Fabien Clark, Muntons Brewing Technologist, ran us through the many different types of malt in the first part of the seminar. Malts that Muntons offer and varieties offered by other maltsters. We also looked at reading malt specifications which is an important part of the brewing process to make sure we deliver our beer at the correct strength. As an organic brewery we have a more limited variety of malts we can order and with our commitment to using cotswold grown barley it was great to be able to learn of ways to improve our product further.
We then moved onto a seminar from Jim Wilson of Simply Hops. We had a good discussion on hop trends and everyone was in agreement that basing beers around 5 ‘trendy’ hops was making things a bit boring in the beer world. Jim is a big advocate of using underrated hops to make extremely flavoursome beers, this is something we have had success with at Stroud Brewery and we’re proud of what we can make with the hops available organically. This briefly turned into a bit of a question and answer session with me, a lot of people were interested in what we can do with organic hops. This is because the range of hops available organically is significantly smaller and therefore we have to play around with our varieties more in order to produce our range of delicious beers.
Yeast was next up, but this followed one of the best lunches I’ve eaten including a multitude of sandwiches, chicken kebabs, various salads, hummus and delicious puddings. We also managed to sample a couple of Tiny Rebels delicious beers (Cwtch and Clwb Tropicana), which is never difficult. Brewers yeast can come in many strains and the choice of yeast in a beer can have a surprising and significant impact on the finished product. Learning about some strains we don’t use normally in the brewery has allowed me to come back and advise the Brew Team on some new yeasts to try.
Fabien finished up the seminar by talking to us about alcohol free and low alcohol beers. This is something we are very interested in trying at the brewery so keep your eyes peeled. All in all this was a good day out learning and networking and I thoroughly recommend visiting Tiny Rebel Brewery if you get the chance.