Despite the third ominously flawless flavour panel showing in a row and sales of 751,176 pints of Sharp’s beer, this week left me somewhere between seething and despondent with a side salad of defeated and exhausted. This morning this is replaced by a large helping of angry. My search for a second brewer remains a fruitless one. It has got to the point where I am disappointed that people who represent a massive compromise, decline the job offer. Maybe it's the thought of living close to the sea in the most beautiful part of England? Maybe it's the thought of working for a kind and understanding boss? Maybe the qualified and experienced brewer is an endangered species?
It is difficult to describe to someone who isn’t a commercial brewer what the word brewer means to us. Even those who work in the 10-20 barrel brew length world may struggle to understand. To me a brewer is someone who implicitly understands all aspects of beer production down to the scientific principles which drive it. The brewer knows through science and experience how to brew, how to fault find beer, brewing, packaging and engineering to keep consistent beer flowing out of the brewery gates. The brewer can do this by managing people, engineering and suppliers effectively. His/her decisions and actions are guided by science and experience not what he has read on a ”brewer’s” forum on the internet. The brewer can do all of this within the context of a business which needs to generate profit to survive. The brewer does not concern him/herself with bullshit, science fiction or fantasy. To me great commercial brewers are akin to virtuoso musicians performing to millions of people. It seems today there are plenty of musicians who play their guitar in the bedroom in front of the mirror and those who perform in a covers band in the local pubs but the virtuoso is a dying breed. I suppose the option of doing a brewing course, buying a cheap 10 barrel brewery, declaring yourself god’s gift to brewing while inconsistently copying easy to execute American-style beers is a much faster route to greatness. Shame. By the way, before you assume, I don’t consider myself as a virtuoso. Cage fight anyone?
On to less aggressive matters, I travel up to London on Friday afternoon to get blending with Camden and then I am showing my appreciation for the ladies of the Barley’s Angels next Saturday. At 3:30PM the Doors of the Tower Bridge Draft House will be thrown open to all comers and beers the like of which you will have never seen and will never see again will be on offer. The 2008 Vintage Massive Ale should be the star of the show in my utterly humble opinion.
I leave you with a few maxims:
If you brew without understanding science, everything you make will be subject to luck. You may make good beer for a while but one day your luck will run out (JMR 2010)
In the world of health and safety management, common sense, misfortune and stupidity don’t exist. (Howe 2011)
Never trust a journalist (Cope 2001)
What is love? Baby don’t hurt me (Haddaway 1993)
Trust your doubt. Always fight for your beliefs. That is the path beyond thought (Segal 1997)