Sunday 12 August 2007

Hands-On with London's Youngest Brewer!

Whatever you’re thinking, stop it! When I say I spent the day ‘hands-on’ with London’s youngest brewer, Tony Lennon, I mean he was kind enough to let me spend the day brewing with him.

Without wishing to tease too much I'm afraid I can't write extensively right now about my day's brewing with Tony at the Florence in Herne Hill, sister pub to the Cock & Hen , because I'm writing an article for a couple of magazines, which I'm sure I'll be able to publish extracts from in the not too distant future.

However, what I will say is how educational it was for me.

Although I know the majority of the theory, and I've been to many different breweries of varying sizes, I've never actually been hands-on with the whole of the brewing process and certainly not on such a micro scale and it's really increased my understanding of the practical side of the process, as opposed to the slightly more 'fluffy' tasting and food matching side.

We were making Bonobo at 4.5%, the darker of the two beers brewed at both the Florence and the Cock & Hen, and my boss for the day seemed pretty pleased with it all so that's good - I'll let you know what it tastes like in 40 days, by which time I should be able to talk more about the day.

Tony - despite the fact he's got the hump with me for calling him a 'lovely lad' in a previous post - was more than a little patient with my occasionally stupid questions and the fact that I was almost certainly more hindrance than help.

And at the risk of sounding like one big advert for Capital Pub Company on this blog at the moment, you really should get down to the Florence. It's a beautiful pub, with a massive garden, lovely airy conservatory, great food, beautiful architecture and original features and an in-house brewery! As just a small taster of what's on offer - they sell Budvar, Aspall, Adnams and, of course, either Weasel or Bonobo.

I will sound a note of caution though and that's if, like me, you have a nutter magnet on your forehead you may find some of the local residents a little disturbing - I had a couple of funny ones - but my personal favourite for the day? The guy who was collecting and smoking 'recycled' cigarettes about two feet away from me (fortunately on the other side of some railings) who proceeded to growl at me for about five minutes much to the amusement of the other patrons!

But PLEASE don't let this put you off - this kind of stuff happens to me all the time - it really is the most lovely pub and even worth a trip to Herne Hill for!


Anonymous said...

Was it hard work moving all the ingredients and the developing beer? I was wondering if the brewery was hard-piped, since you can only see the tun and kettle at ground level. It's what, 3-bbl or 5-bbl, something like that?

I did some work in an 11-barrel plant a couple of years ago, and it was back-breaking and non-stop.

Melissa Cole said...

It's a five and it was incredibly hard work! No wonder the lad who runs it doesn't bother with the gym! It is hard piped down to the fermentation and serving tanks - the hardest bit, and why I'm feeling it in my shoulders this morning is that they don't have a grist mill so the grain arrives crushed and it needs to be mixed by hand with a hot water pipe in the bag and then just be held there while it runs into the mash tun in order to mash in properly and stop big lumps - it's a killer!

Melissa Cole said...

I need to publish an apology, sorry Tony I called you a lad again - oops!