Keeping it real … Real Ale
It is crazy to think that it was nearly three years ago that I was stood in a newly opened Billericay Brewing Co courtyard listening to Logan Plant talk to no more than a dozen people, telling us about the beers he was brewing in Hackney under the name Beavertown. Fast forward to now and Beavertown have grown into a world recognised name, had three different brewing addresses, sell out events in minutes and has a huge loyal fan following, which even includes (spoiler alert!) the King of the North John Snow! It would be easy for Beavertown to brew Gamma Ray full time, and yet still have people begging them for more. How they keep up with the growth is beyond me, and that’s what makes this Tempus Project even more impressive for me. Amongst the madness that must be a day to day working schedule for Beavertown they have found the time, energy and patience to create the Tempus Project.
It was a pretty boring afternoon at work when the email came through from Beavertown asking if I would like to attend a press event for the new Tempus Project, I don’t think I have replied to an email quicker before, “Yes… with bells on” was my reply.
There were fifteen of us in total, we were first greeted by Nick Dwyer, the incredibly talented mastermind behind the art work for Beavertown, he handed us a glass of the new re-release of Quelle Farmyard Ale. I forgot how refreshing Quelle was since it was available last year. Although I have been to the brewery several times on a Saturday I have never been shown around properly, and it has changed a lot since my last visit, so it was great to be given a guided tour by head brewer Jenn Merrick. Possibly one of the most impressive parts was looking at the huge walls of stock, then being told that it pretty much got put on for a day and was off again. Sleep, brew, clean, repeat. A sign of how far Beavertown have come, but a sign of how great their ambition is, was the sight of the newly installed lab. Jenn explained how they had full time lab workers now, much to the excitement to the rest of the employees at the brewery, joking that they have to regularly clean the windows from everyone’s nose marks as they watch through the window.
Then evening festivities appeared in front of us. A long table made out of wood balanced on some of the huge wooden barrels stretched between the walls of ageing barrels. Medieval candles and low hanging lights gave it a rather romantic feel.
Hospitality Manager Kieran Hawkins had put together a cheese menu to pair against the beers for the evening. First to pair with the Quelle Farmhouse Ale was Kirkhams Lanchashire, which is the last raw milk Lancashire in production. It was a beautiful cheese which didn’t last long, citrus notes helped lift the earthy farmhouse/Belgian yeast flavours in Quelle. To pair with Tempus Project Brux was St Jude, again this cheese was superb, it was creamy, funky and slightly smoky, it was a match made in heaven for the Brux and helped raise its funk flavours. Tempus Project Claussenii was paired with Coolea, the first Irish made Gouda I have had. Produced in County Cork and matured for 18-24 months it had all the feel of a Dutch Gouda but instead of that real yeasty marmite flavours you can get from aged Dutch Gouda it had this lovely creamy flavoured middle, which was purposely paired with the Claussenii and Mosiac dry hopping in Claussenii. I think I got my cheese and beers a bit mixed up here but I was meant to pair Tempus Project Phobos with Cardo, a raw cow’s milk rind washed cheese, and the Deimos with Beenleighs Blue, a lamb’s milk blue. I am a great lover of cheese but I really struggle with blue cheese, however when I paired the Beenleighs Blue with both the beers I really enjoyed it, on its own I wasn’t keen but I found the beers took all the flavours I dislike about blue cheese away. I’m afraid that although I tried the Cardo it was too much for me, but if you are into this style of cheese, like the others around me was, then you would have loved it. Kieran talked us through each of the cheeses, which he had picked from Neal’s Yard, and gave us just the right amount of info for us to get stuck in. As we sipped and chewed the cheese and crackers, Jenn, Nick and Tiago Falcone spoke to us about the Tempus Project and the process behind it.
Although there were a few Beavertown only beers planned for the Tempus Project the plan is mainly collaborations with others breweries, the project was very much about learning from brewing with wild yeast and bacteria. Phobos and Deimos was both brewed in collaboration with Oskar Blues Brewing, Brux and Claussennii both brewed with Founders. They explained how it was Logan’s dream to start the Tempus Project, but it wasn’t to be an exclusive thing, they want to share it with as many people as possible. The night before was the first opening event for Tempus Project, a ticketed event which also included Logan himself alongside Tim Matthews from Oskar Blues Brewing and Tim Traynor from Founders. They plan for this to be a regular event (take a look Beavertown Twitter for more details), and with tickets selling out in minutes for the first night I can see this being very popular.
The beers are all still work in progress, we got to also try a few more secret beers that wasn’t quite ready yet but was tasting really promising, the bottles of Phobos and Deimos would really benefit from at least a year’s worth of ageing. The Brux was probably my pick of the main beers on the evening but the Phobos which was aged in a Madeira barrel was also really good. However, whatever the imperial coffee stout in bourbon barrels was won hands down for me, can’t wait for more info on that beer! As always there was amazing artwork brought into the Tempus Project, Nick has gone to town with the bacteria and yeast artwork. Much to my delight there are some new T-shirts available from the taproom, one of which I returned to by a few weeks later.
Tempus Project is showcasing the maturity of Beavertown, making the extra time and effort to bring this project to life will build Beavertown’s image even more. The growth has been phenomenal and after reflecting on this evening and seeing the brewery first hand I think to myself, how far can Beavertown go?
Address – 2 Lockwood Industrial Park, London, N17 9QP
Taproom opening times – Saturdays 2pm-8pm
Twitter – @BeavertownBeer
Website – Beavertownbrewery.co.uk
Disclaimer – I was invited down to Beavertown for the evening, I didn’t pay for a ticket and all the food, beer and takeaway bag was for free on Beavertown. However, I do not think this effected my opinion, I had a great time, so much so I needed a day off work the next morning! I have always been and will always be a Beavlieber!