This month’s Meet The Brewer event at Manchester’s Port Street Beer House was Brodie’s Brewery from east London.
Lizzie Brodie and Jonathan Queally (affectionately known as Queally) brought some cockney charm to the Northern Quarter as they talked us through some of their best brews.
Brodie’s started in June 2008 Jamie and Lizzie Brodie took over the abandoned Sweet William Brewery in east London after it was run down by the manager and left derelict.
After six weeks of hard work, replacing missing equipment, fixing what was left and an unbelievable amount of cleaning, Brodie's beers was born.
Brodie’s IPA was first brewed on the 8th August 2008, based on a recipe that Jamie used to brew in his bath at home while his wife was pregnant with two kids! But it proved to be a hit with punters.
“We spent the first few months just scrubbing and cleaning, bleaching like you wouldn’t believe. Brewing is basically 99% cleaning and then getting pint after work,” said Lizzie.
“Since the IPA we’ve brewed six different types of beer and we’re now on our 500th-something beer.”
Queally, who looks just like Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh, explained the reasoning behind the hoppy flavour to their beers by using lots of late hops.
DISCUSSION: Queally and Lizzie discuss beers with the Port Street masses
The first beer on offer was Brodie’s Citra 3.1% which is a light summery beer but still packs a flavour punch for a beer so light.
Queally said: “Basically, we use lots of dry hops towards the end of the brewing process which gives it a really hoppy flavour for a light beer.
“We get a lot of stick for heavy hopping our beers. I’ve heard some people say they’re got too much flavour which makes me cry inside.
“We love our hops; if I smell a beer and it doesn’t melt my face off with hops then I’m not interested. I think that goes for Lizzie as well,” he added. Someone in the crowd replied with a random cry of ‘Needs more hops!’ upon tasting, causing an uproar of laughter.
With another four beers to go we moved on to the Hoxton’s Special IPA 6.6% described by the brewers as having a “meaty” quality. Made with Australian Galaxy hops it’s has a deeper and richer flavour and was noticeably darker in colour compared to the Citra.
Following the trend, next up was the Dalston Black IPA 7% which was stout-like in colour and texture and had a very hoppy (I can see a pattern emerging here) and extremely rich flavour as you would expect from a dark beer.
It’s roasted like a dark malt and then lots of dry hops are added and Queally said that it is a great cask beer. It wasn’t sweet but more refreshing which was quite surprising from such a dark beer.
The nature of the beer meant that the timing of the hot meat and potato pies was definitely welcomed and everyone lined their stomachs before hearing a bit more about the beers.
VARIETY: Different types of IPA
Lizzie said: “My brother is basically known around London as Willy Wonka, he tells us what he wants and I run around and do it.”
Clearly these events are great meet ups for Brewers to come along and get involved as Michelle Kelsall from Offbeat Brewery was there as well as brewers from Quantum Brewery, based in Stockport.
Moving on to the Hackney Red IPA 6.1% which made with rye meaning the flavour was a distinctive coppery and roasted one. It had more of a sweeter, fruiter finish than the previous beers which balanced it out. It was a beautiful rich amber colour with a thin foam on top.
When we went back for one at the end of the night, I opted for this one as I thought it was the best all round beer. To be honest, I thought about going back for the Citra but once you move on to the rich IPA's there's no going back!
Then finally it was time for the Romanov Empress Stout 13%. Now this was really what we had been gearing up for, the jet-black treacle-like texture finished smoothly with hints of roasted malts, coffee and soy like resemblance.
The richness comes from mashing the mixture twice and then the brewers are free to make it as strong as the like and choose the consistency of the beer, Queally explained.
Brodie’s Beer Festival is in London on April 5-8 so if you’re around the capital get yourself over to The Old Coffee House in Soho to try a selection of their fantastic beers. Although that also goes for any time of the year!
Meet The Brewers events are definitely an eye opener into the brewing process and awakens a deeper appreciation for the beer consumed. This event launches the Port Street Beer House’s Festival of Britain which will be showcasing the best beers from around the country.
Next month’s Meet the Brewer, all the way from sunny Brighton, is Darkstar on Monday March 26. Tickets are £8 in advance and can be purchased at the Port Street Beer House bar or 0161 237 9949. Be quick thought because these events sell out fast!
Photos by Duncan Bolton.