hoppist deliver a monthly box of beer for Londoners looking to discover the amazing beer brewed in & around the city. In our Meet the Brewer series, we take you behind the scenes to meet the people behind the beer
We caught up with Estelle Theobalds from Canopy Beer Co
Who are you and what do you brew?
Canopy Beer Co was founded in May 2014 and we moved into our current premises (a railway arch in Herne Hill) in September.
Our first brew (50 cases of Brockwell IPA) hit the shelves in November 2014. Since then we’ve brewed more than 200 gyles, expanded our core range to eight beers, brewed countless special beers and increased the size of our brewhouse from 4 barrels to our current 12 barrel (2000l) kit.
But some things don’t change; we still have the same commitment to small batch quality and to to one-off interesting brews. We still do all bottling, and all of our kegging and canning on-site in our brewery. This way we keep control and can ensure the freshest, best possible beer reaches our customers.
We opened our brewery Tap Room at the weekends in summer 2015 and found it was a great way to meet our customers, talk about good beer and develop new beers that our customers really wanted to drink. The Tap Room has gone from strength to strength and is now open Wednesday – Friday evenings and all day at weekends. In 2016 the people of Herne Hill voted us Best Bar in Herne Hill in Time Out Love London Awards.
How big is your brewery?
How did you get into brewing?
We have been brewing for 15 years, but decided to launch our own brewery in 2014. We love being part of the ever-growing London beer scene.
What are your brewing influences?
So many to list! When we opened we always drank The Kernel and their consistently great beers, but the scene has changed so much since we’ve opened and we like to drink beer from some of the newer breweries like Cloudwater as well as the always innovative Siren.
Where do you like to drink in London?
With a young family we don’t get out as much as we used to, but we always like something new to drink at home so we visit bottle shops like Hop Burns & Black, Art&Craft and Ghost Whale.
How do you go about developing a new beer?
We don’t have a pilot kit for a number of reasons, but not least because the recipes don’t really scale that well anyway. We usually taste a few examples of what we’re trying to brew then begin to piece together a recipe using our various spreadsheets and brewing experience. We then usually brew a small batch to serve in our tap room, we get feedback from our customers, make a few tweaks and do it again until we’re happy enough to launch it as a new beer.
What’s your favourite type of beer to drink and to brew?
We love an IPA but once it gets a bit warmer and the BBQ is on we’ll be relaxing in the garden with our Kolsch; a cold-fermented lager style from Cologne in Germany. Ours is deliciously clear and effervescent.
What’s the best beer you’ve ever made?
Our Brockwell IPA, the first and still our best seller! The recipe has evolved slightly over the years but we think it is tasting better than ever right now with absolutely loads of delicious Citra hops.
What’s the best beer (not your own!) you’ve ever tasted?
We were lucky to go up to Cloudwater just when they launched DIPA v9, so tasted it on keg there. That was pretty special.
What advice would you give to people just getting into craft beer?
Craft beer is all about trying new things! Don’t just go for pale and IPAs. It’s all about trying new and exciting things, there are so many beers and breweries now that you don’t need to drink the same beer twice!
What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve brewed with?
Our Imperial Oyster Stout (8.5%) is probably the strangest with 150 Menai Oysters from Wales in the boil. It is all sold out now, but we kept some of it back to age in a Pinot Noir barrel. That’s launching really soon and is tasting amazing, even though it is almost unrecognisable from the original beer.
Have you ever completely screwed up a beer, either homebrewing or
Yes, plenty. Quality is really important to us so we don’t send anything out that we aren’t really proud of. So we put a lot of beer down the drain in the early days. I’m glad to say that we haven’t screwed anything up for a while…
What do you think the next big beer style will be?
Extra Pale. And conveniently we are launching our summer series of Extra Pales this year. Think big hops – Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra, Ella.