Inspired by brews across the world Logan starts experimenting using a 50 litre rice pan as a hot liquor tank, a camping cool box as a mash tun and a tea urn as a kettle. Beavertown begins. See images.
Brewing then Serving at Dukes
A plan is formed to open the brewery in the kitchen of a BBQ restaurant. Duke’s Brew and Que – our American BBQ restaurant/brewpub opens. Beavertown Brewery, a 650 litre brew house, is situated in the kitchen opposite the smokers. See images.
The Birth Of Neck Oil, Smog Rocket and 8 Ball + Ribs!
To complement the restaurant’s smokey surroundings Logan creates the 8 Ball Rye IPA to pair with the spice and rub being used on the pork ribs, and The Smog Rocket Smoked Porter to accompany the smoked, molasses and char of the beef ribs. The original Neck Oil recipe was based around Logan’s homeage to his favourite Best Bitter from the Black Country in the West Midlands. See images.
Logan starts to keg the beer using Key Kegs to condition and naturally carbonate the beer in the keg. Suddenly the 8 Ball Rye IPA sprung to life. Serving it a little cooler than cellar temperature and with carbonation took the beer to new heights, accentuated the flavours and allowed the aromas to fly out of the glass. See images.
Getting stuck into the design / Birth of Betty and Gamma
Nick, who was waiting at Duke’s at the time, comes up with the name Gamma Ray and shows Logan a drawing of some space men on Mars firing lazers and being attacked by UFOs – a perfect fit for the beer! Gamma Ray is followed by more experimentation on style. Black Betty Black IPA is conceived. See images.
Fermenting in the Lockup
Beavertown buys two more 5BBL dish bottomed FVs which are named Sputniks given that they look like old Russian satellites. Duke’s doesn’t have enough room in the cellar for the new FVs but a the builder who helped with the fit out of Duke’s leases out a ‘lock up’ about half a mile from the restaurant. There, a bottling area in the corridor is created and a stock room at the back where the beers are conditioned with heated blankets in the cold weather to ensure they carbonated naturally. See images.
Bloody Ell and Stingy conception
It’s the first Halloween and Thanksgiving at Duke’s. Logan is inspired by Dogfish Head beers and philosophy, so Beavertown brews a Spiced Pumpkin Ale in honour of the Dogfish ‘Punkin Ale’ to complement the season. Beavertown’s Stingy Jack is released packed with roasted glazed pumpkins and spices. After a pilgrimage to his first CBC in Washington DC in 2013, Logan is inspired by seeing Blood oranges in the snow of Vermont and decides to infuse an IPA with the zest and juice of the fruit. An oh-so British term sums up the beer and becomes its name: Bloody ‘Ell Blood Orange IPA. See images.
Hackney Wick (Hand Bottling!)
We rip the brew house out of the kitchen at Duke’s and drive it over to our new home: Unit 4, Stour Road, Hackney Wick which gives us 2500sqft – four times the size of the lock up. Six of us spend a solid week preparing the unit for the new arrival – digging channels, upgrading plumbing and electrics, grinding the floor and painting the walls. We keep production going and add a further two 5 BBL FVs. We now have six which means three brews a week. Duke’s finances more FV’s and brewing eventually ramps up to a capacity of 8 times per week. A crew of 4 solid Beavers manually hand bottled every day, 8 hours a day using a 4 head gravity filler and a priming tank. The bottles were hand labeled and left to rest until perfect carbonation was attained. See images.
Hackney Wick (Barrels!)
Barrels have been a big part of our brewing ideal from the get go. We brew our first Imperial Stout, Heavy water and barrel it in a Longmorn 1992 barrel. It is eventually released 5 months later as a super rare 672 bottle release. An aged version of Imperial Lord Smog Almighty – Imperial Smoked Porter soon follows. See images.
A fascination in lactic fermentation ensues. Beavertown experiment with sour mashing. A take on the ancient ‘Kvass’ is brewed infusing lemons, rye and raisins. The mash is soured using the bacteria Lactobacillus to drop the pH of the brew. This forms the start of the ‘Phantom’ Sour series where pure lactobacillus inoculation of the wort is now used.
Logan brings in key positions. Jenn Merrick joins as head brewer and applies her knowledge and experience to transitioning the team from Hackney Wick to Tottenham hale, from 5bbl brewing to 30bbl brewing, from hand bottling to canning. Nick Dwyer joins from Duke’s as Creative Director and the re-brand begins. So much to learn, so much to do! The world is our oyster. See images.
We need a solid logistical point in London. Ease of access to and from the site for the team is key, as are routes in and out of London as we look to increase our production. We find two units in Tottenham Hale side by side – 5500sqft each. One side ‘wet’ for production and packaging and the other for ‘dry’ ingredients and packaged beer.
Logan cracks the seal on a can and gets slapped around the face by an aroma intensity so vibrant “it was like sniffing freshly sliced mango”. The Cask canning line is introduced for better beer stability and freshness, probably Beavertown’s biggest decision to date. See images.
The new brew house produces 30bbl (5000 litres) of wort per brew. To maximize floor space available in Tottenham Hale, Beavertown bring in 8 double size tanks (10,000 litres). Each day is a double brew day filling one tank. These are complemented by a 2 x 30bbl tanks for single batches and 3 x 10bbl tanks so small batch experimentation can still be pursued regularly. See images.
Further collabs, development, growth
Brewers from all over the craft beer globe are joining forces to brew together, to experiment and push the craft and beer evolution forward. The passing of knowledge, procedures, systems, techniques all bodes for great beer now being brewed all over the globe. We reach capacity on site in Tottenham Hale with 24 x 60BBL tanks and a new canning line recently installed. Team Beaver has grown from the 9 that moved from Hackney Wick to over 40. A new Tap room holding 200 people is to be completed by the end of January 2016 and we have recently set up our in-house distribution into London to maintain our beers are served as fresh as possible and are service is of the highest standard to our accounts. Our Tempus Barrel Program is now a year underway with some beautiful fledgling wild brews soon to be racked, bottled and released into the market. We will continue to push the horizons and breakdown walls, bringing you along for the ride into this great world of beer we are so lucky to all be joyously immersed in. See images.