Q&A: Adam Matuška, head brewer, Pivovar Matuška

Q&A: ADAM MATUSKA, HEAD BREWER, PIVOVAR MATUSKA

On a beer journey to the Czech Republic, Adrian Tierney-Jones

I was a very bad student in elementary school…

…in everything, then when I was thinking about going to high school, my father, who has been a brewer all his life, said maybe you can try this chemistry degree as you learn a bit about brewing. I told him that I was bad at chemistry, but he taught me enough so that I was prepared for the exams. The course was four years, and the first two years it wasn’t about brewing, just chemistry and physics and bullshit and I played baseball.

Then I met Jamie Hawksworth…

…(founder of Pivovar pub company), who was visiting my father with the intention of learning how to brew Czech beer. The three of us went to a beer competition in České Budějovice and Jamie was a judge there. I was 16 I think and on the way back I told Jamie that I wanted to go to the UK and learn about brewing. He said that he had a small pub Pivni in York and I could come and work there.

I had no English and I had to learn it…

…but in this bar there were 20 beers on tap and hundreds in bottle. At that time in the Czech Republic there wasn’t anything like this, and it changed my thinking. Before that I had just thought about brewing beer, but now I wanted to brew an IPA and other styles. I was shown a new world of beer.

I have a motto in brewing…

…every beer that I brew you have to drink 1/2 litre of it, and then you have to be thirsty for another 1/2 litre, even if it is 9%, you don’t have to drink it but you would like to. This is my credo. The first time I said to my father I will try brewing an IPA beer he replied you have to sell it, he said that people need to drink it. I learnt everything from my father.

California is not a pale ale style…

…it is a highly drinkable beer style. I didn’t want to have it as a sipper, I wanted to develop an ale like Pilsner Urquell, with high drinkability. The thinking behind California was that we wanted to brew the beer like a typical Czech lager, very balanced.

When I brew a new beer…

…I always try and pair with food at one of my favourite restaurants Krystal (krystal-bistro.cz), which also sells four of my beers. The chef has the same thinking as me, new things within tradition. For instance, a Czech style goulash which is different. What I don’t want to do is mystify people, so with the beer Ella, which is a lager with the Australian hop Ella, I mix three things I love, my daughter Ella, the decoction style and the hop.

ATJ / pivovarmatuska.cz

Read Adrian’s Beer Traveller’s guide to Prague here (http://www.originalgravitymag.com/beer-travellers-prague/)


Read Issue 18 here for free

READ ISSUE 18 FOR FREE HERE

 The Light Issue

With those four words you will find yourself in a beer garden where the weather is warm and the sun beams down with all the benevolence of a kindly great-aunt; the beer in the glass in your hand will be cool and refreshing, glint like the golden crown of an ancient king who died beneath the mountain millennia ago.

We’ve gone for light as the theme of our latest issue, but you’ll be disappointed if you hunt for tributes towards lite beer or memories of light ale. Our light shines on different aspects of beer, with the intention of illumination, elucidation and, in the case of Katie Taylor’s debut piece for OG, celebrating the joys of drinking a cold crisp lager on a holiday beach actually a patio at home where the sun might be a bit unsure about emerging today).

Des De Moor is another writer making his debut for us. As well as being an award-winning beer writer, Des leads walking tours in search of the brewing heritage of London. We asked him why it was important to retrace the steps of London brewing and he’s shed light on the reasons (why not go on one of his walks to get the whole experience?). Mind you, not all light is good for beer as Pete Brown explains (clear glass bottles are the enemy of beer) in his usual masterful way.

We’ve also got stuff on Bamberg beer gardens, Sacramento (Brut IPA anyone?) and an essay that mentions glitter beer; there are the usual reviews and a Q&A with cult Franconian brewer Andreas Gänstaller. We hope you enjoy it, preferably in a well-lit beer garden with a non-lightstruck beer.

 

 

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor 


First Brighton & Hove Beer Week announced

FIRST BRIGHTON & HOVE BEER WEEK ANNOUNCED

Brighton & Hove is set to celebrate all things beer and brewing with the city’s first beer week from Friday 24th August to Sunday 2nd September 2018

More than twenty of the city’s beer venues – including The Evening Star, Brighton Beer Dispensary and The Watchmaker’s Arms – are coming together to offer a series of exciting events over the ten-day period. They’re pairing up with breweries both within the city – including Brighton Bier, Hand Brew Co. and Loud Shirt Brewing Co. – and throughout Sussex – such as Burning Sky, Harvey’s and UnBarred – to ensure the city is full to the brim of the freshest, tastiest beer. There will be no festival wristbands or lanyards, and no central beer tent: just a whole city full of great beer to explore and enjoy.

Brighton and Hove Beer Week’s founder and coordinator is award-winning beer writer and broadcaster, Emma Inch. She produces Fermentation – the UK’s only regular beer and brewing show on FM radio – for Brighton’s Radio Reverb, and has made the city her home for the past twenty-five years.

She said: “This event is about world-class beer served where it should be: in the pubs, bars, restaurants and bottle shops that bring it to you all year round. There’ll be tap takeovers, brewery open days, walking tours, a homebrew competition, tastings, exclusive brews, music, food, and some more quirky events that will demonstrate why drinking beer in Brighton & Hove is so different to drinking beer in any other city. We’ll be celebrating what makes us unique in terms of our heritage, our diversity, our ‘green credentials’ and everything else we have to offer as a one-of-a-kind city by the sea. It’s going to be quite a party!”

The venues involved are listed on the Brighton & Hove Beer Week website – www.brightonandhovebeerweek.com.

Events will be announced very soon.


Beer meets the devil

BEER MEETS THE DEVIL

Adrian Tierney-Jones travels to the dark side to taste the demon brews

The Devil has the best tunes, but does he also have the best beers? With Duvel (devil in Flemish), he certainly has one of the most exceptional Belgium beers to keep him company as he puts another hapless soul in the toaster. On the other hand you could argue that he is promiscuous in his drinking habits: if you go to Auerbachs Keller in Leipzig, you’ll see a dummy Dr Faustus sitting on a massive wine barrel. Whatever the truth, here are three beers with a sympathetic shine for the Devil (we’re only joking, he said, as he spotted a cloven hoof beneath the pub table).

/ Duvel Barrel-aged 2017 (Bourbon), 11.5%

Legends attach themselves to Belgian beer like barnacles to a sea-battered galleon and Duvel is no exception, apparently getting its name when a brewer exclaimed that it was the beer of the Devil on first tasting it. With this barrel-aged expression, firm and eloquent, the gates of Hell are well and truly opened (in the nicest possible way).

/ Unibroue Maudite, 8%

This potent Abbey-style beer with its panoply of spices, alcohol warmth and bittersweetness on both nose and palate is named after a Quebecois legend in which a bunch of lumberjacks, in their eagerness to get home in time for Christmas, made a deal with Lucifer, who then arranged for them to fly home in their canoes. Wonder what happened after Christmas?

/ Thornbridge Lukas, 4.2%

Lukas sounds like the sort of spooky name given to a small boy who is really the Devil in disguise, isn’t it? No? Ok, how about a gulp of this finely made Helles from Derbyshire instead — it’s as blonde as a sunlit smile, light and sparkling on the palate and an elegant and uplifting contrast to all this talk about supping with the Devil.


Beer Travellers: Prague

BEER TRAVELLERS: PRAGUE

Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the Czech capital and discovers simple pleasures

I am in Prague, a city that I fall in and out of love with, a city that brings joy, but can also frustrate, but on this Sunday morning it is a city with which I am very much smitten. And when the stars come out and the planets strive to influence my moods, I love to walk the streets of Prague without purpose, to stroll with no ambition of arrival, to be a flâneur, to be an observer, to vanish into the beauty of its cityscape. The joy of this urban-based wandervogel is that I never know what I will find but I do know that I always build up a thirst, and so on this grey Sunday morning the end result of my aimless amble in the Holešovice district on the north bank of the Vltava is Klášterní Pivnice.

I had heard its name before, old school, smoky, an authentic corner pub and an antidote to the city’s craft beer joints that look like coffee shops and where IPA is the lingua franca (not that there is anything bad about this, I love Zlý časy, Pivovarský klub, Illegal and Ale! Bar, for instance, but sometimes I just want to drink a Saaz-ravished světlý ležák — and lots of it). So there I was, taking time out from my travels, outside the pub, along with a couple of smokers, a thirst continuing to build up like an array of buses stuck on Oxford Street. Before I went through the door, I played a little game and tried to imagine Klášterní Pivnice as a person — perhaps a gruffly-spoken, take-no-nonsense bar tender, male or female, the kind of person that turns even the biggest of mouths into timid people-pleasers.

After all, it’s an unremarkable looking place, located on the ground floor of an apartment block, maybe built under the communists and tarted up in the last few years, but then I noted the three windows, each of which was stuffed with odds and sods such as old typewriters, empty bottles and a lone laptop from the age of steam. Instead of being unbearably quirky (like children’s TV presenters who shout out that they are ‘WHACKY!’), this felt more like a let’s-put-some-old-tat-in-the-window-for-a-laugh kind of thing, which I rather liked (though I could be wrong and maybe the typewriters represent some kind of literary crusade).

Inside, there was a silence reminiscent of a church before the service begins — the odd laugh, the murmur of conversation, and a sense of tranquility. It was 11am but there were only a few drinkers about. In the back room where I took my pint of Klášter Ležák (crisp and refreshing, an ideal companion for this first sip of the day), there was an harmonious balance between the silence of several drinkers reading their newspapers and the occasional clunk of glass mugs as a group of four guys toasted the morning once more (though I did wonder if they had been to bed yet, as a couple had the look of the swiped, slack faced pot-valiant about them). Meanwhile the bar tender was unceasing as he roved the back room looking for who wanted their glass replenished.

If you’re interested in such trifles, there were four draft beers on (none of them an IPA): as well as the one I was drinking, there were beers from Chotěboř, Primátor and one other, whose name I couldn’t be bothered to record. I think the mood of the pub affected me, got me to forget my constant rattling around the taxonomy of beer and join in the sheer joy of this unpretentious boozer, where time seemed to stretch and turn in on itself. As I gulped my beer (it started as sips, but it was soon apparent that this was a beer to gulp), an elderly man came in and sat at a table, his face like a map of a distant fabulous land. Up sprung the bar tender once more with a pint and a chaser, and the man with the face of a world we shall never see sat with his magazine, silent and still, each gulp (the gulping was infectious) of the beer like a soliloquy to his place in the world of this pub.

The back room had the feel of a hideaway, a cave perhaps, a wooden, panelled cave, painted green, while the tables and chairs were brutalist brown. As if to demonstrate the room’s communal aspect, a bench travelled along the three walls. Old faded prints of local football teams lined the wall alongside scarves and – curiously – a pennant for West Ham. Once more the sense of local was emphasised.

A dog (a French Bulldog called Rocky), who’d come in the company of the four revellers, roamed the room and settled beneath a table where a man in reflective clothes, his night shift finished perhaps, sat with a friend and ate his lunch (a robust, meaty menu, old school). The man surreptitiously slipped the dog scraps and I continued diving deeper into my beer (24 crowns for a pint if you’re interested in that sort of thing, which makes it about 90p). It wasn’t the best beer in the world but it was perhaps the best beer in the best pub in the world at that moment in time. There was an informality and a homeliness about the place even if I didn’t share the language and the life choices on display.

If you want to see the Czech love for beer before craft took over or away from the PU, Staro and Budvar pubs, then somewhere like this is an essential place to visit. It’s a boozer’s paradise, a hiding place, an easy place to write and a lair where enough time might make you part of the crowd. Which is sometimes what beer and pubs are all about: belonging.

Meanwhile Rocky continued to scout across the room and the bar in search of fallen titbits and his human companions kept carousing.


Q&A: Georgina Young, Head Brewer, Fullers

Q&A: GEORGINA YOUNG, HEAD BREWER, FULLERS

We quiz the Head Brewer of Fullers about the future… and the past

There’s been brewing on this site since the 17th century (though brewing took place at Bedford House in the late 16th century), it’s a historic site, a brewery rooted in its place, do you ever feel a sense of kinship with what went before, how do you feel about the link with those who have made beer down the centuries?

I think the way that we have brewed beer has been passed down. If you look at the old mash tuns and copper. We are connected to the previous generation of brewers here. We promote from within, having just become the head brewer. Passing down of the baton is normal here.

If London Pride was just one moment in London, what would it be?

It would be the Olympics. We were so proud to be Londoners, winning lots of gold. We took the world by storm and it was a really amazing day. It was an iconic moment.

Do you dream about brewing and beer or do you manage to switch off when leaving the brewery?

I don’t think as a brewer you ever switch off. One of the wonderful things is that you can do your job even when out with your friends. Inspiration comes from all sorts of unusual places.

What did you feel on your first day as Fuller’s head brewer?

We had a lovely evening when John Keeling announced I was going to be the next head brewer. I’m usually quite chatty, but I was actually lost for words. It was quite emotional and I’m extremely proud to have the title. We want to maintain quality as well as making new and exciting beers.

What can we expect from you and Fuller’s in the future, what kind of beers, projects, inspirations and aspirations?

We’re doing an exciting collaboration project with a range of different beers that will be in a mixed pack in Waitrose. We were in touch with some of our friends and we’re brewing a lager with Fourpure, New England IPA with Cloudwater, ESB with Moor in Bristol, a saison with Marble, a rye ale with Thornbridge and a smoked porter with Hardknott. I haven’t created any of the recipes, instead, we paired each of our six brewers with six breweries and they have brewed a beer. What’s been lovely is seeing how my team have blossomed with the project.

I’ve also been busy with preparing to install a ten-barrel pilot brewery. It will enable us to try out new malts, new hop varieties, different yeast strains and be a bit more adventurous with our beer styles.

/ fullers.co.uk


Ghana’s incredible microbrewery

GHANA’S INCREDIBLE MICROBREWERY

Do you know what sorghum is? Daniel Neilson does and he meets a man who’s making beer with it

On a large plastic sheet weighed down with bricks, a thin layer of a reddish grain is drying under the intense West African heat. Clement Djameh picks it up and plants it in my hand. The tiny red grains have a little tadpole-like tail. The grain is sorghum, a grass crop that grows abundantly across large parts of Africa. It is used for making porridges, couscous and, in this case, beer.

Accra, Ghana. It’s a place full of life and excitement. It’s a tropical jumble that assaults all five senses. The shattering heat, the pulsing music, the smoking grills, the spic’n’span malls, the crashing surf, the cocktail terraces, the chugging exhausts, the pavement hawkers and swish hotels; it all combines to create a frenetic and thrillingly unpredictable city. The unexpected is to be expected so that there is a guy in Accra who is starting a microbrewery using only sorghum I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I had to see it.

We meet at a petrol station on the very outskirts of Accra, beyond the posh bits and beyond the shanty towns. We hop into Clement’s old 4×4 and bounce along the rough roads to an old house with a large garden. There’s an old car, a large metal container about the same size as the car, and some greenery. At the house, he opens up a large wooden door to reveal the small brewery. Corny kegs that would be recognised by homebrewers are stacked up on one side. On the kegs are tied little labels: “IPA”,  “Trial beer, Belgian type”, “sorghum lager” and “pito”, a local alcoholic drink. There’s a large refrigerator and a bottling unit and I reckon the brewhouse has a 100-litre capacity. He pours a spectacular wheat beer and we walk into the garden.

“This is sorghum,” he says clasping a leafy eight-foot-high plant. He picks apart the grain head and isolates a little seed. “All of our beer is made from sorghum.” I’m noticeably taken aback. Taking another sip of my wheat beer, I don’t note any discernible difference. I try the lager, again no difference, I try the IPA, same. “You have to use what you have available,” Clement tells me. Sorghum beer is also naturally gluten-free. The potential is astounding.

Sorghum is malted in a similar way to barley: soaking and then drying. Clement malts his own in the metal container in the garden and then dries it under the hot equatorial sun. The whole set-up embodies the adaptable and positive Ghanaian spirit I’ve come to love over the eight annual visits I’ve made.  

The real skill is brewing with it, however. The husk on barley acts as a natural filter when draining the sugary liquid during sparging. Sorghum has no husk, and it is very glutinous. Clement, who trained at Weihenstephaner, is a pioneer in the use of sorghum. Pointing welders in the right direction, he adapted the brewery equipment to deal with this difficult grain and will have to do so again, when his much larger brewhouse arrives later in the year.

I look again at the beer in my glass and delve into its smooth bubbles. This is a beer 40 years in the making. A beer that could tell of trial after trial, set back after set back. It tells of brewing in a country without a constant electricity supply, with no hop merchants, with almost no barley. It reflects the heat of the sun, the torrential downpours of the rainy season, the ground that nurtures the sorghum plant. It tells of the farmers in the north that send the sorghum to Clement, bought for a steady price. It tells of overcoming great adversity, and of love for beer. Forty long years. This beer I have in my hand is bursting with more than hop aromas, it is alive with the spirit of an unassuming man who is quite remarkable.

For more details go to Inland Microbrewery.


Read Issue 17 for free here

READ ISSUE 17 FOR FREE HERE

 Magic/realism… where beer meets the netherworld

Tommy Cooper did magic, though like many a duff brewery’s beers his tricks usually went wrong; David Copperfield also dabbles in magic, glitzed up and given the gift of the gab — if he was a brewery, he’d have tripped over himself in the rush to get to the door when Mr Anheuser-Busch knocked.

Then there is Merlin, who probably never existed but some (probably monastic) scribe, in the wake of the Romans leaving, managed to weave a magic spell that has lasted down the centuries (a bit like one of the small group of family breweries still surviving).

As you might have guessed from this preamble, this is our magic issue, though we’re aiming more towards Gabriel García Marquéz than Paul Daniels.

When we talk about magic in brewing and beer, it often comes down to the process of fermentation, when yeast in the pre-Pasteur time, as Pete Brown recollects (not from personal memory), was known as ‘godisgoode’, because nobody had a clue about where that foam on top of the fermenting beer came from — and given the grip of religion in this period there was only — thing that could explain it.

Then there is the magic and fantasy that threads its way through Belgian beer like a vein of gold in a mine overseen by the Nibelung. Our very own master of magical writing, Joe Stange, is just the person to investigate this sense of the fantastic.

We also look at ritual in beer and the myths that hold sway, while elsewhere Emma Inch has written a fantastic essay on how some pubs can be safe havens and others not.

There’s also our usual round of reviews, a bit of a q&a with masterful Czech brewer Adam Matuška, barrel-aged beer and Pilsner going under the microscope and a general sense of magical realism. Do enjoy (in the company of a magical beer, naturally).

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor 

 

 


Read Issue 16 for free here

READ ISSUE 16 FOR FREE HERE

 The heroes of beer… are not where you expect them

We wanted to celebrate heroes, but in true OG fashion we didn’t want to be obvious, so there’ll be no profiles of various hops or barley strains; celebrities and the brewing world’s famous have been avoided; we wanted the idea of heroes to be understated, not thwacked out of the ground or bugled parade ground-style, we hoped for subtlety and longed for the silent hero or maybe the forgotten one, or just perhaps the odd one.

In contemporary life, the idea of a hero has become so broad that it’s hard to know what or who is one, which is perhaps the underlying concept of Pete Brown’s fascinating tale of beer as a hero. Before he became an award-winning beer writer, Pete was embedded deep in the world of advertising, working on Stella and Heineken, and here he offers an overview of how the advertising of beer has changed since his playground days.

For some, parents are the heroes of their life, but Jessica Mason takes a totally different view in her searingly honest and compulsively readable tale of a pub table and a beer; this is perhaps one of the most powerful pieces we have published. Some of it might not make for easy reading, but if you just want jolly tales about beer, sorry.

Do you know who Jack Payne was? We didn’t and if you don’t know either then go onto to read Katrien Bruyland’s excellent story of how a British soldier at the end of the Great War stayed on in Belgium and had a hand in developing one of the country’s most enduring beers, as well as introducing a new style.

Original Gravity’s founder and publisher Daniel Neilson travels often to Ghana – here he meet Clement Djameh and tastes his sorghum beers that burst with flavour and exemplify their maker’s brewing expertise. Elsewhere, we have a tale of a Prague pub and what constitutes a lost beer, while English-style IPAs and bocks are celebrated, beer meets love and all get on swimmingly. We hope you enjoy the issue.

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor  

 


Fourpure launch nationwide Continental Collaboration tour

FOURPURE LAUNCH NATIONWIDE  CONTINENTAL COLLABORATION TOUR

Fourpure has launched its first Continental Collaboration, creating beers in partnership with six breweries each from a different major continent

Fourpure Brewing Co. has announced its most exciting and challenging brewing project to date. Combining its passion for beer and adventure, Fourpure has launched its first Continental Collaboration, creating beers in partnership with six breweries each from a different major continent, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. The partner brewers are Devils Peak in South Africa, Kyoto Brewing in Japan, Two Birds Brewing in Australia, Brasserie de la Senne in Belgium, Bear Republic Brewing Co in California, USA, and Sunset Brewery in Brazil. Each beer will be released in a limited edition 500ml can and 30 litre keg, with a small run of mixed six-packs available as well as individual cans.

The beers have already been brewed and full details of each beer will be announced in June ahead of a roadshow of events taking the series to consumers in 21 cities across the UK throughout the month (see full list below).

Co-founder of Fourpure Daniel Lowe commented: “Over the last few decades, brewing has changed significantly across the globe. It’s an industry that transcends language or geography, that brings people together professionally and socially and increasingly it’s an industry that loves to share, teach and collaborate. The Continental Collaboration series of beers will explore the unique stories born from history, heritage and a sense of adventure that has led to innovation in brewing, spanning every major continent on Earth.”

For more information visit www.fourpure.com or follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook at @Fourpure and on Twitter at @fourpurebrewing.

Continental Collaboration events list:
Sun 17/06/18 | The Craftsman Company, Aberdeen
Mon 18/06/18 | Shilling Brewing Co., Glasgow
Tue 19/06/18 | The Fat Gadgie, Carlisle
Wed 20/06/18 | The Free Trade Inn, Newcastle
Thurs 21/06/18 | Manchester, The Pilcrow
Fri 22/06/18 | The Turks Head, Leeds
Sat 23/06/18 | The Dead Crafty Beer Co., Liverpool
Sun 24/06/18 | Against The Grain, Dublin
Mon 25/06/18 | The Sunflower, Belfast
Tue 26/06/18 | The Wolf, Birmingham
Wed 27/06/18 | Stoneworks, Peterborough
Fri 29/06/18 | Pint Shop, Oxford
Sat 30/06/18 | Small Bar, Cardiff
Sun 01/07/18 | Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf, Bristol
Mon 02/07/18 | The Three Johns, North London
Tue 03/07/18 | Fuggles Hop Café, Tunbridge Wells
Wed 04/07/18 | Brighton Beer Dispensary, Brighton
Thurs 05/07/18 | HAND, Falmouth
Fri 06/07/18 | Kaapse Brouwers, Rotterdam
Sat 07/07/18 | TBC, Antwerp
Sun 08/07/18 | Fourpure Taproom, South London