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 Luke Schram from Hop Stuff Brewery
Who are you and what do you brew?
I’m Luke, Senior Brewer at Hop Stuff in Woolwich, SE18. We brew beer that is modern and artisanal. We aim to be approachable without compromising on flavour or aroma. Our range reflects this sentiment – we like to have something for every kind of drinker, whether new to “craft” beer or an experienced connoisseur.
How big is your brewery?
We currently brew on a 10bbl kit, but after a successful fund on Crowdcube earlier this year, we are in the middle of an expansion which we see us grow to a 40bbl, and put out in the range of 15,000 hectolitres p/a.
How did you get into brewing?
I first got into brewing through a great love of beer and an interest in the processes involved. I started reading a lot about the subject and tried my hand at a few brews with varying success.
Once I’d learned the basics I decided I wanted to progress further and gain some experience so I wandered into the brewery unannounced and offered my services as a brewer’s assistant/general brewery dogsbody.
You just walked in off the street, without knowing anyone, and now you’re Senior Brewer?
Yeah! It started as unpaid work experience, but quickly became part-time and then full-time as we tried to keep up with demand. Since starting at Hop Stuff I’ve completed my General Certificate in Brewing and am currently working toward my Diploma.
What are your brewing influences?
West Coast USA for our Renegade, Australia and NZ for our Pale Ale, England for our Fusilier, Belgium for our Saison. When Hop Stuff first opened we were solely a cask brewer, but as we’ve grown we’ve developed recipes for keg and package.
We want everyone to be able to enjoy a pint of Hop Stuff – our selection ranges from Amber Bitter to Session IPA, to Imperial Porter and Double IPA, and everything in between.
With our new kit on the horizon you can bet we’ll be trying our hand at a number of styles we haven’t yet attempted as well.
Where do you like to drink in London?
London really is spoiled for choice right now with great places to drink – with so many fantastic breweries around you’re never short of a decent taproom to drink in. If we go out as a team after a hard day in the brewery you can bet it’ll be to another London taproom!
In terms of pubs, The Beer Shop in Nunhead is a favourite of mine Hop, Burns & Black, Stormbird in Camberwell, The Rake in Borough market, The Bottle Shop in Bermondsey (which is conveniently close to many brilliant breweries as well!) – the list goes on and on!
How do you go about developing a new beer?
We’re always keen to try things we haven’t done before – sometimes we’ll pick an ingredient and build the recipe around that, or maybe we’ll decide on the style of beer and work to that.
I always keep in mind what I like to drink – there’s no point making beer you wouldn’t drink yourself! The development process usually involves everyone in the HSB team, from myself and the Head Brewer Andrew, to the sales team and James, our MD.
What’s your favourite type of beer to drink and to brew?
That’s a very hard question to answer, I’m always on the hunt for new beers to try. Lately I’ve been drinking a lot of sour beers and dark beers but I drink a wide variety of styles!
My favourite type to brew is either the very hoppy beers or the darker, malt heavy beers as both smell amazing as you’re making them.
What’s the best beer (not your own!) you’ve ever tasted?
There are too many amazing beers out there for me to choose from! Some recent particularly memorable beers include Northern Monk’s amazing ‘Heathen’, Omnipollo and Siren’s ‘Lorelei’, Omnipollo and Buxton’s collaboration ice cream beers were also all excellent but the Rocky Road was particularly good.
From further back, the Alchemist’s ‘Heady Topper’ absolutely blew me away when I first tried it. With so many breweries opening and so many refining their craft the list is constantly changing.
What advice would you give to people just getting into craft beer?
Don’t be afraid to try the weird and wonderful, try to drink a variety of styles and never limit yourself. There’s far too much great stuff out there to only drink one beer/style forever!
Use code ILOVELONDON at hoppist to get £10 off your first box of London craft beer
You can see more about Hop Stuff Brewery at www.hopstuffbrewery.com