London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars updates
Brewing, it seems, has many functions besides providing the world with one of the most joyously delicious beverages yet invented, and one of them is providing an attractive alternative career choice for stressed professionals seeking a lifestyle change. There are so many former lawyers and accountants now firing up the mash tuns of Britain’s microbreweries, I’m surprised the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Law Society haven’t affiliated to SIBA. I doubt these new entrants find running a brewery less hard work than their previous occupations, but the results are almost certainly more personally satisfying.
One of the latest in a long line is solicitor Gary Ward, whose Redchurch Brewery in Bethnal Green will become London’s 15th commercial brewery when it first brews commercially on 23 August. A longstanding home brewer, Gary has been encouraged to take the plunge by the growth not only of craft breweries but of a new generation of innovative beer pubs in the capital appealing to an emerging younger and more mixed audience for beer — appropriately, a pre-launch tasting of a pilot brew took place in the stylish surrounds of Shoreditch specialist ale house Mason & Taylor. In fact Gary and his life and business partner Tracey Cleland live in the building next door to the pub in Redchurch Street, hence the brewery name.
Two other partners are involved in the business, housed in a railway arch formerly used by a coffee roaster, which is shortly to be equipped with a 10-barrel (16.4hl) kit installed by well known brewhouse designer and supplier Dave Porter of PBC. Gary is determined not to tread in other London brewers’ footsteps too closely, and plans to carve a niche for himself by specialising in “not quite traditional British beers” at stronger gravities than usual, mainly bottled conditioned although with some plans for keg and possibly the occasional cask for specials and festivals.
The beer served at Mason & Taylor was a deep gold pale ale, but another pale ale recipe is being perfected, along with a golden bitter, an IPA and a strong stout partly inspired by Guinness Foreign Extra. Names aren’t yet finalised but are likely to include east London place names. Like so many of the new brewers, Gary is a fan of good British beers but is also inspired by the big and hoppy flavours now emanating from across the Atlantic, so expect to see this reflected in the beers.
Originally from Lincolnshire, Gary has been a Londoner since 1987. “We’re keen to be a local brewer,” he says, “and there’s no-one actually brewing yet in inner east London so we wanted to fill that gap. Yes, it was a challenge to find the right site and we were extremely lucky, but we were determined to brew in London. It’s a great place to live, and once again it’s a great place to brew beer, sell beer and drink beer.”