So far on ‘Coming of AGe’: I made a decision to brew commercially, I was in a reflective mood, I got my excuses in early. I learnt that buying a brewery and installing it into a suitable premises can cost a bit and that buying ingredients can be a case of I want never gets, but trying never hurts.
Rules suck, but for someone like me they’re important. I read this week that craft is no longer creative, and don’t worry I’m not going there, the article was exploring all things craft. I consider myself to be a creative person, but as a 35-year-old with a steadyish job, this is an indication that my free-thinking gene never really kicked-in. I listen carefully to what others have to say, generally agree with them and then try my best not to copy. I’m also musical [no not me, I play Brass], I brew beer and have the ability to craft [almost] any shape necessary to win a game of that relatively unknown Pictionary spin-off where you use scissors to create the clues. What I’m saying is that I’ve never felt the need, nor had the drive to conquer the world. When it comes to brewing beer that will be sold, I’m applying the same tentative approach.
Stuart Howe, a man needing little introduction to anyone who has a vague interest in beer, wrote a blog [still does] about his thoughts and experiences as an already seasoned brewer with Sharps Brewery [still is]. His opening post read:
“This is it. The first post in my new blog. I’ve got to be up in five hours so it’s a quick one. I am embarking on an exciting journey in which my very soul will be open for all to browse”.
I’m not trying to make any comparison where there isn’t one: not even the faintest skid-mark of resemblance in what he’s achieved and what I have yet to achieve, no. However, my sentiment is the same as his, writing this stuff down is a personal thing, but we both decided to put it on the equivalent of the Britain’s Got Talent stage.
So what do I want to achieve? I want to support my family and I want to do that by getting paid to do the thing that interests and excites me: brewing beer. How I go about doing that is also important to me and I need a game plan. Over to Stuart:
“The apparent conflict between idiosyncrasy and balance brings me to the question which I ask myself today. Am I trying to get a number one single or win the Turner Prize? Does there need to be a compromise?”
As a brewer just starting out I want to brew decent, tasty beer. I want the beer to be good enough to allow us to brew a second beer and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I want to do the best I can, but I’m not aspiring for a number one single. Not yet!
This time last year, I was sat at the European Beer Bloggers Conference, listening to people like Stuart, Mark Dredge, Leigh Linley, some other dude banging on about hops, and Zak Avery who said (and I paraphrase) “…enjoy writing what you write, use your blog to catalogue your thoughts and think of this as being prepared to maximise any opportunities that may come your way“. Stuart tried one of my beers that day, another blogger shared a bottle of mine with him, which I’m sure he won’t remember, but it made me want to go and brew that bit more. Since that time, both Mark and Leigh have a book published and Zak has another tank top, among other more notable achievements. And me? I’m still dreaming, but I’m close to where I want to start.
*Follow @NMBCo (Northern Monk Brewing Company).
**All Grain (AG)