Meet James, our Taproom Manager and Warehouse Assistant, who has a passion for a good homebrew. We decided to catch up with him and see what inspired him to start brewing his own beer and his journey in the field.
• What inspired you to start home brewing?
During uni, me and my housemates were spending a ridiculous amount on alcohol. My parents used to send me £25 a week for food, which was all going on beer. As a way of saving pennies, my dad bought me a 25L plastic fermenter and a few other bits to start our house off making homebrew. Every week, we used to buy £8 IPA malt extract kits from Wilko, didn’t taste great but would make about 40 pints.
When I started a job working as a supervisor for a craft beer shop, my boss showed me how to start all grain brewing, using raw ingredients. Making much better beer. It costs a lot more than extract kits, buying all the separate ingredients. It also meant I had to buy a lot more equipment. Mash tun, Kettle, wort chiller etc.
• How long have you been brewing for?
New England IPA. Really expensive to make but really worth it.
Or a Bamberg style smoked Beer. Takes a lot of prep, smoking the malt days before but is very fun to make.
• Aside from home brews, what is your favourite beer to drink?
Can NEIPAs be the answer twice? Either that or a really good quality pilsner, could drink them for days…but it has to be a good one!
• Where do you see your home brewing venture going in the future? Do you plan to take it any further?
Hopefully I will be brewing professionally in the future. It’s obviously a big step up but it’s what I’m working up towards.
• What have been your best/ worst brews so far?
Best brew was probably a Citra & Eukanot pale I brewed with a mate. It was one of the first all grain brews we did. We had no idea what we were doing, just chucking ingredients into a pot and panicking mainly. I’m not sure whether i’d think it was any good nowadays but at the time we were just so shocked a beer we had made had come out well that we were chuffed…think we drank the whole 30L batch that night.
Worst brews…this page isn’t long enough.
• Any tips for others wanting to get into home brewing?
The tip I’d give myself if I were just starting out again would be to just concentrate on making a tasty, drinkable beer. When I first started all grain brewing I was so concerned with getting the units bang on…making sure the ABV, IBU and colour all came out on target. Making the brew so much more complicated and stressful than it needed to be and being pissed off when it didn’t come out exactly right.
Just keep the recipes simple and experiment with styles as much as possible. I would have learned so much quicker if I had done this.
James has more recently starting home brewing with our Brewery Assistant, Harry. We wish them every bit of luck in their homebrew journey and look forward to trying many more of their creations.
Click the link below to see a demonstration of James in action as he describes the process of home brewing and provides some tips and list of equipment to help any aspiring home brewers out there…