This week's Homebrewer of the Week interview is really a Homebrewers of the Week, as both Boak and Bailey of blogging fame weigh in on this particular interview. I had the pleasure of meeting them in Prague a while back and enjoyed boozing with a couple of people who so obviously enjoy their beer, so without further ado, here goes.....
Name: Boak and Bailey
How did you get into home brewing?
BOAK: We can't quite remember the exact motivation but, in about 2004, I bought Bailey an extract home brewing kit for his birthday.
BAILEY: And I made a couple of brews, both of which were terrible, and lost interest. They were terrible, by the way, because we did literally everything wrong.
BOAK: Then a year or so later, we picked up some better books, and had another go, and haven't stopped since.
Are you an all grain brewer or extract with grains?
All-grain, although we occasionally experiment with extract and sometimes use DME.
What is the best beer you have ever brewed and why?
Hard to say. Our first lager, maybe, or the IPA we made for our 10th anniversary party – lots of our guests loved it and still rave about it now.
What is the worst, and why?
Oh, there have been too many disasters. Probably the Belgian-style beer which got an infection and smelled of poo/vomit. The biggest disappointment was probably a Belgian-style blonde which looked great, smelled pretty good, but tasted like pure alcohol.
What is your favourite beer that you brew?
Probably our various lagers. It's so hard to get bottled lager in the UK which is anything like the stuff you get in Franconia, so we rely on this stuff to fill our stone krugs during the summer.
Do you have any plans or ambitions to turn your hobby into your career?
Doesn't everyone? We daydream, but we don't want to do anything professionally until we really know what we're doing. There are too many slightly amateurish microbreweries out there for us to go wading in to the market. Given how little time we have for brewing, it's going to be many years yet.
Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?
Think the answer is the same as for 5 above – the lagers we make consistently make us smile.
How do you decide on the kind of beer to brew and formulate the recipe?
BOAK: we tend to make sure we have a fairly broad range of ingredients in store and then see how we feel on brew day. I'll usually formulate a recipe using Qbrew (http://www.usermode.org/code.html), with a stack of brewing books and references for inspiration.
What is the most unusual beer you have brewed?
We've found that the more unusual beers are our least successful, generally speaking. We've experimented with raspberry and blackberry wheat beers; we've put star anise into strong ales; and added spice to stout. Our must successful experiment was probably the use of sherry-soaked oak chips in a couple of super-strong beers, which added a whole extra dimension without much hassle.
If you could do a pro-am brew, what would you brew and with which brewery?
Cantillon! We'd have to move to Brussels for several years, of course, and we'd make something like a framboise but with blackberries from Walthamstow Marshes.