Monday, 13 July 2015

A reluctant farewell.

This wasn't really the subject I wanted my first blog to be about but after just four short months I will be leaving Weird Beard.

My Dad was diagnosed with cancer last year and after multiple surgeries and treatment it's still on the move. At this point I'm faced with the very difficult but also very simple decision to leave London to be with my family.

Bryan and Gregg have been very supportive, including letting me use the blog to announce this news. My other request was to let you all know about my job here as lead brewer and what's been going on since I arrived.

Starting in the brewhouse we've made adjustments to yeast and fermentation to get the beers tasting cleaner. Upgrade works have taken place on the mash tun and we've installed a new CLT and HLT to help make double brew days run quicker and smoother.

Production has increased as we've found more ways to improve efficiency. Regular QC during the conditioning stage has helped us to get the beer into your hands tasting the best it possibly can.

Packaging was pretty military but we've managed to push it a bit more, we're on the cusp of automation which is very exciting. This has all led to Gregg and Natasha having to sell a lot more beer (although you guys seem to have obliged!)

Work has just been completed on our cold room for packaged beer and the automated labelling machine is running like never before (thanks to some great technical minds in our team).

Natasha is working hard to make sure we appear at as many of the best beer events at home and abroad, she also posts some nice informative stuff on social media to keep you all up to date with the length of Bryan's beard, how many cups of tea I've drank and some behind the scenes brewing shenanigans. Not to mention our more regularly occurring open days, trust me when I say she's definitely made it worth the trip out west to see us!

We've put together a production schedule to make sure we meet the demands of our customers, honing the core range and making sure we don't run out of Sorachi Ace or Citra...

I'm proud of the work we've done over the last couple of months, I'm genuinely working on some of the best beers I've ever brewed at the moment. The next batch of Little Things That Kill is my baby (we offer hop choices around the staff for each batch). I chose Simcoe, Cascade and Willamette. It's in the conditioning room under lock and key as Bryan can't seem to stop drinking it, that's a fair compliment. Our 200th brew is also close to being unleashed, a triple IPA loaded with Sorachi, Summit and Apollo hops!

What I'm trying to get at is there's a really great job just about to open up and I'm urging somebody to take it. The four months I've been here have been a transitional period for Bryan and Gregg as they see their home-brewing days slip further into the distance. The team they've got around them are helping them to cement their place on the map as one of London's most exciting breweries, producing more beer every week it seems.

I had plans for the coming months, most notably moving to force carbonation in keg and introducing wet yeast. We've also talked about doing a Berliner Weisse and Gregg's wild yeast barrels are producing some truly exciting results (watch that space).

If you're an experienced brewer with a lot of ideas and ambition you'll do well to take on this role. I'm sad to leave it but feel lucky to have been a part of it at this most exciting of times.

I'm going to get settled in with the family but I'm sure it won't be long before I'm doing something in beer. Not quite the right time to start a brewery but I do have some interesting ideas forming. If you've got the patience keep up to date with me on Twitter ;) and I'll see some of you over the coming months as I try to keep myself up to date with the beer scene.

I'll sign off by saying a big thank you to Bryan, Gregg and everyone at Weird Beard for supporting me and I'll miss you guys a lot!



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