Despite being out of the beer loop it was quite a surprise that I had an interview, perhaps a none broadcast pod-cast, fall in my lap quite recently.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories but it does seem a bit odd that I was never made aware of it whilst I was part of that most exclusive of clubs.
Anyway, I present it to you for your own delectation; transcribed as best as I can, all spelling and grammatical errors are mine, as you’d expect.
Interviewer (I): Hello, its everyone’s favourite blue-haired beer communicator Simon Jessica Wrighton, here for another episode of “Beer, its a really fucking serious business” and I’ve yet again braved not only stepping outside of London but also, being in the North of England, outside of Manchester and Leeds, to bring you this interview with John, brewer and owner of Common Sense Brewing, here in [remember to add which backwater town this actually is]. So John, as most of our readers and listeners might not know about you and your beer please tell us a bit about yourself.
John (J): Well, my background was in science and I home-brewed for a number of years and then, following a small lottery win I thought I’d see how well a hobby could grow into a business and if I could make enough to leave science and hopefully earn a living doing something I preferred, while being my own boss and hoping that I didn’t end up hating it. 8 years on, so far all 3 of those criteria have been met.
(I): And tell us a bit about the beer.
(J): Well, we brew a variety of beers, your pales mainly, we have a bitter, a mild, a stout and sometimes I try and dabble in what seems to be on trend in the beer world.
(I): So would you say you’re more of a traditional style of brewer or a more modern, forward thinking brewery?
(J): I brew what sells really. Obviously my main market is my local area and it has a more of what you probably call a traditional feel to it but they all seem willing to try anything. Likewise I can sell to wholesalers who can ship it around areas it isn’t really practical for us to reach.
(I): Give us an insight into the set-up of the brewery.
(J): Well it is a one man operation, I…
(I): One person operation.
(J): Er, OK. So I’m the sole person handling the brewing, sales, admin, accounts, marketing and everything else in between.
(I): So you don’t have anyone else on your staff.
(J): Not at the moment no, I’m handling things quite well as I’ve have done since I started.
(I): But in the future you may need to employ some other people to help, possibly from other ethnic or gender backgrounds?
(I): You’ll be an equal opportunity employer?
(J): Well, yes, because I think it is the law.
(I): So you might end up getting a woman to help out.
(J): I suppose so, but if the time ever comes I’ll get whoever is best qualified or suited to whatever role I need filling.
(I): So what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t employ a woman?
(J): Where are we going with this, I thought I was here to talk beer and brewing?
(I): Yes, of course, but I’m sure our fans want to know that they won’t possibly be buying your beer knowing they are funding someone who doesn’t believe in equality.
(J): Sorry? You’ve lost me, but look, if the time comes I’ll advertise a role, interview whoever applies for it and then make a decision based on what information I’ve gleamed from them and their CVs, but this seems to be a hypothetical discussion so perhaps we should just talk about the present?
(I) Yes, of course. Tell us a bit about your most popular beer.
(J): Right, it is a very simple 4% pale ale.
(I): What is the grist make-up?
(J): Just pale malt with a bit of wheat for head retention.
(I): So you don’t use any black malt?
(J): Er, not is this particular beer as it is a pale.
(I): But you do use black malts?
(J): Well yes, in my more amber and red beers and I of course use chocolate malts in my mild and stout.
(I): So what you’re saying is you’ve not yet brewed using all black malts yet?
(J): Er, no because I wouldn’t get beer, at least beer as we know it, out of that.
(I): Don’t you think you should at least try?
(J): I could try but experience and the general science behind brewing says that I won’t get beer from it. If we are still talking about beer that is?
(I): Yes, of course we are. What is the hop profile?
(J): I use Admiral hops for bittering, I use Admiral for bittering the vast majority of my beers just to keep it simple and cost effective. The aroma comes from liberal use of Mosaic hops.
(I): Do you use more Admiral or more Mosaic?
(J): Erm, Mosaic but that is because of the nature of the beer.
(I): So why not use more Admiral?
(J): Because that isn’t what this beer requires.
(I): So you’re saying that Admiral and Mosaic aren’t of equal value?
(J): Eh? They both do important jobs but both are quite different in the jobs that they do. Seriously pal, are we still talking about beer?
(I): Touched a nerve have I?
(J): No, you’re just confusing me with this line of questioning. Is there anything else I can answer for you.
(I): Yes, of course.
(J): Is it about beer or brewing?
(I): Of course it is.
(J): Ask away then.
(I): Why don’t you maintain quotas for how much hops and malts you use?
(J): What do you mean by quotas, I record all the weights I take on my brew sheets if that is what you’re getting at?
(I): Good. So you’re saying we could look through you’re brew sheets and see how equally you spread your use of hops and malts.
(J): What do you mean equally?
(I): To make sure you use everything equally.
(J): What? I can’t use everything equally, that isn’t the nature of the beer I make.
(I): So you’re saying you don’t use hops and malts equally?
(J): Well, they do completely different jobs.
(I): So they aren’t equal?
(J): What, hops and malt, are we talking by weight?
(J): Well, no, as I just said, they do different jobs and they can’t be compared as being equal. There is no like for like comparison.
(I): Not even as an average?
(J): What? Especially not as an average. Honestly, are we still talking about beer here?
(I): Thank you John, thank you for your time and a highly revealing insight into the brewing practices up here in [remember to add name of this rainy backwater].
(J): Er, thank you.
Thanks for reading.