This weeks Meet the Brewer comes from Dawn over at Norwich Bear Brewing Co.
Where did your brewery name come from?
We come from, live in and love Norwich (husband Kev is also a NCFC season ticket holder) and the ‘Bear’ comes from the way we pronounce ‘beer’ in this part of the world! Plus, I quite like bears!
What is your brewery capacity?
We currently employ the considerable talents of award winning brewer Carlos Branquinho and spare capacity at his brewery, which is a 2.5 barrel plant, although he is looking to expand. In the Spring we will have our own microbrewery, probably 2 barrel capacity, at one of our pubs, The Rose.
What is different about your brewery?
We exclusively supply our 2 pubs : The Ketts Tavern and The Rose in Norwich : which we have been running ourselves for the last decade (wow, that makes me feel old!). We know what sells well in our pubs and want the customers like, so we have been able to develop beers that really appeal. When our microbrewery is ready at The Rose we will start to be more adventurous and indulge in some ‘extreme brewing’ : unusual styles, ingredients, strengths etc – that will be mainly bottled.
The brewery will be in the middle of the pub with glass walls, and we want to open up the whole brewing process and let the customers see what’s going on. Although we will be more involved in the brewing itself then, we are really keen to have as many brewers and enthusiastic amateurs involved as possible : we are so lucky that there is an absolute wealth of brewing talent in our region.
How long have you been brewing for?
Our first beers went on sale in August 2010
How did you get into brewing?
Kev has always been keen to have a brewery but we never felt we had the space or time (or energy!) before whilst running 2 pubs and running around after 2 kids, but we felt a need to move on and change, and a brewery seemed the natural step.
What beers do you brew regularly?
We have 3 permanent ales : Classic 3.8% – ‘a refreshing golden ale’, Legend 4.3% -‘copper coloured and fruity’ and Platinum Blonde 5% – ‘a full-flavoured hoppy ale’.
What special/seasonal beers do you brew?
Smokey Bear 4.5% – our roasted Autumn ale, Santa Claws 4.8% – a fruit and spice Christmas ale, and our newest beer â€˜Paddington’ 4.2% – ‘bitter-sweet symphony with hints of chocolate and orange’ : which will be on sale for the first time this weekend (15th Jan).
Do you bottle/keg/cask your beer?
Cask only at the moment, bottling when we have our microbrewery, and interested in looking at keg in the future.
What is you proudest moment in brewing?
So far it has been changing ardent lager drinkers into Norwich Bear drinkers and seeing our beers at the Norwich Beer Festival.
Do you have any brewing regrets?
That we didn’t start doing this before!
What is your brewing ambition?
To keep producing ales that our customers love, and to inspire more people to drink ale.
What was last beer you drank?
I had a Norwich Bear cocktail! It’s an idea we saw in Paris recently, so I thought I’d try it out : I had Platinum Blonde with Grenadine and it was very nice indeed!
What is your favourite beer/food combo?
I love to have beer with cold meats or with cheese and bread and some dipping oil, oh and some olives, maybe some stuffed peppers, occasionally a curry, pork scratchingsâ€¦
Do you have a Brewing hero/inspiration?
I like the way breweries such as Brewdog have starting doing things differently, taking real ale away from the â€˜beardy’ image and appealing to a younger market and making it fun.
If you could brew one collaboration beer with someone who would it be with and what would it be?
Will get back to you on that!
Is there a beer you wish you had brewed?
Wow, there are so many great beers, will have to get back to you on that one too!
How do you spend your time when you aren’t brewing?
Running 2 pubs, running around after 2 kids and occasionally going for a walk along the beautiful North Norfolk coast.
If you could have one superhero superpower what would it be?
To put more money in people’s pockets!
Anything else you want to tell us?
Beer cocktails really are good! xxx
If you’ve tried their beers please let me know what you thought!