As I mentioned in last Friday's post, there is a wealth of breweries in Scotland that just don't get much attention, whether through design or simple neglect on the part of the blogosphere. I have to admit that I only learnt about Tryst when reading about Jocktoberfest, an event for which they are supplying beer. So without further ado, here are the thoughts of the owner and brewer.
Name: John McGarva
How did you get into brewing as a career?
Redundancy! Whether voluntary or compulsory, there’s nothing like a good push in the back to focus your mind on your future.
What is the most important characteristic of a brewer?
Having a fairly good idea of what is going to come out of the tap or bottle for the customer.
Before being a professional brewer, did you homebrew? If so, how many of your homebrew recipes have you converted to full scale production?
I brewed on and off at home for a while but changed up several gears when I joined the Scottish Craft Brewers. A couple of my earlier recipes influenced the original brews but they have been tweaked here and there to improve them.
If you did homebrew, do you still?
I now “homebrew” on a one barrel plant in the brewery which sits next to my ten barrel plant!
What is your favourite beer that you brew?
This year I started to brew a series of Hop Trials based on the same basic malt bill and bittering hop then changed the aroma hop in each trial to feature the unique taste of the hop selected. This has kept me alert and keen all year and always looking forward to the next trial brew.
If you have worked in other breweries, which other beer did you enjoy brewing, and why?
I have only worked in one other micro brewery and that was mainly for the experience of stepping up in volume from my homebrew set up.
Of the beers you brew, which is your favourite to drink?
My favorite Tryst beer to drink is Carronade Pale Ale at 4.2% abv. It has a glorious citrus bouquet followed by the tang of big tasty American hops and in my opinion a stunning session beer.
How important is authenticity when making a new beer, in terms of flavour, ingredients and method?
I make new one off ales regularly and it’s usually the flavor of a new hop that influences me the most, followed by the intricacies of the malt bill to create a balanced drinking experience. And I have no doubt that a good live yeast culture is a must for combining the ingredients with your expectations to create something special to call your own.
If you were to do a collaborative beer, which brewery would you most like to work with and why?
Red Fox brewery in Essex. The head brewer (Russell Barnes) is fortunate enough to have experienced success with a major English micro but has now gone solo and has the passion and drive to keep pushing the boundaries of modern ales.
Which beer, other than your own, do you wish you had invented?
Crouch Vale Brewery’s Brewers Gold. Has a fantastic aroma, taste and is always on top form from cask. This beer has prompted breweries up and down Britain to produce their own version of this very pale hoppy Great British Beer Festival Double winner.