This week we head back across the Pond, to Guildford in Surrey, home of Lewis Carroll, The Stranglers, Ford Prefect, Gerald Seymour and, naturally enough, the chap kind enough to answer some questions.
Name: Ross Hunter
Brewery: Surrey Hills Brewery
How did you get into brewing as a career?
I had my first sip of beer as a young child and thought it was the best thing I had ever tasted. I immediately decided I wanted to make beer when I was older
What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?
To love beer
Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?
Yes. Five home brew recipes have been converted to full scale production. They all taste a little different from the original home brew recipes, which, I think is inevitable.
If you did homebrew, do you still?
No. I don’t have the time or actually, the inclination to home brew any more.
What is your favourite beer that you brew?
If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?
I like brewing beer, and there is not a particular beer I like to brew. The aromas of a dark beer during mashing in always seem extra special. Having said that, I really enjoyed brewing a particular batch of Triplefff Dazed and Confused (pale), mainly because the hops used in it were all from really high quality crops that year and I knew it was going to be beautiful.
Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?
Whilst Gilt Complex is my favourite beer that we brew, I really enjoy quaffing Ranmore. It is thirst quenching and satisfying, with enough hop character to keep you interested and wanting another. Ranmore is a proper drinking beer.
How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?
We use traditional brewing methods and ingredients, not to be authentic, but purely because I believe they produce the best beer. If there was an easier way to brew the same quality beer, I would unashamedly follow that path. I really enjoy using the basic four ingredients for beer and try to get the most out of them without using other ingredients. I really enjoy drinking beers with different ingredients, but I personally like to brew beers with water, floor malted barley, whole leaf hops and yeast. Nothing else.
If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?
Dark Star. We all love their beers and are very good friends with them. They are great fun and so nice to us as well, so I think it would be a brilliant experience. I think the beer would be awesome too.
Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?
Absolutely none. I love our beers and I love many other beers and respect their creators. I would not wish to have invented a beer that has been created by another, it seems a very alien thought to me.