Keeping it real … Real Ale
The first time I had Brighton Bier was in the Leyton Orient Supporters Club last football season and I was instantly hooked! I think it was West Pier IPA which was on one Saturday after an Orient game. So half a year later or so when I was told the news that we were having a night of nothing but Brighton Bier on at the Supporters Club I was excited! This later advanced into a meet the brewer evening as the guys from Brighton Bier confirmed they were going to be joining us for the evening, awesome!
Nine different beers were showcased on the evening and what was really interesting was people’s reactions, from behind the bar I didn’t hear one bad comment about any of the beers but did however hear people say their favourite beer was one of each of the beers available. I guess this shows the quality of Brighton Bier and how good their brewing skills are across a range of different types of beer! I couldn’t really pick an outright favourite but the Dealers Choice #1 Black IPA and Fall Guy collaboration with Green King would probably be the two front runners for me. The coffee racer went down a storm with the people who attended as did the 7% under the table bier!
We were joined by the brewer Gary and Steve who as described by Gary does all the boring bits according to his children! There were two different talks from Gary which, for those that couldn’t attend, I will break it down…
Gary on Brighton Bier
“Brighton Bier started as and currently still is a gypsy brewery. We’re based in a brewpub in Brighton that we don’t own, we run it for them and we brew their beers. We brew most of our beers from here and as we would grow we would find spare fermentation capacity. This is all in till a few weeks from now when we will own our own brewery. So in a few months we will be building our own brewery, it’s a pretty decent size as microbreweries go. Not only are we really excited about this it also means we have more control over when and where we can brew our beers.
It’s a phenomenally exciting time to be working in the brewing industry. Not just in this country there’s alot of new breweries and people are opening up all these flavours that have been long forgotten. All the new beer we brew goes through our pilot brewery, we got a really cool pilot brewery. It’s a 100ltr kit and the beers go through there before they are brewed at any of the host breweries.
The whole point of Brighton Bier is we’re forever learning. When you stop learning you cease to be a craft brewery you just become a production brewery. Everything you ever drink from us, and I hope this is the same in 10 years from now, will be evolving and changing for the better and if it ceases to be then we’ve lost the plot basically! Craft beer or a craft brewery is this kind of weird non defined expression but for us what that C word means is constantly learning and we’re always evolving our beers and we’re always trying new things. We’re happy to admit although we know what we’re doing we don’t know everything and we’re learning as we go along.
For Steve, I and Ollie (who couldn’t be here) it’s an incredible privilege to be here with you. We haven’t been to Leyton Orient Supporters Club before but we’ve heard so many god things and Ollie is always saying how good it is when he delivers here. We are an incredibly small brewery, we have aspirations of being a slightly bigger brewery with our own brewery and doing events like this is absolutely everything it’s about. I got into this business quite a long time ago and at times it can feel a very lonely pursuit, especially when your stuck in a bar and everyone is caining five pound pints of Peroni in three foot long glass. So it’s lovely to come to events like this and be surrounded by people who get it! Cheers and thank you for coming and we are Brighton Bier.”
Gary also introduced us to some of the beers that were available on the night…
Gary on the Dealers Choice series
“Dealers Choice series, this is a new dream for us, it’s every brewers dream to be able to not brew the same beers everyday. We set a benchmark at ‘its an IPA’ or whatever and then we explore everything within that and we learn about everything we find. We will source all the best and most interesting hop and malt and experiment, but for us we want the consumer to know they’re always going to get an IPA that is bitter, punchy and flavourful.
The Black IPA (Dealers Choice #1), I have to be honest, is one of my favourite beers that we have done. There’s two hops in it which is mosaic and simcoe, personally we have gone out our way to drink alot of beers using mosaic hops recently because we think its a hop that people have got behind and we think it’s going to be a huge hop name for the foreseeable. My opinion is that it works great in dark beers, I think it’s more plumby, more berry and sort of citrusy.
The other dealers choice (Dealers Choice #2) is a more traditional pale IPA. This is actually the first bar to have it so please get online and let us know what you think. This has got HBC366 and colombus hops, HBC366 might sound like something you might get subscribed by a pharmacist but that will be Equinox hop, it’s an experimental developed hop that first come about last year. This Dealers Choice #2 is a classic IPA we’ve not tried to be over complicated. It’s dry hopped with colombus, which is prob the most defining ‘dank’ American hop. One of the most important things about this beer and the key thing to us is that it’s drinkable. We made a commitment when we started Brighton Bier that although we were massively influenced by travelling around countries like Belgium and America our commitment is the integrity of British Ale. This is incredibly important to us and being drinkable pretty much translates to pints! Beer is a volume product, it’s designed to be enjoyed in reasonable quantity so all our beers should be drinkable. Even under the table bier needs to be drinkable. We’re all about the UK we’re all about pints we’re all about cask ale.”
Gary on Under the table bier 7%
“This is a bit of fun really. A lot of high ABV cask ale tend to be hard to drink so we thought this can’t be the way, surely it doesn’t have to be that way! We got into beers in Belgium and as you would know if you’ve been to Belgium their beers are terrifyingly easy to drink and often very high in alcohol. So we basically tried to mimic that in cask ale and we call it a high ABV pale ale although other brewers would happily call it an IPA but it’s not really in our eyes. When you drink it we’re fairly confident you’ll be happy and think it’s 5% ish and that’s because we brewed it using very common techniques in Belgium although very rare here in the UK but the techniques are not complex. But it means you can produce great beer at a high percentage in casks that isn’t chewy!”
Gary on Coffee racer stout 6%
“This beer is very much keeping to what we are about, we collaborated with a local company in Brighton called Small Batch Coffee who are actually getting very big now. This is a beautiful rich 6% coffee stout with a lot of cold brewed coffee. Cold brewed coffee is literally coffee brewed over 24 hours or more in cold water rather than hot. We have used a Latin American coffee bean. You extract all of the flavour and all of the aroma but none of that bitterness that’s associated with a lot of coffee based beers. It’s not perfect, it’s the first time we brewed it and I hadn’t even tried it till I walked in the door today but I think it’s pretty decent.”
It was a great night for both LOSC and Brighton Bier, for Gary it was great to get feedback on the beers being brewed. As I mentioned at the start it’s hard to pick a favourite but alongside the previously mentioned beers there has to be a huge shout out to Thirty Three a low ABV beer at 3.3%, a lot of people were saying that it put up a good fight agaisnt the best low ABV beer they’ve had which was Redemption’s Trinity. For me personally it is the best low ABV I have had! Redemption’s Trinity is also a great beer but for me Thirty Three just ever so slightly beats it to the finish line!
It will be interesting to see Brighton Bier grow as I am confident that opening of their own brewery will push them even further. I look forward to this, hopefully seeing their beers in bottles and also hopefully back down Orient to enjoy a match day to enjoy a few beers and a game!
Also in the same evening Leyton Orient Supporters Club were presented their double award for CAMRA East London and City Club of the Year and Greater London Club of the Year.