Up next in our new meet the brewer series is, Kelly from Thornbridge, I was quite glad when Kelly replied saying he would take part because their beers have been a bit of a revelation for me this year, infact they even won a couple of Golden Pints in my awards, and I am sure they will get a few more from other bloggers too.
What is your Brewery name?
Thornbridge Brewery – We have two sites running at the moment, our Hall Brewery and Riverside Brewery
What is your brewery capacity?
The Hall Brewery has a 10 bbl brewlength and the Riverside Brewery has a 30 bbl brewlength. We have 60 barrels of fermentation capacity at the Hall and 510 barrels fermentation capacity at Riverside
What is different about your brewery?
Lots 🙂 Riverside is state-of-the-art and controlled by a dual screen computer system. It is a four vessel brewhouse with a Mash Kettle, “Helios” Lauter Tun, Whirlpool Kettle and a fantastic German Hopback. We also use a centrifuge to polish our finished beer down to an acceptable cell count for racking into cask, which isn’t common amongst microbreweries. We aim to use this in the bottling of our beer also.
The Hall brewery is a lot more traditional with a 2 vessel brewhouse (mash tun and kettle). This will be eventually used for more experimental beers and wood aging etc. We have a few barrels in there at present, patiently aging away.
How long have you been brewing for?
I’ve been personally brewing for about 5 and a half years. Thornbridge has been running for about 5 years.
How did you get into brewing?
I intially studied Microbiology, then did an Honours degree in Food Science. My lecturer was a Belgian brewing Professor, Jean-Pierre Dufour, who was one of the most enthusiastic, passionate people regarding beer that I had ever met. I caught the beer bug, went on to do a trainee brewer programme at a large brewery in New Zealand and then came over here to follow my dream and produce great craft beer.
What beers do you brew regularly?
Our most regular beers are Jaipur, an IPA at 5.9%, Kipling, a South Pacific Pale Ale at 5.2%, Lord Marples, a Noble Bitter at 4.0%, Wild Swan, a White Gold Pale Ale at 3.5%, Brother Rabbit, a Golden Ale at 3.7%, Ashford, a New World Brown Ale at 4.2%, Saint Petersburg, an Imperial Russian Stout at 7.7% and Halcyon, an Imperial IPA at 7.7%
What special/seasonal beers do you brew?
Too many to list 🙂 In the winter months, we tend to brew Hark, a 4.8% Spiced Winter Ale with crystallised ginger, coriander and caraway seeds and freshly zested Seville orange peel as well
as McConnels, a 5% Vanilla Stout and Brock, a 4.1% Stout. Our Christmas beer for the last 2 years has been Merrie at 6%, which is a delicious brown ale brewed with Lavender and Juniper berries. We brew Alecost, a Costmary and Caraway Stout at 5.2% in summer when we can pick the costmary fresh from the Thornbridge gardens.
Where do you think the future of brewing lies?
I think it will be a fantastic balance of edgy, extreme beers and high quality session brews. For us, it’s about innovation. I think this is really important in a changing world. Often, beer is thought of as being traditional and not to be messed with, but if brewers had always taken that approach, we would still be leaving our homemade bread outside in pots in the rain, then drinking the resultant sludge after leaving it for a few days to ferment. Every time a brewer tries something new, whether it be a style, ingredient or technique, it pushes brewing that bit further. Who knows what type of beers we’ll be drinking in 10 or 20 years. Hopefully good ones!!
What is you proudest moment in brewing?
To be perfectly honest, there are too many! Every award our beer wins makes me feel stoked that someone else likes it. We brew beer that we like to drink, so if someone else likes it we’re always chuffed! I also really like working in a small team surrounded by passionate people that are all working towards the same goal. It makes work fun! (NOTE: You mean winning a Golden Pint isn’t up there too??)
What was last beer you drank?
Nils Oscar God Lager at the Sheffield Tap opening last night. Nice beer!
What is your favourite hop?
That IS a tough question. Very fond of Motueka from New Zealand, but lately Perle has been captivating the olfactory bulb and you can’t go past Sorachi Ace for its weird, mouldy orange-coconut-mushroom-lemon funk.
What is your brewing ambition?
To brew great beer and to be part of a brewery that strives for quality control, flavour and my favourite, innovation. So hopefully I’m fulfilling it now 🙂
Do you have a Brewing hero/inspiration?
I’d have to say my professor, the late Jean-Pierre Dufour, who tragically passed away at 54 while attending a brewing conference in Nigeria. He’s a legend.
Which beer do you wish you had brewed?
At this moment in time it would have to either be Odell’s St. Lupulin Ale or Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is up there as well, and Thornbridge Bracia… hang on a minute… (NOTE: See my Bracia review here – it’s great stuff, the beer that is not the review)
Favourite hobby outside of brewing
When I get the chance, playing rugby. Just not much time anymore!
Anything else you want to tell us?
Keep drinking Thornbridge beer 😉
Thanks to Kelly for answering our questions, I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed reading the answers! You can follow Kelly on twitter here, visit the Thornbridge website here, read his blog here or see my thoughts on the Thornbridge beers here