Who are you and what do you brew?
Andy Moffat, founder of Redemption Brewing Company. We are predominantly a cask ale brewer, and typically brew sessionable, drinkable, relatively hop forward beers.
How big is your brewery?
We are a 30bl kit having expended recently from our previous 12bl kit. Annual production is around 5000 h/l. We would describe ourselves as a relatively small brewery gradually growing in size.
How did you get into brewing?
Like many people it started with homebrewing and an interest in good beer. In 2007 I was looking for a career change and an opportunity to start a business and I probably spent a year trying to convince myself a brewery in London was a bad idea.
When we started planning the brewery back in 2008 there was very little in the way of a London brewing scene outside of Fullers, Meantime and Twickenham, and I had always been puzzled why, unlike other parts of the UK, London was fairly bereft of small independent breweries. By the time we had built the brewery Sambrooks, Kernel and Brodies were also up and running.
I am very much an amateur brewer having no serious qualification but have done courses at Brewlab and learned a great deal from our brewing consultant David Smith. I like to think we are technically proficient brewers and indeed need to be so given our beers are all about balance and drinkability – there is no hiding place for poor brewing practices.
What are your brewing influences?
Like many of the progressive breweries in the UK we take some influence from the US, and I remember reading Sam Calagione’s book Brewing Up a Business prior to setting up Redemption.
But we also take a lot of inspiration from many of the British breweries, particularly those that have been going a good deal longer than ourselves. Thornbridge in particular have always been a brewery we look up to – they combine technical brewing excellence and consistency with flair, passion and a respect for tradition….substance with style!
Where do you like to drink in London?
Having been brewing in London for 7 years we have seen a massive change in the pub landscape. Many of the pubs we sell to now simply didn’t exist when we started brewing.
As a predominantly cask ale brewer pubs are a crucial to us and I’m just as happy drinking in a great pub with 2 well kept beers as I am in a place with a vast number of choices. The Euston Tap, Southampton Arms and Harp are always favourites as is the Queens Head in Kings Cross. What is usually just as important is who you are drinking with.
How do you go about developing a new beer?
We don’t do a massive amount of beers and prefer to concentrate on a core range, but we would start by looking at hops as there as some varieties that currently we just can’t get our hands on, so the available supply can be an important factor which might rule out particular beers before we have considered anything else.
The development process is probably influenced by the purpose of the beer – if it’s a one off then there are far fewer considerations to worry about than if you need to ensure it will be regularly available.
We have a fairly broad range of beers that we brew regularly which helps to create a recipe for something new as we have a lot of confidence in the efficiency and hop utilisation we get from our brewkit, so we can usually structure new beers around some of the existing recipes and then make tweaks to bitterness and malt bill and then finally the more significant impact which aroma hop/dry hopping will make.
What’s your favourite type of beer to drink and to brew?
If it’s cask beer I’m drinking then Best Bitter/Amber ales that are well hopped are my favourite types of beer to drink. Hopspur is our Amber ale and that’s also the beer I like brewing the best.
What’s the best beer you’ve ever made?
Years ago we did a collaboration with Kernel and brewed a Victorian Mild. It’s one I would love to revisit later this year.
What’s the best beer (not your own!) you’ve ever tasted?
That’s such an impossible question to answer as the time, the occasion and place can all be significant factors. I could probably say Thornbridge beers are technically the best I have ever tasted and I would particularly mention Kipling and Tzara.
What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve brewed with?
We have tended to avoid anything too crazy but we did a one off cask of a Pisco Pale ale using some pisco, a south American distilled spirit.
What advice would you give to people just getting into craft beer?
Enjoy beer, be prepared to experiment but be confident in your own taste and don’t feel pressurised to like a beer just because a lot of other people do.
Have you ever completely screwed up a beer, either homebrewing or commercially?
I was a very mediocre homebrewer and regularly managed to mess things up, usually when brewing with someone else and each of us not realising the other had added the bittering hops already! We have been fortunate to have avoided any disasters commercially so far!
What do you think the next big beer style will be?
In terms of pure volume I think you will see more breweries doing lagers and sessionable IPA’s but from a more beer geek and niche perspective I think sours and mixed fermentation beers will be an area of focus along with barrel aged beers especially as many of the breweries doing barrel aged stuff are still in their early days of doing so.
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You can see more about Redemption Brewing at www.redemptionbrewing.co.uk