Friday, August 19, 2011

Brewer of the Week

I guess most people don't really think of beer and France at the same time. However, some of my favourite beers are from France, La Goudale and 3 Monts for example. In the area where my parents live there are just shy of a dozen small breweries making artisanal beer, mostly set up and run by British expats. For this week's Brewer of the Week though we head north, to Normandy, a part of the world perhaps more famed for its cider, and a brewery making British style cask ale.

Name: Steve Skews
Brewery: Le Brewery

How did you get into brewing as a career?

My apple trees blew down in a gale (I was a cider maker).

What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?

A passion for sharing happiness.

Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?

Homebrewed since age 14. Converted none but influenced by all, for better and worse.

If you did homebrew, do you still?

No…. Now ive got a big boy’s toy!...its still home brewing really - but with class!!

What is your favourite beer that you brew?

It changes from day to day and morn til night .. today I have been drinking my wheat beer, its 32°C here and the wheat beer, ‘Mysterious lady’ at 3.8% abv and 6°C is very refreshing. But now the sun is setting and I have a pint of ‘Conquerant’ our malty 5.5% best bitter.. My friend is making a ‘Greek Curry’ for dinner!!! throughout which we will drink Norman Gold, abig hoppy 4.9% golden beer, after which we will probably sup a little ‘Decca-Dance’ the 10° I.P.A that I have made to celebrate 10 years of brewing here in Normandy!!

If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?

Worked in several great breweries with some inspirational brewers, they're all mad but brilliant, enjoyed every brew !!!!

Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?

Don’t have a favorite – haven’t made that one yet!! Norman Gold is I guess the one a drink most, love the hops!

How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?

Authenticity is of course important, and with the great variety and quality of English malts, (ours is Marris otter from Warminster Maltings,), it's possible to bring an amazing variety of flavours into classic beers! British style of brewing is totally wonderfully unique.

If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?

Cotswold Spring Brewery, Nick Milo, the brewer, is a master, completely mad, but a monsterous master, look out for his beers they're going to seriously impress the British, his talent was rather wasted on the French!!

Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?

Wow! Difficult!! Ruddles County, as it was in the 1960’s. Adnams Tally Ho, same period . Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter, (but only as it was served in the Queen something or other in Uffington) and more recently, J H B or Summer Lightening. I think the bank manager would prefer I’d invented Fosters, Bud or Kro! Bbut then I wouldn’t have anything here to drink..!!

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