New Head Brewer for Hemingway's
1. What's the most unusual request you've ever received from a customer?
If they could climb inside a fermenter full of beer, I think they thought they could just dip their head inside and drink the beer…
2. What's the funniest thing you've ever seen happen in the brewery or bar?
I’ve not seen it here but I’ve seen what happens when you try and dry hop a beer that’s still fermenting too early and with too many hops
3. What's your favourite beer and food pairing?
When living back in the UK we would quite often go to Europe, Germany, and Belgium being our favourite places to go. A very fond memory is having Pork Knuckle with a smoked beer at Schlenkerla in Bamberg
4. What's the most rewarding aspect of working in the brewing industry?
Other than getting to drink great beer and meet interesting people? It’s a challenge being creative and also fine tuning what we do to make the best beer possible.
5. If you could have a beer with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
John Britten – he built a carbon fibre monochassis twin cylinder motorbike way ahead of his time in New Zealand, racing at the Isle of man and Daytona where he was beating the unstoppable ducati machines of the time. The bike is on view in Wellington Museum and when I was back packing there it was one of the places I had to go.
6. What's the most popular beer on tap at the moment?
I’ve been told Canecutter is usually our best seller but I’m currently loving the Japanese Lager and looking forward to the Baltic Porter we’ll have on tap in the coming weeks.
7. Have you ever brewed your own beer at home?
My first beer at home was terrible. I tried to make a Belgian style Tripel and failed miserably. I had no fermentation control and very little idea of what I was trying to do.
8. What's the best advice you've ever received about working in the brewing industry?
Just go out there, approach brewers and those around you in the industry. A lot of us started out as home brewers and struggled a long time before we got our chances in commercial breweries. We all have a love for the same thing, beer. And we’ve all got so many different experiences and ideas about what makes a great beer. So, if you’re in and see us come say hello and have a chat about beer.
9. What's the most challenging aspect of your job?
Staying on top of all the trends and trying to figure out what’s real and a decent beer and what’s just a gimmick.
10. What's the most important thing you've learned while working in this industry?
Don’t stop learning. Becoming good at what you do means you need to keep up to date and work on areas that you’re not confident in. Its always good to have someone to chat to if you have a problem or question you can’t answer. They might not know the answer but can always help by talking it through.
11. What's the best way to pour a perfect pint of beer?
Watching someone else do it so I can I just relax and get ready to drink it.
12. What's the most interesting fact you've learned about beer?
The yeast for lager which is predominantly found in Europe may have originated from Patagonia. None of the Traditional European strains are cold tolerant except Saccharomyces pastorianus. Recently they found a strain in Patagonia which is similar in its cold tolerance and believe that S. eubayanus could have hitched a ride from the new world on cargo on ships from Patagonia and hybridised with an Ale strain to make S. Pastorianus.
13. What's the best way to unwind after a long shift?
Nice cold beer with the rest of the brew team.
14. What's your favorite brewery outside of your own?
I have a few. Straffe Hendrik and Westmalle if I’m feeling monkish, Cantillon or Little Earth Project if I’m feeling sour. Verdant and Duration if I’m feeling a little hoppy. Or Pohjala if I’m wanting a big deep flavourful stout. I’m still trying to check out a lot of the breweries here. I have been impressed with Wildflower brewery with their sour and mixed fermentation beers and the Your mates beers I’ve had so far have been pretty good and always looking for suggestions on beers and breweries to try!
15. If you could add one item to the menu, what would it be?
A big large barrel aged stout – something similar to Cowboys breakfast by Pohjala
16. What's the most creative beer cocktail you've ever made?
Quite lame but when I was working at Little Creatures brew pub In London we had a Prickly pear pale ale and a raspberry sour and I mixed those together which I really liked.
17. What's the most interesting story you've heard from a regular customer?
Not in a brewery but I worked processing photos when I was in my 20s and one day an older couple came in and needed help. The photos they were processing were from the 60s or 70s and it was the woman with Mohammed Ali. She was living in Tehran at the time and he was there on a pilgrimage and they were out in a night club together.