Friday sees the release of a new beer – 17|05 Table Saison – Lemon & Black Pepper – which also sees a new name for style 17, formerly known as Grisette.
After refining the core recipe over several iterations, we’ve decided to redesign our Grisette with a slightly lower ABV as well as a different grist and body. We think the name ‘Table Saison’ better encapsulates what we are trying to achieve with the style: a lower strength version of our Saison that remains a modern take on lighter farmhouse ales. All our previous and future recipes under style 17 will be known as Table Saisons.
17|05, whilst one of our lowest ABV beers, has a complex recipe balancing a variety of flavours and textures. Crisp carbonation brightens the soft grist of pils malt, oats and spelt wheat; whilst the use of Sicilian lemon juice and zest before fermentation brings a rounded, almost tart finish. Black peppercorns balance the dry and slightly funky yeast character, while hop additions of Cascade and Motueka help boost the beer’s gentle fruitiness.
Look out for another new Table Saison very soon!Permalink
There aren’t many breweries who find themselves releasing a Pale Ale after three and a half years, and after brewing twenty-five other different styles in a variety of recipes, but here we are, releasing our first ever Pale Ale. Why now, and how did we get this far before releasing one?
We brew and explore beer not just by style and by recipe, but also by experience. With each new flavour, texture, success, hardship, we learn; and with every piece of learning we take a step further down a path, sometimes leading us far from our first steps. After discovering our love of Belgian styles re-imagined with new world hops, antipodean-style Golden Ale, Porter, Berliner Weisse and India Pale Ale each provided their own range of flavours and hop combinations to explore. Later, Session IPA quickly became one of our most well-known and explored styles for the same reasons.
As a variety of traditional and modern styles presented themselves as opportunities, ‘Pale Ale’ simply did not appear on the schedule. However, we’ve recently made such substantial and lasting improvements to our hop-forward beers across the board that we felt we could apply that experience into making our first Pale Ale to the standard by which we now measure all of our pale and hop-forward beers.
The timing feels strangely appropriate. Drinkers are increasingly discerning, and with an ever-increasing number of producers in London and in the UK, there are simply no excuses for releasing a sub-par beer in the current climate, especially in a style as popular as Pale Ale. With what we have learned from brewing other pale and hoppy styles in the past few years we believe we can now release a pale ale to match the range of excellent examples available right now.
Our first recipe, Galaxy & Mosaic, pairs powerfully juicy hop varieties from the United States and Australia, serving up soft, pulpy sweetness of mango, pineapple, and guava, with a dry, crisply balancing, grapefruit-bitter edge. Though it may not be seen by some as a style worth getting excited about, it is most certainly a style worth getting right from the very first recipe and expressing it to its full potential.
21|01 is also a first of a different kind for us: the kegs on general sale are all conditioned in tank and force carbonated, rather than in the keg. As you might know, we give almost all of our hoppy beers a four-month shelf life from the date of packaging. Unlike keg-conditioning, which can take 2-3 weeks from packaging, we are able to release the force-carbed beer much closer to its packaging date (yesterday!). We hope this will mean more people have the opportunity to enjoy 21|01 as fresh as possible. The beer itself is exactly the same – unfiltered and unpasteurised – minus the extra priming sugars for carbonation required in keg and bottle-conditioned beers.
21|01 Pale Ale – Galaxy & Mosaic will be available from this Friday at the BBNo taproom from 6pm, as well as on tap at a small number of other pubs and bars from Friday onwards, including:
FRIDAY 1800-2200 | SATURDAY 1100-1900 | SUNDAY 1100-1900
This weekend we’re opening the taproom up an extra day for the Bank Holiday, and will be pouring our freshest beers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Don’t miss our latest batch of 11|15 Session IPA – Amarillo & Mosaic, and taste the new 20|01 Belgian Pale – Summer & Saaz on tap. We’ve also got our friends at Killa Dilla serving hot and tasty quesadillas and fritas all weekend! Check out the full tap list and food menu for the weekend below. See you at the taproom!
01|16 – SAISON – RAKAU – 5.5%
03|05 – PORTER – WILLAMETTE & CENTENNIAL – 6.1%
05|14 – IPA – CITRA & SUMMIT – 6.2%
11|15 – SESSION IPA – AMARILLO & MOSAIC – 3.8% *NEW BATCH*
11|16 – SESSION IPA – EQUINOX – 3.8%
14|03 – TRIPEL – ELLA – 9.5%
20|01 – BELGIAN PALE – SUMMER & SAAZ – 4.5%
FRESHLY COOKED QUESADILLA MENU FROM @KillaDillaLDN
SMOKED SHORT RIB
w/ kimchi, blue cheese, mozzarella and pickled grilled red onion. Served
with Avocado Crema
w/ sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and pickles. Served with mustard mayo
SMASHED CRISPY POTATO N GREENS(V)
w/ mushrooms, green peppers, pickled jalapenos and KD cheese blend
Served with Korean mayo
Crispy potatoes, frazzled onions, grilled pickled red onions, pickled
jalapenos, KD cheese blend, Chipotle mayo
SERVING FRIDAY / SATURDAY / SUNDAYPermalink
Available from today, 20|01 is our first recipe in a new style: Belgian Pale. This post aims to explain a little about this style of beer and what inspired us to create one.
Distinct from Belgian blondes and strong golden ales, Belgian Pale is yet another example of the country’s knack for skillful balance in brewing. From the outset of Brew By Numbers we’ve taken inspiration from multiple sources, but the beguiling balance of Belgian beers across a range of styles, strengths, intensities and fermentation methods has always fascinated us most. 20|01 is our first attempt to replicate this balance in a uniquely refreshing, accessible yet characterful beer style.
Belgian Pale has the dubious honour of being one of the country’s least well-defined styles, with its label applied on ratings websites to beers as varied as Orval, Westvleteren Blonde, Cuvée de Ranke and De La Senne’s Taras Boulba. Whilst each offers evidence to belong in this nebulous grouping of beers, it’s that last example that we feel provides the best framework for the modern version of the style. De La Senne’s hoppy, pale beers are easily our biggest inspiration for our own take on Belgian Pale.
Crisp, fruity and with a dry, refreshing hop bitterness, 20|01 is our own expression of these bright and understated beers. The clean grain character is kept simple and drinkable, using nothing but low colour pils malt to give an even, light body. Saaz takes the lead in the hop bitterness, with the fruitier and floral notes coming from Summer, itself an Australian variety with Saaz parentage. We chose not to employ any spicing in this beer, to keep the flavours clean.
Using the same saison yeast strain that we use for other Belgian styles, in this instance we lowered the fermentation temperature to 24 degrees C (as opposed to the low thirties that our saisons ferment at), so there’s less fruity ester character, but the same crisp carbonation and texture the style needs. The subtle interplay between the yeast and hops provides a gentle spiciness alongside firm bitterness, to really cleanse the palate.
20|01 Belgian Pale – Summer & Saaz is now available from pubs, bars and bottle shops stocking our beers, as well as at our taproom both on draught and in 330ml bottles in take away. We hope that it’s a beer to suit sunny days, warm evenings, and the refreshment needed at the end of a day’s work, in as many servings as necessary.
After patiently maturing for several months, our newest Tripel, hopped with Ella, is now ready for release.
Belgian Tripel is easily one of our favourite styles here at BBNo, one that we’re excited to release each year with a new hop bill, and taste it as it evolves. Our first Tripel used American hop Mosaic, bringing slick, buoyant passion fruit and blueberry notes. The second expression used New Zealand Wai-Iti and lemon zest to weave in soft citric sweetness that has aged gracefully into mellow, caramelised lemon flavours.
For our third Tripel, we’re returning to using hops from the southern hemisphere, this time using Australian hop Ella, noted for its pronounced floral and juicy fruit character. The indulgently fruity nose evokes peach and apple blossom, pineapple cocktails and tropical fruit sundaes, whilst that crucially smooth and slick Tripel body all but glides across the palate, with just a prickle of gentle spicing from coriander and orange peel to balance the beer’s yeast character. That rounded, finely-balanced body is what defines Tripel’s bewildering drinkability and provides such an exciting canvas upon which to experiment.
Those of you who have tried the original 14|01 Tripel – Mosaic might remember we aged some of it in white wine barrels to become 12|05. If you want to find out what happened to some of the latest Tripel, well, you’ll just have to wait and see. For now, the new 14|03 Tripel – Ella will be pouring at our taproom on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May (with 330ml & 750ml bottles available to take away) and on sale in trade from Monday 16th May.
Põhjala is one of Estonia’s leading craft breweries, and from their base in Nömme, Tallinn, have released a wide range of flavour-forward beers since their launch in 2014. Aberdeenshire-born Head Brewer Chris Pilkington, like so many of the current craft beer generation, is a prolific homebrewer-turned pro. Chris has previously worked at BrewDog, and under his watchful eye, Põhjala’s top-of-the-range 12 hectolitre Premier Steel brewhouse has released some stunning beers in a broad spectrum of styles. We especially love their bold and vibrant branding – see their range here.
We wanted to work with Põhjala on a beer for the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend on April 1-2, and so last month we invited Chris down to brew a beer with us – something inspired by Estonia. The recipe for the multigrain Amber Ale we came up with was inspired by the traditional Estonia dish ‘kama‘, a milled flour mixture of various grains, nowadays generally enjoyed as breakfast with milk and often sweetened with sugar and blueberry. But how to capture this in beer?
To replicate the character of kama as closely as possible in the beer, for the malt grist we used a blend of barley, oats and rye, with some amber and brown malt to add a richer, nutty flavour. To give the fruity, blueberry flavour and aroma, we hopped the beer with Amarillo and Mosaic. 24|02 was picked as the name for this beer for two reasons – it matches the date we brewed it with Chris, 24 February, but is also Estonia’s Independence Day! 24|02 will be released at the Tallinn Craft Beer Weekend, and just for the launch, the beer will be served through a Randall infusing it with real blueberries!
The beer will also be available here in the UK, so watch out for news of its release soon!
As a brewery we’ve endeavoured to brew authentic recreations of beers that inspire us, as well as create modern twists on classic styles that still have a lot to offer the contemporary craft beer drinker. The ‘Farmhouse’ series of beers under number ’18’ has seen us put everything we’ve learned as brewers to the test, and gives drinkers a good example of the kind of beers we would love to make more of in the future.
Prior to the published studies of Pasteur, beer was frequently brewed in environments where it was susceptible to bacterial ‘spoilage’ and infection by wild yeasts. Beer styles that were regional specialities were often so because of where they were brewed, as much as how they were brewed, or what they were brewed from. Brewers who were unable to exclude wild yeast and airborne bacteria entering their brews had a limited understanding of the effect they had, but they understood that some beers could only be made in certain places, at certain times and in certain ways.
For modern examples, we can look to the Pajottenland in Belgium, where any beer calling itself lambic must be made, but there would have been a time when almost all beers would have been affected by the local microflora. Early farmhouse ales epitomise this period of brewing history, when the bacteria and wild yeasts living in the local atmosphere would define the character of the beers brewed there.
Industrialisation saw these beers and the conditions that made them consigned to history, for the most part. Several breweries and regions in northern and western Europe retained these traditions, but these methods, seen as backward and unsanitary by an increasingly risk-averse brewing industry, become replaced by the pursuit of stable and sterilised products that could be traded as commodities across great distances, long in life and low in flavour.
The newest wave of craft brewing has become fascinated with the potential of spontaneous fermentation, barrel ageing and handing over control of brewing and fermentation to forces unseen by the naked eye. Rooms filled with slumbering barrels and foeders, gently inhaling and exhaling wild-fermented beers, have become the goal for several breweries. For many, they have become a reality, opening up a whole new world of experimentation beyond merely adjusting recipes. Somewhere between alchemy and animal husbandry, the careful and patient nurturing of wild yeasts in beer and the bountiful bacteria in the staves of barrels gives modern brewers a glimpse back in time, to when fermentation was seen to have closer links to deities than science.
Distinct from our Barrel Aged and Brett Aged series, with ‘Farmhouse’ we want to combine those methods in pursuit of brewing the farmhouse ales of years gone by, with a modern palate. To do so, we are cultivating a microclimate, a tiny biosphere, inside (currently) a single Burgundy red wine barrel, refilling it every time it is emptied and feeding the wild yeast strains and bacteria living in the staves of the barrel. This barrel is now a sort of microcosm, where it imbues different beers with different characteristics, depending on which beer is used to fill it.
18|01 is the first of this series, using our 07|01 Witbier – Classic as the base beer. The subtle floral and spice notes of our Witbier are turned up loud by the rich tannins of a Burgundy red wine barrel, whilst Brett aging in the wood dries out the flavours smoothly. The residual sweetness of our Witbier gives plenty for the Brett strains to feed on, making for a boisterously funky nose, and a complex, balanced flavour profile that can be enjoyed equally in gulps or sips.
This beer is now available online for a limited time only, while stocks last: get it here from our online shop!Permalink
As part of a booming craft beer culture in London, we love to see equally vibrant beer scenes take off in other cities. We’ve done some great festivals and events in Leeds, Manchester and Bristol in the past six months, and we’re really excited to be heading to Belfast this Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March for a series of special events!
Belfast is home to great start-ups like Boundary and BrewBot, as well as a rich and thriving pub culture with new bars celebrating good beer opening all the time. Our friends at Nelson Sauvin distribute our beer in Northern Ireland, and have arranged for some really cool events happening this Friday and Saturday. Our very own Chris Hall will be flying over and doing his best to survive the rigours of the job at hand – be sure to say hi to Chris if you see him!
First up, The Stokers Halt in Ballyhackamore Village will be hosting a Meet BBNo event, with our new 11|06 Session IPA – Simcoe on tap and range of our latest bottles to try! Things kick off at 5.30pm – the perfect way to start the weekend!
On Saturday afternoon, Chris will be heading to BrewBot’s bar in Belfast for a Tap Takeover of six new beers including a hugely anticipated 55|01 Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe. There’s only one keg – so don’t miss out! Here’s the full line-up:
• 01|09 – Saison – Hibiscus & Chamomile – 6.0%
• 08|03 – Stout – Chocolate & Orange – 6.2%
• 09|02 – Brown Ale – Nut Brown – 6.2%
• 11|06 – Session IPA – Simcoe – 4.2%
• 17|02 – Grisette – Lemongrass – 4.0%
• 55|01 – Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe – 9.2%
Finally, Saturday evening will see Chris co-hosting a five course beer & food dinner at the venerable Bay Tree in Holywood from 7.30pm – with our beer paired to a magnificent and vibrant menu. We’re pretty excited about the pairings for this one, but our lips our sealed until the night! Here’s the menu:
After the launch of 55|01 Double IPA – Citra Mosaic Simcoe on 26 February, we lift the lid on one of our most challenging and exciting brews yet.
We’re deeply proud of 55|01, and tasting the beer as it developed has been a hugely educational, satisfying and occasionally hair-raising experience for us. A double IPA, or indeed any IPA, is more than the sum of its hops, and having the experience, ability and confidence to attempt such a beer was just the beginning. This beer has taken a huge amount of work and resources to accomplish, and so to help both us and you understand the beer better, we’ve decided to write about the brew and the results as openly as possible.
The intention was always to create a hugely juicy yet dry Double IPA, with an uncomplicated malt bill – specifically, in the US west coast style – that lets the hop character shine. The beer did not need a ‘malt backbone’ so much as a balancing texture; a supporting hand.
With the relatively small footprint and capacity of our brewhouse in mind, we achieved the required fermentability by filling the mash tun as much as we dared, and using sucrose to help hit target alcohol without adding heavier malt notes. Without a steam-jacketed mash tun (which would make pinpoint accuracy much easier), hitting the desired mashing temperature on the nose was no mean feat. Next time, we’d likely aim for an even lower mash temperature, and allow it to keep converting starches to sugars while in the kettle by not turning on the heating elements until it is full.
Hopping the beer as hard as we wanted presented further challenges – restraining ourselves in some respects so as not to clog the whirlpool. Next time, a hop extract product for bittering, for example, would allow us to cram even more hops into the whirlpool.
Oxygen pick-up is always a concern with beers like 55|01, it’s freshness and clarity being key to its enjoyment, and next time we would prefer not to use pumps and move the beer between vessels entirely with gas, where necessary. Whilst all of our beers are allowed to carbonate naturally at present, force carbonation in a bright beer tank is certainly something we might consider in future.
For the dry hopping, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe are a dream team combination on paper, bringing a beautifully juicy tropical fruit character. However, next time around we’d like to play with the balance of hop flavour and aroma; potentially bringing a fruitier hop into contrast with something more ‘dank’ and slightly savoury, and something classic to round out the resinous pine and citrus.
We love to receive feedback and thoughts on our beers, no matter how brief, and we hope this post gives you some insight into 55|01 and future Double IPAs from Brew By Numbers.
Being tucked under the railway arches of Bermondsey has its advantages, but if we could trade locations with another brewery, it might have to be Voss. The brewery’s mustard-coloured building is nestled like a dropped gem in surroundings that belong in epic myths and legends: snow-capped mountains, blue-stained-glass lakes and vibrant, verdant forests. It’s a beautiful place, where some beautiful beers are made.
First meeting up at last year’s Bergen Beer & Whisky Festival, we’ve been bouncing around ideas with Dag, Jeanette and the team at Voss for some time. After this year’s festival in Bergen, we finally got to brew something together – something totally new for both of us!
Voss make some world-class hop-forward beers, but we both wanted to brew something modern with a distinctive Norwegian twist: a kettle sour inoculated with yeast from traditional Norwegian fermented milk drinks. Three different types were used – Kefir, Kulturmjølk and Biola, providing the cultures that will define the sour character of the beer.
Depending on how the beer finishes, Voss and us have a few different ideas about what to do with it. We’ve talked about adding local Lingonberries to the beer, or potentially blending it with a classic Scandinavian farmhouse beer or release around Easter, when these types of beer are traditionally released. We’re keeping in touch with the team at Voss to decide the beer’s future!
The finished beer will be launched in the UK at our taproom – watch this space for announcement of the date!
In 2014, Brew By Numbers benefited from investment from the BrewDog Development Fund. BrewDog recently announced their stance on brewery independence, and we would like to make Brew By Numbers’ position known.
We value transparency greatly, in our friends, suppliers, colleagues in the brewing industry and in ourselves most of all. The investment we received through the BrewDog Development Fund has come to an end, and the shares bought in BBNo by BrewDog have been sold back to us at cost price. In the spirit of the openness and transparency displayed by those we admire in the industry, we would like to provide some context and clarity on our relationship with BrewDog.
In 2013, Brew By Numbers was still just two friends, brewing with equipment not much larger than the average homebrew set up, in a basement in South London. A move from that setting wasn’t just highly desirable for us as a microbrewery with a big vision, but hugely necessary for us to the take the next steps as a small business.
We had spoken to a number of banks about finance to help us grow, but none of them seemed to grasp what was happening in brewing in the UK at the time, and there was little recognition of our potential. Despite having received acclaim for our beers, we felt frustrated by the lack of support available to us.
James Watt met Tom and Dave back in those early days of BBNo, and fully understood and liked our concept. A year later, we sent several beers to James, along with our business plan. James keenly understood what was happening in the brewing industry, and, having made a similarly huge leap with Martin Dickie in the early days of BrewDog, gave us his and BrewDog’s backing, in the form of investment.
This support reassured Brew By Numbers’ first investors – Tom and Dave’s families – and gave banks we approached far greater confidence in our business and potential. Confidence is hugely important, it can be the difference in whether a business succeeds or fails.
Beyond this, BrewDog’s investment provided clear and transparent benefits, with no demands of control. BBNo was offered what we needed most: support from an ambitious and growing brewery, advice informed by their experience in undergoing similar growth, and custom – crucial in helping us get our beers the wider recognition we wanted. However, some people did not approve of our association with BrewDog, and we did lose some customers as a result of their investment.
Whilst at no point did BrewDog wish to interfere in the running of BBNo, some saw the move as acquisitional and controlling, but nothing could be further from the truth. Having the generous support and friendship of a bigger brother has been valuable in the growth of Brew By Numbers as a brewery, and the end of this involvement has been conducted just as fairly as when it began.
BrewDog were generous enough to sell the shares in BBNo back to us at cost price, and have publicly cited their stance on the independence of breweries. As a brewery, we have returned to once again being an independent, family-run business. Nevertheless, the support we have received from BrewDog has placed us on a good road to a prosperous future.
We have a huge year ahead of us, with expansion and improvements taking place at every level of the business. BrewDog have helped to get us here, and we’ll always be grateful to them.Permalink
After Bergen Beer and Whisky Festival in Norway, we brewed a Norwegian wilderness-inspired IPA with 7 Fjell, an up-and-coming Norwegian craft brewery.
Whilst a relatively new enterprise in Norway’s growing craft beer industry, 7 Fjell Bryggeri has one of Norway’s most experienced and prolific brewmasters: Gahr Smith-Gahrsen. 7F’s brew kit is slick, their on-site cold storage is an impressive investment, and plans for a canning line hint at a bright future. The whole space has been planned and designed to be both practical and comfortable. We’ve been convinced by their clean beers with clarity of flavour, and 7F is definitely a brewery to watch.
We were introduced by mutual friends and took the chance to get together and brew with 7F on our recent trip to Bergen for the beer and whisky festival.
Keen to each bring something solid to the collaboration, together we designed the recipe for a Norwegian spruce IPA, bringing together 7F’s idea of infusing historic Norwegian brewing ingredients (juniper and spruce) and our love of highly aromatic hop-forward beers.
The day before the brewday, foraged spruce, juniper and heather were steeped in hot water and left to infuse overnight, in a method called einerlåg, creating the liquor we would use for the mash. This brought an intense, herbal-tea-like aroma to the liquor – all this before we’d even started the brew! A kilo of coarsely crushed, fresh juniper berries was sourced from nearby to intensify that bold and brilliant aroma.
The hop bill, mostly Motueka with some Citra, was designed to accentuate but not overpower the spruce and juniper character in the finished beer. Look out for this Norwegian wilderness-inspired IPA in about a month’s time, with a name that nods both to our own numbering system and the area where the ingredients were sourced and brewed: 5155.