand dunes is tough work, but a mere

warm-up for the next exercise. For £4,

you can ascend the tallest lighthouse

in Northern England, the panoramic

views more than compensating for the

five minutes of gruelling uphill struggle.

We drift on for miles, on instinct and

curiosity, from hide to hide, ticking

off species of bird and butterfly as we

go, while scanning the horizon for any

activity at sea. Understandably, we have

both worked up a thirst at this point,

so it is only fitting that our last port of

call should be the nearby Crown and

Anchor pub, a stone’s throw from the

visitor centre. Guzzling down a pint of

bitter, I realise that my reset button has

firmly been pushed. Even with sand in

my eyes and my legs feeling like they

are on fire, I can’t help but feel relaxed,

for the first time in weeks. I am as zen

as a Shaolin monk watching the waves

rock back and forth. The simple but

effective technique of ‘the wander and

a pint’ has worked its majestic magic

once more.

80 FERMENT MAGAZINE

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yes ipa

Sori Brewing

ESTONIA

FINLAND

Nordic rhapsody

Helsinki Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.5% Enjoy at 8°-10°C

Style: West Coast IPA

ABV: 5% Enjoy at 8°-10°C

Style: Session IPA

TASTING NOTES

Gluten-free IPA with all the taste! This refreshing IPA

is hopped with Mosaic and Centennial. A lot of fresh

pineapple, tangerine and floral notes. One of those

beers you easily drink at least twice.

SORI BREWING

Backed by crowdfunding

investors, Sori Brewing is on a

mission to make the world more

fun with better craft beer. Started

by two Finns who moved away

from their home country to brew

without compromises. Only

two years later this brewery has

one of the biggest barrel aging

programs in Europe and ships to

over a dozen countries.

HELSINKI BREWING CO.

Beer born in Helsinki, brewed

in contract breweries using

Finnish malts and HBC recipes.

Brewery hail their inspiration

from Nordic nature and modern

Helsinki city life. Most beers are

glimpses, chaotic notes from a

recipe book and even experiments

of a madman, Heikki Uotila

(also the co-founder of Sori

Brewing). Helsinki Brewing are

shameless, quality-oriented

and use no gimmicks.

TASTING NOTES

This lightweight beast is hopped with Simcoe,

Cascade and Centennial hops, packed with

tropical fruit, grapefruit and hints of piney notes.

Easy drinking! Ideal pairing for foods like curry

and spicy Asian dishes.

Coffee gorilla

Sori Brewing

ESTONIA

FINLAND

greetings from helsinki

Helsinki Brewing Co.

ABV: 7% Enjoy at 11°-13°C

Style: Baltic Porter

ABV: 5.5% Enjoy at 8°-10°C

Style: West Coast IPA

TASTING NOTES

Brewed with six different

malts and smooth espresso.

Loads of roasty malt flavors

with dark chocolate and

mellow alcohol tones. Pair

this beer with everything

chocolate. Coffee Gorilla

is also a great dessert! This

is the first ever gluten-free

Baltic Porter in the world.

TASTING NOTES

A perfect thirst-quenching

IPA packed with tropical fruit,

grapefruit and pineapple

notes. Classic lighter West

Coast IPA with superb

drinkability and balanced

flavor palette.

84 FERMENT MAGAZINE

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Burro – Särtsakas Eesel

Õllenaut

ESTONIA

FINLAND

go west ipa

Lumi Brewing

ABV: 5.3% Enjoy at 6°-8°C

Style: Pale Ale

ABV: 6% Enjoy at 7°C

Style: West Coast IPA

TASTING NOTES

Pours slightly hazy dark golden to amber with a fairly

modest head. Taste is fruity, malty with a spicy aroma

with hoppy notes and a slight spicy warmth. Moderate

sweetness and caramel on the finish.

ÕLLENAUT

Õllenaut’s story started in

2009, when brewmaster Ilmar

couldn’t find any interesting

beers from the shop and began

homebrewing. Within few years

the demand for his beer grew

among friends. Ilmar teamed up

with Urmas in 2012 and founded

Õllenaut. First beers were

released on November, 26th 2013.

Õllenaut uses local ingredients,

in the belief that every beer must

have a unique local character.

LUMI BREWING

Lumi Brewing Company is a

fresh craft beer brewery based

out of Espoo, Finland since

2018. They're producing vivid

and flavoursome beers for

trendier and seasonal brews to

compliment their core range.

Lumi Brewing mission is simple

- to serve fresh craft beer with

vibrant taste profiles!

TASTING NOTES

Go West is hopped with Magnum, Centennial,

Simcoe, Chinook and Amarillo. It’s malty mouthfeel

with a pine-resin and grapefruit flavour profile

brings out refreshing characteristics for that West

Coast thirst quencher with a great amount of

subtle bitterness.

Suitsu Porter

Õllenaut

ESTONIA

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Lumi Brewing x 71 Brewing

ABV: 5.4% Enjoy at 8°-10°C

Style: Robust Porter

ABV: 5.2% Enjoy at 7°C

Style: Black IPA

TASTING NOTES

First sip is less than average

bodied and smoky-sour.

Middle taste is dominated

by scorched malt sourish

bitterness with nice caramelly

background. Final taste

resembles burnt sugar

candy with hint of sparky

spices. Smokiness retreats in

refreshingly rich aftertaste,

giving room to pleasant

sourish-spicy black plums.

TASTING NOTES

Musta Lumi is a Black West

Coast IPA using Simcoe,

Willamette, Chinook and

Columbus hops giving a

great West Coast flavor. An

emerging beer style roughly

defined as a beer with IPA-level

hopping with a distinct toasty

dark malt character. This was

made in collaboration with the

wonderful people at 71 Brewing

from Dundee!

86 FERMENT MAGAZINE

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mosaic lager

Pyynikin Brewing Co.

FINLAND

FINLAND

vanilla stout

Pyynikin Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.7% Enjoy at 6°-10°C

Style: Lager

ABV: 6.8% Enjoy at 12°-18°C

Style: Stout

TASTING NOTES

Refreshing American lager, dry hopped with a

large amount of Mosaic hops with a pleasant

aroma. Excellent all-day-beer.

PYYNIKIN BREWING CO.

Crafting from the forests of

Finland based in Tampere,

Pyynikin brewery has grown

from being a small producer

to one of the largest craft

breweries in Finland. They

believe pure craft beer comes

from the heart and soul.

Combined with the finest

ingredients, purest water of

Finland and good karma.

TASTING NOTES

Coffee aroma, balanced with

hints of vanilla and a fresh

roasted malt profile. A sweet

and smooth espresso finish.

Mango Watermelon Milkshake

Pyynikin Brewing Co.

FINLAND

FINLAND

Cloudberry Saison

Pyynikin Brewing Co.

ABV: 4% Enjoy at 6°-8°C

Style: Milkshake IPA

ABV: 5% Enjoy at 6°-10°C

Style: Saison

TASTING NOTES

This beer is infused with

natural watermelon and

mango. Awesome hop gun

dry-hopping creates a deep

hints of grapefruit. It is all

crowned with lactose that

finalises the milkshake style.

TASTING NOTES

Finnish speciality using

our own cloudberry

picked during the height

of summer. Fresh, bit

spicy, berryish, hoppy,

high carbonated and easy

drinking saison beer.

88 FERMENT MAGAZINE

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ABV: 4.5% Enjoy at 8°-12°C

Style: American Pale Ale

MAKU BREWING

Maku Brewing is a Finnish

microbrewery set up in 2014 and

located in Tuusula, around 30 km

north of Helsinki. We are a group

of guys who love a good beer

and strive to make our own mark

on exceptional quality craft beer,

and make it available as widely as

possible. “Maku” means taste in

Finnish. We’re confident you’ll be

able to tell why we chose the name.

TASTING NOTES

Floral aroma on the nose with citrus fruit from

Mosaic hops, light body and a hint of malt.

Finishes with a slight hoppy bitterness.

ESTONIA

Sauna Session

Tanker

ABV: 4.7% Enjoy at 8°-10°C

Style: Estonian Birch Ale

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you invite your friends along.

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TANKER

3 homebrewers started Tanker in

2014 to reshape the beer market in

the Nordic-Baltic region and now

it's one of the largest and wellknown

craft breweries in Estonia.

The strength of Tanker is the well

balanced and delicious beers that

also appeal to the mainstream

consumer. The bold and captivating

labels capture the bold flavors and

styles of Tanker beers.

TASTING NOTES

The essence of a traditional sauna captured in

a can. Brewed with real Estonian birch leaves,

Sauna Session is a smooth, intriguingly aromatic,

refreshing experience with a pleasant malty finish.

Perfect companion in the sauna, at the dinner table

or just to quench your thirst.

90 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 91


COCKTAIL OF

THE MONTH:

WHITE LADY

HOW TO MAKE

WHITE LADY

INGREDIENTS:

• 40ml Fynoderee Manx Dry Gin

(Winter Edition)

• 20ml Cointreau liqueur

• 25ml fresh lemon juice

• 5-10ml sugar syrup

• 1 egg white

METHOD:

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and

dry shake (without ice), add cubed ice and

shake again. Double strain into a chilled

coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel

twist to the side of the glass.

As hard as it is to swagger up to a

bar and tell the archly cool girl with

the piercings that you’d like a White

Lady please (and a pint of Tennent’s for your

girlfriend) the rewards are arguably worth it.

It’s not a complicated cocktail, but the flavour

combination of gin, triple sec and lemon juice

is a stone-cold classic. It was also invented by

Scotsman Harry MacElhone, albeit working in

London’s Ciro’s Club, so if anyone asks I’ll just

tell them it’s an expression of national pride.

This early London formulation used white

crème de menthe, which Harry eventually

swapped out for gin a decade later when

he was running his own bar in Paris, thank

goodness. There are many variations on

the theme of course, and many bartenders

will include egg white to give the drink

smoothness and a pleasing head (I usually

do this because it gives guests the false

impression that I know what I’m doing). If

you’re using a dry triple sec, it might also be

a good idea to add a dash of sugar syrup to

balance things out a bit. Have a bash and see

what works.

We’ve gone with a variation from the Isle of

Man called a ‘moon gazer’ and used Fynoderee

Manx Dry Gin.

92 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 93


This month, Louise Crane delves into the Baltic nations’ long-standing

love of strong, dark British and Irish beer styles

In the early 18th century, the English struck brewing

gold when experimenting with darker ale styles,

leading to the creation of the porter (named for

the working class who drank it), and the stout or stout

porter not long after. These were relatively easydrinking

brews with a small percentage of highly

roasted malt, resulting in a dark brown, toffee-flavoured

brew fit for not only the masses, but, according to

legend, a king too. It is oft-repeated that while visiting

England in 1698, the Russian Czar Peter the Great (1672-

1725) fell in love with stout beers, requesting that some

be sent to the Imperial Court in Russia. And so began

the story of how British and Irish brewers changed the

traditional beer cultures of St Petersberg and the Baltic

ports.

But like most historical stories that are oft-repeated,

this one isn’t actually true. Peter the Great would have

had to use a time machine to drink London Porter,

which was first brewed two decades after his visit,

around 1720. When he died in 1725, porter was still

barely known, even in London. It was, in fact, Empress

Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796) who was

very much a fan of porter and Russian Stout was

first brewed by Ralph Thrale’s Anchor Brewery in

Southwark, London for the Russian Court around the

1760's, when Catherine the Great was Tsarina. In 1781,

Henry Thrale’s brewery was bought out by Barclay

Perkins, who became a notable exporter to Russia

(keeping the Thrale’s name for some of its brews). The

landscape painter Joseph Farington wrote in his diary

for August 20 1796: “I drank some Porter Mr Lindoe

had from Thrale’s Brewhouse. He said it was specially

brewed for the Empress of Russia and would keep

seven years.”

The author of The History and Antiquities of the

Parish of St. Saviour, Southwark said of Thrale’s beer

at that time, "The reputation and enjoyment of Porter

is by no means confined to England. As proof of the

truth of this assertion, this house exports annually very

large quantities; so far extended are its commercial

connections that Thrale’s Entire [a contemporary name

for stout porter] is well known, as a delicious beverage,

from the frozen regions of Russia to the burning sands

of Bengal and Sumatra. The Empress of All Russia

is indeed so partial to Porter that she has ordered

repeatedly very large quantities for her own drinking

and that of her court."

There are more stories that should be paid no heed,

The reputation and enjoyment

of Porter is by no means

confined to England

such as that the first dispatch of beer for Russia either

spoiled or froze on the journey, so the second was

supped-up in terms of hops and alcoholic strength to

withstand the voyage. According to beer historian Ron

Pattinson, “It was strong because the Russian Court

wanted the very best and were a bunch of pissheads.”

Incidentally, the Russians were also keen on another

strong English brew in the 18th century, Burton Ale. But

on March 31, 1822 the Russian government introduced

a new tariff that banned almost every article of British

manufacture. Porter, however, (and this included what

we would now call stout) was left out of this new ruling.

The Burton ale trade to the Baltic was scuppered, but

British porter brewers could send as much of the black

stuff to St Petersburg as they wanted.

According to beer historian Martyn Cornell, porter

was left alone presumably because it was the beer the

Russians felt they could not duplicate: “Although porter

was reported as being brewed in St Petersburg in 1801,

there was a long-standing myth that only Thames water

could make good porter, and certainly Russian porter

had a bad reputation later in the 19th century.” Of St

Petersburg’s attempts, one English writer complained

in 1841 that “The stuff manufactured here under the

name of porter is little better than the rincings [sic] of

blacking bottles.” The Russian tariff in 1822 encouraged

the London porter brewers and their imitators to carry

on brewing extremely strong stouts and exporting them

to the Baltics.

Russia was not the only destination for this

formidable brew. Brewers could send their wares to

innumerable ports within the Baltic Sea thanks to

a thriving British shipping industry and convenient

shipping routes. Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and the

Baltic states were all destinations of the exported dark

English brews, created by savvy brewers looking to take

advantage of the burgeoning demand from the market

abroad.

94 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 95


BEER SCHOOL: DARK BEERS AND THE BALTIC

Albert Le Coq played a pivotal role in the success of

Russian stout, a man of French Huguenot origin (though

who is regularly claimed to be Belgian) who earned his

living exporting beer from Britain to the Baltic. One

source, according to Cornell, suggests the trade was

prompted by the opportunity to fill the holds of the

returning fleets of ships that were now coming the other

way, from the Baltic to Britain, with cheap, high-quality

barley from Livonia (covering parts of modern Latvia

and Estonia) after the abolition in Britain in 1846 of the

Corn Laws, which had previously placed high tariffs on

imported grain.

Le Coq would receive beer from breweries such as

Barclay Perkins, bottle it under his own label and ship it

to the Baltic, including St. Petersburg and other Russian

cities. We can gauge the size of Le Coq’s business by

looking at the wreck of the motor sail ship Oliva in 1869

on its way from London to Danzig, which went down

in a storm on the reefs off the coast of Norway with a

cargo that included bottled beer from Barclay Perkins’s

brewery being exported under the A Le Coq name

worth £751 – perhaps £150,000 today.

Yet another legend has it that during the Crimean

War, Le Coq was awarded the Imperial Warrant of

Appointment thanks to his generous donation of 5,000

bottles of stout to wounded Russian soldiers in military

hospitals. In the early 20th century, Russia’s imposition

of heavy import duties forced Le Coq’s company to

brew Imperial stout inside the country’s boundaries. It

bought a brewery in the town of Tartu in Livon, which

is now the independent nation of Estonia, in 1913. In its

prospectus to potential investors in the brewery, Le Coq

said the operation would be able, once the brewery

plant had been extended, to supply “a first-class Stout at

a price within the reach of the general Russian public.”

Brewers in northern Europe and other Baltic

countries also attempted to replicate those strong

dark beers. To this day, each region gives its porter

a distinct stylistic interpretation. The further away

from England you get, the less these beers resemble

the originals. There were differences that impacted

brewing: the climate was decidedly colder in northern

and eastern environs, and the techniques were heavily

influenced by German bottom fermentation, especially

on the Continent. This is where the Baltic style of

porter really began to take shape. Generally speaking,

Slavic and Baltic breweries produce strong porters as

bottom-fermented lagers that resemble the German

bocks in strength and flavour, usually of higher abv

(alcohol by volume), and Scandinavian brewers use top

fermentation and their porters retain the dark roasted

malt character.

The first porter brewery in Sweden was established

in 1791 by Scotsman William Knox in Gothenburg. In

There was a long-standing

myth that only Thames water

could make good porter

1806, Napoleon put his Continental Blockade policy

into effect in retaliation for the British naval blockade

of the French coast. This had a major impact on

exports of beer and other British goods to the Baltic

Region, slowing if not completely stopping the trade. In

response to the British beer drought, breweries popped

up to produce their best imitation of the goods, even

after the blockade was lifted. In 1817, porter production

began at Lorentska Brewery in Gothenburg. In 1819,

a Russian named Nikolai Sinebrychoff, founded a

brewery in Helsinki, Finland and began producing a

porter in the Baltic style, a bit stronger and richer, but

still top fermented in the London tradition. And, despite

many Russians believing a good porter could not be

brewed in their home country, a few years later, in 1822,

another porter brewery was built in St. Petersburg.

Today, D. Carnegie and Co. (who bought out the

Lorentska brewery, Sweden’s largest brewery, in 1836)

produces a Baltic porter that is most like the original

porters of London. It’s called Stark Porter, and like a

London porter, it is of moderate strength, deep black,

and top fermented. According to the Carlsberg website,

Carnegie Porter is the oldest brand currently still

available for distribution in Sweden.

Over in Estonia, two old breweries founded in

the early part of the 19th century, Saku and Tartu (as

bought by Albert Le Coq), still produce potent and

flavourful porters. “Both are noticeably influenced by

central European lager brewing traditions even though

the country lies very close to Finland,” says K. Florian

Kemp on the All About Beer website. “They resemble

the strong lagers of Germany in many ways, and lack

some of the roasty character of their ancestor, London

porter.”

In Poland, the Archducal Brewery of Zywiec,

founded in 1856, started brewing a different type

of beer to their usual cold-fermented lagers, when

employee Julius Wagner came up with a recipe

based on English Baltic Porter. “Several breweries

now produce excellent strong porters,” says Kemp,

“These are the truly hybridized versions of the Baltic

style, and because of the bottom fermentation, the

mellowest.” Kemp continues, “Be wary; they are the

strongest as well, reaching 9.1 percent ABV. Rich

with licorice or molasses character and a wonderful

maltiness, they are not unlike doppelbocks from

Germany. The roasted character is subdued, which

allows the malt to shine through, and the brews take

on the deep mahogany colour of a dark lager.”

Today there are as many styles of imperial and

Baltic stout and porter as there are relatives on an

extended ancestral tree. Personalities have been

influenced by brewing style, yeast selection and what

goes into the mash bill, leading to rambunctious Polish

uncles and more balanced Swedish aunts. And all of

them, fit for a king.

96 FERMENT MAGAZINE FERMENT MAGAZINE 97


A

style whose roots are shrouded in

the mists of rural history but which,

legend has it, was brewed to quench

the thirst of farmhands and seasonal

workers in the heat of the Belgian summer.

Today's saison can range in strength from

a light session ale to around 10 percent

ABV. Malt is light and clean with a hint of

caramel and well balanced by peppery,

fresh noble hops on a super-dry base. The

yeast character dominates, though, and can

often be quite phenolic and spicy (some

brewers even add spice to compliment

this character), sometimes with a note

of tangy fruit. It's a broad style, so you'll

occasionally even catch a farmyard whiff of

Brettanomyces in there for good measure.

98 FERMENT MAGAZINE

FERMENT MAGAZINE 99


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