Trialling and erroring – two of the joys of brewing

You learn a lot once you get in to brewing. An awful lot, and quickly.

The first thing I did was doff my cap to the legions of Brits – those who have gone before, and those who toil at the finishing tanks today – in their unstinting devotion to perfection. Because it’s bloody hard work.

That isn’t a complaint, by the way – just an observation, because I am rapt by this whole industry in which I now find myself. It’s just that I marvel at the consistency delivered over decades by our nation’s great brewers, because I now know how hard it is to achieve. Brewing, frankly, was the industry for which the phrase ‘trial and error’ was invented. And if it wasn’t, then it jolly-well ought to have been.

Myself and Richard have trialled and errored our way through hundreds of gallons of beer to perfect Deckhand and Anderson. We got there quicker with Deckhand. Anderson, by contrast, has been the troublesome teenager, but we’re just about there now. And you know what’s made the most difference on our road to glory? Our yeast.

OUT goes the trusty old Nottingham and IN comes the S04. Yes, that’s right – the stuff that home brewers use. But believe me, it’s made a big difference, with the pint settling in the glass much quicker. This, and numerous other tweaks, mean we are just about there. I’ll raise a glass to that.

Paul Bolton