Weekend Reading #68

This weeks edition features articles on Australian hop farms, a look at trademarks, an interview with Jasper of Camden Town and a little on beer & food pairing

For those quiet moments on the weekend when you’re able to catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Good Beer Hunting | Critical Drinking with Jasper Cuppaidge of Camden Town Brewery

This is a really interesting interview given it’s been about six months since the sale of Camden Town to global beer giant AB-InBev and they don’t skirt around the subject either. The conversation covers the significant plans in the works right now for the brewery as well as Jasper’s reflection on the sale at the time.

 

June 2015 - Jasper and I at Gordon Street Garage
June 2015 – I got to interview Jasper whilst he was in Perth

Wall Street Journal | Hopportunity Cost – Craft Brewers Brawl Over Catchy Names as Puns Run Dry

I do love a punny beer name, I’d hate to think we’re running out of them.

Vogue | How to Pair Beer and Food Like a Pro: Tips from the Coolest Independent Craft Brewers

I am not really a Vogue reading kinda girl but I do tend to Google “craft beer” and “news” and this came up. Craft beer and food pairing in Vogue.

ABC News | Craft beer boom brews expansion for Australian hop farmers in Tasmania, Victoria

Great to get some insight into the knock on effort of craft beer continuing to grow and hop farms needing to expand too! Always exciting to see what new varieties appear. I was recently listening to an American beer podcast and Australian hop varieties were mentioned quite often by big international craft brewers. There’s no doubt, we are growing some great stuff!

Trey at Karridale Hop Farm
Trey from Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm inspecting some Cascade hops

Weekend Reading #54

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Munchies | Why it’s so hard to start a craft brewery in Mexico

This article is written by a guy who started a craft brewery in Mexico more than five years ago, it’s pretty interesting to read and a good reminder that there is a craft beer world outside of home, the US and the UK – something I tend to forget when I’m reading my usual sites and blogs.

Australian Financial Review | Big Beer’s curious plan to sell to consumers who mistrust them

Though the buying of small brewers by big brewers isn’t really news these days, this article interested me from a marketing point of view. Perception and cut through are pretty hard tasks in the beer world these days – new breweries are opening constantly, the multinationals are branching out and introducing new brands and the true craft breweries are trying to shout out to a market that’s saturated by status updates, tweets and hashtags 24/7.

The Guardian | Has Camden Town Brewery ruined craft beer for everyone?

Once you get past the overly dramatic headline it is actually a good read. Sparked by the purchase of London’s Camden Town Brewery by mega corporation AB InBev, the article proposes the idea of international growth and how much we, as consumers, would actually really want that. Growth and availability are the two biggest flags waved when it comes to big buying small but perhaps it’s not a great thing.

ABC News | Crafty change for Australia’s beer tastes as small brewers grow lager by the day

For one, I’m not sure if the title is or is not a typo. All opinions on this welcome.

Two, though this article isn’t really surprising – craft beer is growing, it’s not just a fad etc – the statistics are interesting.

Ale of a Time | Matilda Bay – A Branding Mess (update)

Whilst I don’t count myself as a loyal James Squire drinker, you have to admire their branding and execution, they have done a pretty good job in my opinion. Then you look at Matilda Bay and you have to wonder what’s going on. Good thing Luke at Ale of a Time has put words to paper because it’s a great summary of that moment where you shake your head and don’t understand how a once strong beer brand got so lost.

Australian Brews News | Court to hear ‘Pacific Ale’ dispute

So it looks like the battle for ‘pacific ale’ between Stone & Wood and Thunder Road will head to court.

Weekend Reading #53

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

Illawarra Mercury | Making a beer with a “rock star” American brewer

Sam Calagione of well known US brewery Dogfish Head was recently in Australia. I have mentioned Calagione recently as I’ve been watching his YouTube series “That’s odd, let’s drink it” so I was pretty envious of being in the wrong part of the country when he visited.

Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile | AB InBev acquires Camden Town: Least surprising news in the history of beer

This caught my attention because I had read a few things, a couple of comments, that were along the same lines, that the sale of Camden Town to AB InBev wasn’t difficult to predict.

Maybe it is because I’m not that close to the UK beer scene, I read a little but certainly not lots. I have met Jasper, founder of Camden Town, on a couple of occasions and also interviewed him the last time he was in Perth. Based on that alone, I actually was surprised to read about the sale.

BrewDog Blog | Nailing our colours to the mother fucking mast

A blog post from the guys at BrewDog following the whole Camden Town Brewery sale, unsurprisingly they are against it and any other craft brewery selling part or whole to a big corporate. What is really interesting is their breakdown of what’s happened to breweries like Lagunitas, Nøgne Ø, Goose Island and Ballast Point who have been bought out part or whole.

Crafty Pint | The Big Issue: Quality

Maybe it’s time for us to stop wondering if the word “craft” is relevant in our industry and make “quality” the more important word, the defining feature that sets the good beer from the bad. Here Crafty interviews a range of beer professionals and asks questions around what is quality, why it’s important and what can be done to make it better.

Chatting with Jasper, Camden Town Brewery // Part 4

The final part of my interview with Jasper from Camden Town Brewery, London, when he was in Perth in May.

Jasper of Camden Town Brewery (London) was in Perth at the end of May talking beer and enjoying the sunshine. I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Jasper over a coffee and some breakfast.

We chatted for over an hour about how Camden came to be in Australia, the craft beer scene in the UK compared to here, the need for a definition on craft beer, the formation of a new association for British craft brewers – United Craft Brewers, Camden’s sour program and the new brewery Camden are building. In short, we talked a lot about some really cool stuff.

Read: Part One, Part Two and Part Three

Big thanks to Sarah from Memorable Drinks and Jasper from Camden Town Brewery for letting me conduct this interview on such short notice and with such a tight schedule, much appreciated.

Jasper and I at Gordon Street Garage

Here’s the fourth and final instalment, I hope you enjoy reading it as much I have enjoyed writing it!

If you were to start your brewery today, would you do anything different?

“That’s a great question,” Jasper said and after a long pause exclaimed “Loads!” and laughed.

“I would have bought a bigger brewery.”

As far as the beers go, Jasper wouldn’t change a thing. The range is exactly what they set out to do. “We are a dedicated lager brewer and proud to be,” Jasper said.

So other than a bigger brewery, what else would Jasper do a little differently? Hire more staff of course, “we were probably a little short on people.”

How will craft beer grow?

Beer consumption in Australia is declining but craft beer continues to grow, it has been said time and time again.

[Read: Business Insider – Craft beer consumption in Australia has passed a big milestone]

So what can the craft beer industry do to keep this growth going?

To Jasper the growth of craft beer will continue, it’s our job to nurture it.

“It can’t get bigger without great people.”

Craft breweries need to continue to emphasis quality and longevity, prove that craft beer isn’t a fad or a faze, it’s here to stay. On top of this the industry needs to make sure drinkers understand what is meant by “quality”. As a word that is thrown around a lot in many industries, it’s important the words stand for something.

“There’s a reason why the big brewers of the world are big. Their beers might be boring but they make good beer, consistently and quality, and it might not be for you and might not be your style or flavour but you can never criticise them on quality. For us to grow as a category everyone needs to pull their socks up, us included.”


 

And that’s it folks!

Endless thanks to Jasper and Sarah, from Memorable Drinks, for spending brunch with me and my constant questions. I loved talking beer with you guys!!

Chatting with Jasper, Camden Town Brewery // Part 3

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasper from Camden Town Brewery, London, when he was in Perth in May

As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, there is a part one and two, if you’re looking for it you can find it them here and here.

Jasper of Camden Town Brewery (London) was in Perth at the end of May talking beer and enjoying the sunshine. I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Jasper over a coffee and some breakfast.

We chatted for over an hour about how Camden came to be in Australia, the craft beer scene in the UK compared to here, the need for a definition on craft beer, the formation of a new association for British craft brewers – United Craft Brewers, Camden’s sour program and the new brewery Camden are building. In short, we talked a lot about some really cool stuff.

Big thanks to Sarah from Memorable Drinks and Jasper from Camden Town Brewery for letting me conduct this interview on such short notice and with such a tight schedule, much appreciated.

Jasper and I at Gordon Street Garage

Here we go with Part Three …

Does the definition of “craft beer” matter?

“Yeah. Absolutely. 100%,” said Jasper when I asked him this question.

It’s a question that is pretty loaded in the beer industry with opinions divided on whether a definition is needed, what it would achieve and what will happen to the industry without it.

“Defining it is the hard thing,” Jasper said. “But there’s a lot of shit stuff out there that ain’t craft but that is trying to call itself craft.”

United Craft Brewers

“We need to define craft because it’s not a fad,” Jasper continued.

“Craft beer is different but it’s not different as in alternative, it’s a different method of thinking and a different process and it has to be defined because without it lots of things that aren’t craft can snap on the back of it so it’s really, really important and especially for the consumer so they can understand what is the difference between me and Budweiser.”

Whilst it may seem obvious what the difference between Camden and Budweiser is, there are instances where the lines are blurred. For instance here in Australia the debate is normally around Matilda Bay and James Squire, both owned by foreign companies, SAB Miller and Kirin respectively. Are they craft or are they not?

“You’ve got a lot of what we would call “crafty beers” in the market, big brewers making beers to look like they’re small brewers but they’re not and ‘small’ doesn’t mean scale, ‘small’ means thought process. Sierra Nevada is massive but the way they think is tiny,” Jasper explains.

To grow and protect the craft beer industry Jasper along with James Watt from BrewDog, Logan Plant from BeaverTown, James Clay from James Clay importers and distributors and Richard Burhouse from Magic Rock Brewing recently announced the formation of the United Craft Brewers, an association for British craft brewers.

But how will the United Craft Brewers go about defining craft brewers? At these early stages, the announcement of the association was only made a couple of weeks before our interview, Jasper said it will include brewers making beer at true gravities and those not being owner by a major brewery. The ownership piece is important in terms of who gets to make the decisions rather than the scale of operations.

The association is an open group, meaning it’s not just for brewers,

“Without everyone it’s nothing,” Jasper added.


Well that’s almost it for my interview with Jasper, just enough content for one more post I reckon so keep an eye out for the fourth and last instalment.

Chatting with Jasper, Camden Town Brewery // Part 2

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasper from Camden Town Brewery, London, when he was in Perth in May

As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, there is a part one, if you’re looking for it you can find it here.

Jasper of Camden Town Brewery (London) was recently in Perth talking beer and enjoying the sunshine. I was lucky enough to get the chance to interview Jasper over a coffee and some breakfast.

We chatted for over an hour about how Camden came to be in Australia, the craft beer scene in the UK compared to here, the need for a definition on craft beer, the formation of a new association for British craft brewers – United Craft Brewers, Camden’s sour program and the new brewery Camden are building. In short, we talked a lot about some really cool stuff.

Big thanks to Sarah from Memorable Drinks and Jasper from Camden Town Brewery for letting me conduct this interview on such short notice and with such a tight schedule, much appreciated.

Jasper and I at Gordon Street Garage

Jasper and I at Gordon St Garage, thanks to Sarah (Memorable Drinks) for the photo

Here we go with Part Two …

why Gentlemen’s Wit …

I wasn’t aware that Gentlemen’s Wit is open fermented nor did I know the inspiration behind the beer, especially given Camden are mostly a lager brewery.

Inspiration for Gentlemen’s Wit came from a dark hefeweizen brewed by the Alios Unertl of Unertl Brewery in Germany. Jasper had met Alios whilst in Germany,

“I went to his brewery and he’s got a 50 thousand hectalitre brewery in his house, literally it’s in his house. You walk through his stairs and the 40 hectalitre mash tun has a dishwasher on one side and washing machine on the other side,” Jasper described.

“He is the most awesome man and massively inspirational to me as a brewer.”

The brewery is named after the family and on their first meeting Alios told Jasper his father’s story.

Alios’s father had been a prisoner of war, he was going to be killed by the Russians but was saved by the British military. “When I met him he told me the story of his dad but how he had never been to England but without England he wouldn’t be alive,” Jasper said. “When you build your brewery I will come,” Alios had said to Jasper and the week Camden Town Brewery was commissioned Alios visited the brewery as promised.

“He came to the brewery and he brewed his hefeweizen with me. He bought his yeast strain and everything, it was amazing.”

Jasper went on to describe the open fermenters he had seen in Bavaria. “Traditionally if you go to Bavaria all Hefeweizens are always open fermented,” he said.  He recalled the huge tanks, the way the yeast poured over the side into buckets underneath the tanks for collection and reuse to the next fermentation tanks. “It’s an evolutionary cycle,” he said. “Normally you go to a German brewery and the open fermenters are in a room so they are controlled and you don’t get airborne bacteria. Well ours isn’t.”

“We had one that got infected so we took the infected Wit and put it into barrels and that’s how we had our first sour,” Jasper said. “So we don’t introduce any yeast strains to it, just wild and it tasted awesome so that was where we started.”

The Standard - Camden Gentlemen's Wit

Enjoying a Camden Gentlemen’s Wit at The Standard earlier this year

a small sour program …

The words “we have a sour program” uttered by any brewer right now will make all beer geeks more excited than when double IPA’s started to emerge.

“You can get a lot of flavour in a beer that doesn’t have a lot of alcohol, that’s one thing I like about sours.”

Though it was the infection of some Gentlemen’s Wit that sparked Camden’s sour program, it was probably inevitable. “There was a desire from the brewers who wanted to do it and a desire from me wanting to drink it,” Jasper said.

So there are currently 30 barrels of infected Gentlemen’s Wit at Camden Town Brewery and, should all go well, they’ll be hand bottled and ready for release about April/May 2016. We might even see some in Australia.


Part Three of my interview with Jasper will cover our chat about the definition of craft beer and the formation of the UK’s new association – United Craft Brewers.

 

Chatting with Jasper, Camden Town Brewery // Part 1

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasper from Camden Town Brewery, London, when he was in Perth in May

You’ve probably seen some of Camden Town Brewery beers around Perth; as the name implies they are a long way from their London home. The beers are distributed here in Perth and Melbourne by Memorable Drinks who are also the lovely folk who bring you Sipsmith and Hippocampus.

Camden Town Brewery

Camden Town beers at Mane Car Park event during WA Beer Week, Nov 2014

Camden Town Brewery was started by Jasper Cuppaidge in 2010. He brewed his beer in the basement of the first pub he owned, The Horseshoe, and today Jasper has upwards of 70 staff and Camden beers pour from more than 600 taps around London. The Horseshoe remains in the Camden Town family and you can read about its recent little renovation here.

I got the chance to have breakfast and a chat with Jasper when he was in Perth at the end of May. I met up with Jasper and Memorable Drinks representative Sarah Blomkamp at Gordon Street Garage.

Jasper was at the start of a fairly whirlwind Australian visit which also included a few days in Melbourne and Brisbane, where he was born, before heading back to Camden.

We chatted for over an hour about how Camden came to be in Australia, the craft beer scene in the UK compared to here, the need for a definition on craft beer, the formation of a new association for British craft brewers – United Craft Brewers, Camden’s sour program and the new brewery Camden are building. In short, we talked a lot about some really cool stuff.

Jasper and I at Gordon Street Garage

Jasper and I at Gordon St Garage, thanks to Sarah (Memorable Drinks) for the photo

Jasper was extremely generous with his time and I really enjoyed listening back to the recording of our chat, this post is just PART ONE …

Big thanks to Sarah from Memorable Drinks and Jasper from Camden Town Brewery for letting me conduct this interview on such short notice and with such a tight schedule, much appreciated.

a new brewery …

There are currently two sites being looked at for a new Camden Town Brewery. The new brewery will bring everything Camden in house as there is currently a percentage of Camden Hells kegs which are brewed in Belgium.

“We are in Belgium a lot, maybe too much,” Jasper said. “It’s like having your children in boarding school.”

Of course it also means more beer from Camden and Jasper expects his staff to grow from 70-odd to about 120 people over the next 12 months. “Another 50 friends is always interesting,” he said with a smile.

why Australia …

Camden only exports to three other countries right now – Sweden, Japan and Australia which begs the question, why here?

Awareness of Camden itself was one reason. Jasper said that a lot of Aussies know Camden because they have travelled there so they felt it was beneficial that there was an existing awareness of at least where the beer came from.

The biggest reasons however were more personal. Jasper was born in Australia, Brisbane to be exact, and his brewing director Alex Tronosco was part of the original Little Creatures team in Fremantle. Alex had good contacts here in Australia and was keen to send beer back to Australia.

“Beer makes sense in Australia,” Jasper added. “Beer is part of the culture, it’s not something new and it’s kinda part of every day life.”

Currently Camden Town beers are in about 70-80 venues, bars and bottle shops in both Perth and Melbourne and it’s a number Jasper is happy with. Not just that but he’s happy with the types of bars and retail shops that Camden is in.

Camden has always been a bit selective about what venues they are in back home so the same applies in export markets. Back in the UK Camden beers can’t be found in chain outlets or venues that aren’t quite right. I asked Jasper about what sort of venue was a Camden venue –

“It’s the person who thinks about what they are doing,” he said. “Is it [the venue] food focused? Sometimes it is. Is it coffee focused? Sometimes it is. But it’s focused.”

Meaning whatever the venue is, whether it’s a bar or a bottle shop or a pub, it’s the sort of venue that’s puts importance not just on the food and drink but the lighting, the font on the menus, all aspects of the venue.

I must emphasis that he said all of this without the slightest bit of pretention or snobbish attitude. It’s not about excluding venues, it’s about Camden being part of venues who genuinely want them, where they are adding value, adding to the overall venue offering rather than being just another beer on the shelf.

“Camden has never been sold, if it has to be sold then we are in the wrong place,” Jasper commented.

If the manager has had to be convinced that the beer belongs in that bar then it’s chance for ending up in the customers hands are quite slim. If that manager wants the beer in the bar, that’s a different story, there will be a reason they want the beer. “We service, we don’t sell,” Jasper said of his brewery representatives. “We service the people who want it.”

what’s next for Australia …

For Jasper the priority is to ensure the continued support of the bars and shops currently ranging Camden beers.

Draught beer is also on the agenda with a modest aim of just 2-3 taps in each city, any more than that and Jasper would be inclined to put on more people.

“We don’t like our beer without people,” Jasper explained

“It’s not just a beer on a shelf, it’s gotta have the story, the support and it’s very difficult to sort things from London.”

The availability of draught Camden beers will depend entirely on finding the best way to send the beer so it’s in the best condition. Jasper has ruled out one way kegs because he doesn’t have enough faith in the quality of the beer when it gets to it’s destination. Then there is also the creation of extra rubbish in sending more plastic and paper one way. There is also a whole different tax system for Jasper to consider but Jasper is hopeful to have kegs in Australia in the next twelve months.


Part Two of my interview with Jasper will cover our chat about Camden’s sour program and the 30 barrels of Gentlemen’s Wit currently aging at Camden.