Thornbridge issues JenPour Update

THORNBRIDGE ISSUES JENPOUR UPDATE

A sad update from Thornbridge about Jenny Walker, the inspiration behind the brewery’s fundraising JenPour beer 

In June this year Sheffield Mum Jenny Walker was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer. A mum to three young girls, Nia (6), Cora (4) and Beth (1) this news was a shocking blow to her whole family. As a close friend of Thornbridge Brewery (she was also one of the first employees), founders Simon Webster and Jim Harrison felt compelled to offer their support. The aggressive nature of the disease meant that it had failed to respond to treatment, so they had to act fast.

Despite her devastating diagnosis Jenny and her family used their time to fundraise an enormous amount for charity and raise awareness of Bowel Cancer. With this in mind and as a way to leave a legacy for her children Simon and Jim decided that Jen deserved a chance to take the place of their flagship beer for a day. The idea was born and ‘Jaipur’ is to be renamed ‘JenPour’ on Friday 9th November. Not only this, but all proceeds from sales of ‘JenPour’ on the 9th November in Thornbridge pubs will then be donated to local Sheffield Cancer charity Weston Park Hospital.

Sadly, today (November 9), Thornbridge issued this statement.
‘We’re devastated to announce our dear friend Jenny won’t be around to pull the first pint of JenPour after losing her battle with cancer earlier this week.

‘Her husband Michael sent us some words about Jenny, which sum up what an incredible woman she was.

“For those of you who don’t know, Jenny died on Wednesday afternoon. She died at home, surrounded by her family.

There’s no getting round the fact that this is an absolute tragedy. Our three incredible little girls, Nia (7), Cora (4) and Beth (1) have lost their mummy, and there’s no age at which that isn’t earth-shatteringly awful.

I said when Elliott died in 2013 that up until then we had had so much good in our lives, we accepted that we had to take a share of some of the pain in the world. Well now it feels like we have all the pain in the world.

It’s impossible to sum her up, but if you knew her, you would have felt the difference her kindness, generosity and determination could make. She was incredible and I loved her from the moment I met her.

All she ever wanted to be was a mummy. And she is, and she was, and she always will be.”‘

The Thornbridge Brewery JenPour event in her honour will take place today as planned. If you’re in Sheffield, buy a beer, think of Jen and proceeds will go to Weston Park cancer hospital.

After receiving so many messages of support and people wanting to get involved who aren’t based in Sheffield We have decided to make the Jen Pour raffle available online as well as in our pubs. Prizes are still coming in and we have had some incredible prizes donated already.

We are also incredibly touched to announce that Camden Town Brewery are also donating the proceeds from their Cask of Jaipur and Kicking Horse UK, will also donate proceeds from any casks of Jaipur sold today through their distribution channels.’

Simon Webster CEO of Thornbridge Brewery says:
‘At such a devastating time for Jenny’s family we are truly moved by the actions of our peers in the industry as well as our customers. We have received hundreds of messages of support from people across the country as well as kind donations to help us to raise as much money as possible. A big thank you to Camden Town Brewery and Kicking Horse for their action. In 14 years of being a part of the Craft Beer Industry this is genuinely one of the kindest things we’ve seen.’

You can make a donation and be entered into the raffle here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jenpour
You can also text donate
Text POUR59 then your amount to donate to 70070
e.g: POUR59 £10


The Q&A Robert Middleton, Founder of London brewer Orbit

THE Q&A

Robert Middleton, Founder of London brewer Orbit

You’ve recently changed the brewery’s branding. Why?

We wanted our new branding to better represent who we are, what we stand for, our personality. We also wanted it to communicate all of that more strongly to the customer. We’re committed to making timeless styles with an eye for balance and finesse, we strongly value our independence and we love music. We really hope people love our new branding as much as we do.

Which beer of yours gets you thinking ‘yeah, I’m glad I am a brewer’?

That would have to be our Kölsch, Nico, which is our take on the traditional beers of Cologne. This beer has so much going on within it – it’s fragrant and light, with beautiful fruity esters from the Kölsch yeast, alongside herbal, slightly spicy Tettnang hops. Clean, balanced, dry and refreshing. Like Altbier, its an Obergäriges Lagerbier – warm fermentation followed by cold conditioning – genius.

What are you listening to at the moment and what is so good about it?

I’ve been hooked by the Lemon Twigs, Methyl Ethel and The Big Moon recently. Original, genuine, creative tunes with personality. Bands doing their own thing in the spirit of independent music. I’m off to End of the Road and Austin City Limits this year, so will hopefully discover some more new music.

You took a van around Scotland and visited loads of breweries — what’s your next expedition? Cycle about London and visiting pubs with Barclay Perkins livery still on them perhaps?

Brewing in London feels like a pretty exciting journey in itself, but we keep the spirit of travel alive with our annual team trips. Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bamberg have featured so far. Looks like Prague is the favourite next time around.

Do you think it takes a certain person to be a brewer and what is that certain something?

I got into brewing primarily because of the brewers I met on my tour. We probably all have our quirks, but share a passion for beer, a desire to create something special and a collaborative nature. It helps to let your heart rule your head most of the time.

Where are you going on holiday this summer?

Actually, we’re off tomorrow in our camper van Brian – star of the Scottish brewery tour. Probably head to France, but the joy of campervanning is that you can enjoy the journey without knowing your exact destination. A bit like starting a brewery.

First publishing in Issue 14 of Original Gravity.


Craft Beer Cares raises £10,000 for Art Against Knives

CRAFT BEER CARES RAISES £10,000 FOR ART AGAINST KNIVES

The event took place beneath the railway arches at London Fields Brewery in September and saw over 500 attendees enjoy beers from around the world. Photo by  Lily Waite 

Charity beer festival Craft Beer Cares has raised over £10,000 for North London-based charity Art Against Knives. The event took place beneath the railway arches at London Fields Brewery on the 29th and 30th September 2018 and saw over 500 attendees enjoy fantastic beers from around the world over the course of the weekend. Guests were also able to enjoy street food, coffee, nail painting and music from a range of DJs during the event.

“We’re ecstatic with raising over £10k this year,” Craft Beer Cares founder Gautam Bhatnagar says. “This was the culmination of a real team effort, and I really can’t thank enough all the people that volunteered their time, the breweries that donated their beer, and everyone at London Fields who hosted us at such a great venue. It’s always a real pleasure to work with so many dedicated people, who go the extra mile to help others.”

The festival was able to donate 93.97% from its takings of £10,758.00 after it had covered any outlying expenses. This means that Art Against Knives was the recipient of £10,109.35 in total. The charity works to reduce violent crime, supporting young people and their communities to enable positive, lasting change. The donation will be used to sustain and expand their creative youth work, supporting more young people across North London to achieve positive, lasting change.

The event was made possible by a team of 22 volunteers—many who work in within the beer industry full time—and beer that was donated by 37 breweries from the UK, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. The event was also supported by a donation of merchandise from Fifth Column, Billy Franks Jerky, Taylor St Baristas, Union Coffee Roasters, Square and Roxie’s BBQ. A total of 537 tickets were sold, and many hundreds of pints were enjoyed (in moderation) over the weekend.

“I’d also like to thank all the people who attended,” Bhatnagar added. “It was great seeing such a mix of people, whether they be craft beer aficionados looking to get something super special to people attending their first ever beer festival. It all made for a wonderful, inclusive atmosphere and I truly hope the event was enjoyed by all.”

Craft Beer Cares will return in earnest in 2019, but will continue to run smaller charity events in the lead up to next year’s festival.


Holding out for a hero

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

By Pete Brown

Moving from playground to boardroom to Instagram, Pete Brown charts beer’s journey from hero to zero and back again

1980s

“Did you see it? Did you see it?”

“Stop! Stop! We’re going round in circles!”

We all remember what it was like. You’re 12, and one of the most important veins of playground banter is repeating the latest sketch from your comedy idols. If you weren’t allowed to watch last night’s episode, you are no one. If you can remember more of the lines and catchphrases than anyone else, and get the funny voices right, you’re a classroom god.

Depending on your age, for you, it might have been Monty Python, The Young Ones, The Fast Show or Little Britain.

For me, it was adverts.

In the space between Python and the 1980s alternative comedy boom going mainstream, ads on TV seemed funnier than the programmes. Terry and June may have been critically rehabilitated now, but it was hell to live through the time when it set the standard for sitcoms.

Salvation came in commercial breaks. In the 1980s, it was considered rude to try to sell you something directly, so a good ad would make you laugh, move you or dazzle you, and then politely remind you of the product’s name at the end.

Beer ads bossed the box. Christopher Biggins was a Roman emperor sinking pints of lager; a young Jonathan Ross drank Harp to ‘stay sharp’; and back in ancient Rome, the slaves rowing on one side of a galley were refreshed by Heineken, while those on the other were given ‘another leading lager’, and our school playground had its latest catchphrase.

1990s

“Can we hero the product?”

Around the boardroom table, eyes roll.

Beer ads have had their teeth pulled. The Hofmeister bear has been shot with the fatal dart of regulation. His alleged crime? Being so popular that he made children want to drink beer. He didn’t make me want to drink beer; he made me want to do something far worse.

He made me want to work in advertising.

Fifteen years after chanting Heineken slogans in the playground, I’m in the boardroom of their ad agency. It’s my job to look after the strategic direction of the Heineken and Stella Artois ad campaigns.  

Advertising has a way of mangling the English language. It doesn’t have to invent new words when it’s happy torturing old ones. We often have conversations about who or what the ‘hero’ is in the ad we’re working on. Is it the housewife trying Daz instead of her normal powder? The frog in the Budweiser ad croaking out the brand name? Or could it actually be the product itself?

Inevitably, ‘hero’ becomes a verb as well as a noun. ‘To hero’ the product is to put it centre stage and forget the distractions. Unfortunately, each time we try this with beer, it stands there mute and awkward. No one knows or cares what ‘cold filtered’ means or what ‘dry beer’ is.

Just as I get my chance to work on them, beer ads start getting boring.

2000s

“What’s the point in advertising anyway?”

In the 1980s, there were two commercial channels. Now there are hundreds. Even if you could somehow make a great beer ad, the mass audience that would see it has now shattered into a million fragments.

Instead of wasting money on anodyne ads that no one will see, the great beasts of the beer world now spend their budgets on supermarket price deals.

Where beer was once chosen based on its image, it’s now chosen on price. Instead of being loyal to one brand, there’s a range of ‘acceptable’ brands, and people choose whichever is on the best deal.

2010s

“New England IPA is a product of Instagram culture.”

The words of Garrett Oliver flash across the global beer community thanks to sensationalist reporting of a chat about 2017’s most controversial beer style. Beer writers, bloggers and Instagrammers line up on both sides of a debate about the style’s validity. It’s the biggest argument over beer styles since the spat over whether ‘black IPA’ is a valid style.

Having left advertising and now written on beer for 15 years, I realise that heated conversations about beer styles have been a common theme across all my feeds since 2010. My last book was about beer’s ingredients. Every day on social media, I see professional writers and amateur drinkers alike trying to encapsulate the flavour of the beer they’re drinking.    

Finally, the beer itself has become the hero. The big, commoditised brands that once had heroic advertising still dominate market share, but they look enviously at craft beer, at the buzz of excitement around it. They remember what it was like, and make half-hearted attempts to steal the language of craft, to reflect in its glory. Beer is now bought and drunk on its own merits, rather than because of its manufactured image.

Or is it?

I’ve heard people recently saying that sour beers are ‘over’, despite the fact that there are more excellent examples available than ever. Beers that were once hailed as the world’s best on rating sites have sunk without trace, despite the fact that they haven’t changed. And then there’s the question of New England IPA…

Beer helps us express ourselves and mould our identities. It doesn’t need dancing bears and croaking frogs to do that.

The image of beer is as important as ever, even if it is now based on what’s in the bottle as much as what’s on the label.


First published in Issue 16 of Original Gravity


Beer meets ... cider

BEER MEETS CIDER

Several years ago travellers through the cider-lands of the USA (ok, Pete Brown and Bill Bradshaw researching their World’s Best Cider book) came back with reports of hops being added to cider. Just like the reaction to some of the stranger tales in Herodotus’ Histories, hops in cider seem outlandish. However, since then hopped cider has become a familiar sight in the world of craft cider, a spearhead, perhaps of what happens when cider meets beer as this three exemplary examples show.

/ Mills Brewing/Oliver’s Cider, Foxbic 4.7%

Mills Brewing always brew with wild yeasts. For this one, they brewed a pale ale in the lambic style and then fermented it on Tom Oliver’s cider lees (the sediment from the bottom of barrels of fermented cider) for eight months. The result is gently tart, distinctly, without being too sharp.

PB / @MillsBrewing

/ Thornbridge/Brooklyn, Serpent, 9.5%

This started with a Belgian-style golden ale. Then the beer was put into wooden barrels and lees from Tom Oliver’s cider makers added. Lees? These are the naturally formed wild lees created in cider fermentation. After a year’s slumber the beer was bottle conditioned and the result is an elegant and eloquent beer that is tart, vinous, earthy, full-bodied and dry. ATJ

/ thornbridgebrewery.co.uk

/ At The Hop, Oliver’s, 5.5%

Hopped ciders can be pretty vile in the wrong hands, but Tom Oliver has an unequalled grasp of flavour and how to balance it. This medium cider, infused with cascade hops, doesn’t quite taste of cider or beer, but some quite wonderful third dimension in its own right. PB

/ oliversciderandperry.co.uk


Building the UK's first mobile coolship

BUILDING THE UK’S FIRST MOBILE COOLSHIP

London Beer Factory is making a mobile coolship that will travel the UK capturing the wild yeast and bacteria 

The London Beer Factory has announced a crowdfunding campaign to build the UK’s first mobile coolship.

They said: “With it we will travel the UK capturing the wild yeast and bacteria that naturally occur all around us. Every beer will be a living record of each area we visit – and the friends we make along the way.”

Sim Cotton, co-founder of The London Beer Factory, said: “We got the idea from trips to lambic breweries in Belgium and from hearing how breweries are starting to use installed coolships in America. Taking it a step further, I thought by travelling around the UK we would be able to recreate what the Belgians have been doing for hundreds of years – with a unique, modern touch.”

“We wanted to crowdfund the coolship because it is an intrinsically community affair. We are literally going out into the public and making beer – taking the operation away from the brewery and into the world. Secondly, the more supporters we engage the more people learn of the process, gain an appreciation for, and can choose to drink this style of beer.’

‘We have got interest from brewers already and are keen to start heading out to do joint coolship brews! It’s really an essential part of the concept as we will need locally sourced wort to ferment – which again adds to the locality of the beer.’

What is a coolship?
Coolships are a traditional, flat, open-topped cooling vessel used by the Belgian brewers of yesteryear. Designed to cool down wort (unfermented beer) while also capturing micro-organisms (including yeast) in the air – coolships allow for the spontaneous fermentation of beer.

The barrel ageing
The wild-yeast wort they capture will then be taken to The Barrel Project (a conditioning space and taproom) where it will be transferred to French oak wine barrels living for two to three years, while undergoing a slow fermentation and souring process before being blended and bottled. This maturation time allows the yeast years to chew through the complex sugars, creating a myriad of flavours and aromas, and a unique, exceptional beer.

For more details visit Crowdfunder here.


Duvel’s Scottish origins

DUVEL’S SCOTTISH ORIGINS

When World War One ended, the Moortgat’s family brewery produced Victory Ale as a way of celebration, a beer that eventually morphed into Duvel in the 1960s. Katrien Bruyland tells the tale of this gorgeous golden ale and reveals a surprising Caledonian connection.  

Albert Moortgat was never expected to become a brewer. That was the job of his eldest brother Joseph, but then in 1914 Joseph passed away. After this sad event, the gossip in Breendonk was that the Moortgats would cease brewing. However, with a determination condemning him to a visionary’s life in Belgian strong ale, Albert swore: ‘Like hell we will!’

‘My grandfather was an open-minded, combative man.’ 

Veerle Baert-Moortgat loves to tell tales of “bompa” Albert Moortgat. A member of Duvel Moortgat Board of Directors, Veerle Baert-Moortgat keeps the fondest memories of the man who gave the beer world a strong blonde devil to dance with. ‘Until I was 16, I spent every weekend at my grandparents in Breendonk. On Sunday, we would rise early for a bike trip. After mass, the men went off to tour the village pubs. At the villa, across the road from the brewery, I waited for what I knew was next. Lunch waiting to be served, my aunt went outside to ring a bell. The men never responded. Every time, I had to go and fetch them. Even as a child, I knew the itinerary. If they weren’t in one pub, I continued to the next. I never failed to find them.’ 

Saint Arnold is the patron saint of Belgian brewers, while Gambrinus a legendary beer-loving king. In Duvel Moortgat’s 1984 comic strip story about the origins of Duvel, the heavens’ lack of tasty beer causes an angelic uproar. It follows paradise’s two biggest beer experts back to earth. Their mission? To find a beer to stop the angels’ mutiny. 

The official Duvel story on the company’s website doesn’t stray far from the romantic comic strip line depicting the family’s story in beer. In his quest to tailor a beer after the First World War, based on the popular ales of Belgian’s British allies, Albert is said to have embarked on an epic journey across the North Sea. In Edinburgh, Younger’s Brewery was said to having shared their yeast with the Belgian visitor, while the story claims Albert returned with the yeast in an aluminium milk jar. 

At less than 30 kilometres from Breendonk, John Martin already imported British beer in 1908. Ten years before the First World War, Younger’s beer was available in Belgium. The strong ale being live beer, it makes no sense that a technically skilled, perfectionist brewer would choose a time-consuming journey to harvest yeast in Edinburgh instead of cultivating yeast from a bottle of imported ale. However, Moortgat worked with Professor P Biourge, a world-renowned yeast expert, who is said to have combined several strains from the Edinburgh yeast to be used in Victory Ale. 

Albert was trained by the best. A skilled perfectionist with a penchant for cleanliness, nothing escaped his scrutiny. ‘He kept the brewery impeccable’, says Veerle Baert-Moortgat. His focus on hygiene would later land him a contract to bottle Tuborg. Surfing on the popularity of Danish luxury pils, Albert’s brother Victor sent Duvel samples to each pub that ordered Tuborg. Duvel boomed.

From dark and strong, Victory Ale became the pale blond and equally strong Duvel in the 1960s. The transition is mainly credited to Albert’s collaboration with Jean De Clerck, a professor of the University of Louvain brewing school. Meanwhile, the true story of Duvel is told by its yeast. The truth is still there for everyone to smell. The key? 4VG or 4-vinylguaiacol. While considered a phenolic off-flavour in bottom fermented beer, 4VG is well-known to aficionados of top-fermented Belgian style golden ales. Duvel has a subtle 4VG character. Leffe, being the quintessential example of 4VG beers, offers strong hints of clove or ‘sausage-type meat’ aromas.

Chris Bauweraerts is co-founder of Brasserie D’Achouffe, which Duvel Moortgat purchased in 2006. He suggests discerning noses will still be able to detect Belgian beer descendants of the original Younger’s yeast that, somehow, found its way from Edinburgh to Belgium. Raymond Moureau, who worked at Brasserie Grade, told Bauweraerts that Jules Grade – as Albert Moortgat years before him — went to visit William Younger’s in Edinburgh. He came back with yeast. Brasserie Grade both brewed Vieux-Temps and Leffe. Are Duvel and Leffe unsuspecting cousins? Both being of British ale blood, they most definitely are. 

 

Read Issue 20 of Original Gravity here


Siren to ask for minimum £750,000 for canning line and increased capacity

Siren Craft Brew launches crowdfunding campaign

Siren Craft Brew launches crowdfunding campaign

 

Siren to ask for minimum £750,000 for canning line and increased capacity

Siren Craft Brew, one of Ratebeer’s Top 100 Breweries in the World, has launched their first crowdfunding campaign through Crowdcube.com.

The brewery, which picked up CAMRA’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain award this year, is raising a minimum of £750,000 which will go towards a new canning line, increased capacity and lab & efficiency improvements. The brewery has also said if it reaches £1.5m in overfunding it will fastrack plans to open two city centre bars.

People will be investing for equity in the business, along with some ‘rewards’ including discounts, exclusive events, brewery tours and more.

Darron Anley, founder, said: “Following on from the momentum of an award-winning year and some hard work behind the scenes, we’re in a great position to start our next phase of expansion. Craft beer in cans is a huge opportunity and to get the best possible equipment, we needed to bring in some external investment.”

He added: “Crowdfunding is something we’ve been asked about a lot over the years. All being well, this round of funding will allow us to keep growing sustainably, while concentrating on what we do best – the beer.”

People can invest in Siren Craft Brew on Crowdcube at: http://www.crowdcube.com/Siren


The Q&A: Kyle Larsen, Head Brew Siren Craft Brew

THE Q&A

Kyle Larsen, Head Brewer, Siren Craft Brew

Where did you brew before and what brought you to the UK?

I brewed at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, OR and before that at Full Sail Brewing also in Hood River. Well, Siren brought me to the UK really. I was looking to brew for an innovative and exciting brewery, preferably outside the states, and well Siren ticked those boxes. I hadn’t previously heard of Siren but they got a great recommendation from a colleague in the UK so I sent a resume and as luck would have it they were in the market for a head brewer.

What do you do if not brewing, fishing, racing fast cars, eating?

I hang out with my three kiddos and wife they are my best friends really. We like to travel quite a bit so currently I’m enjoying exploring the English country side. I also love making bread and mountain biking. Two things I try to do as much as possible but maybe not as much as I’d like.

How do you design a beer?

I generally design a beer by starting with what I envision the end product turning out like and then working backwards. I’ll write out a description of the beer first and then figure out what raw materials and techniques will get me what I’m looking for. After that I cross my fingers that everything turns out good.

Is Berkshire boring?

No not for me. I love the country side and traditional country pubs. The only thing missing is a good craft beer pub… luckily we are going to be opening a tasting room and event space at our new warehouse/barrel home so it won’t be long until Finchampstead gets even better.

In our love of hops we forget about water, are you a water bore?

Is that a small animal that? If so then yes!

You have barrels for wood aging, do you see a day when breweries ditch wooden barrels in a similar way as the great porter breweries did, or is this wowing of wood just a settling back into the past?

I think barrel aged beer is here to stay. Barrels are great for so many reasons I don’t see why I would ever stop using them. DN

 

/Sirencraftbrew.com


Read Issue 20 here for free

READ ISSUE 20 FOR FREE HERE

In Remembrance of beer past and future

Memory is a great trickster, on a par with Loki (that’s the character of Norse myth not Tom Hiddleston btw). The years roll by and a pub or a beer we frequented when the world was young changes, becomes warm and tender in the embrace of memory, taunts us almost with its insubstantiality — was the beer really that bad/good; did the reek of tobacco or the streak of meanness in the regular customers really matter; what was the first beer whose branding meant something? As you might be able to guess, memory and time are the twin themes of the latest issue of Original Gravity, that wisp of smoke on the horizon, that biscuit dipped in tea that creates something greater than the act, the remembered glass with friends who are no longer friends.

Boak and Bailey have seized upon the Portuguese word saudade, which describes a vague, melancholy yearning for something/someone/somewhere that has been lost, or is slipping away, and applied it in their own distinctive way to beer. Pete Brown investigates the fifth (or missing) ingredient of beer — time — something which it is all too easy to forget about in this world of Sunny Delight-lookalike IPAs, whose brewers call for them to be drank as soon as the can is brought home. Talking of time it’s 100 years since the war to end all wars came to an end and Katrien Bruyland tells the tale of that most enduring of Belgian beers Duvel (and also manages to uncover an intriguing connection it has with Leffe). Elsewhere San Francisco and Belfast’s pubs are celebrated with gusto, I try to understand what led me to end up writing about beer and we celebrate heritage beers and anatomise porter (that’s porter porter btw, not pastry or puff adder porter). Do take the time to enjoy!

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor