Stewart is a M. Brew, it says so after his name. If I were to aspire to any post-nominal it would be to this one, for it identifies the holder as a Master Brewer, the highest academic brewing qualification available in our industry. He must have worked very hard indeed to get that; I, on the other hand, dropped out of brew-school long before I achieved anything. And it isn't just a scholastic gulf that divides us: Stewart's career followed the classic route through national and regional breweries whilst I fell into a Firkin pub one night and wasn't thrown out until I'd learnt how to brew, how to manage a brewery and how to manage a pub. And while Stewart is now Senior Brewer at Britain's oldest brewery, I'm Head Brewer at a pip-squeak upstart rival down the road. But this is the UK brewing industry and, as such, we get on like a house on fire. That's the way it has always been in our trade: collaboration and cooperation, altruism and benevolence. They tell me it doesn't happen in other industries, how sad.
Stewart and I brewed a special yesterday on his 4 barrel pilot plant, in preparation for the harvest lunch at Coldred, the village he lives in. Between us we're presenting 4 different beers, matched to each of the four courses, to the entire village in a barn made over for the purpose. 'Delta', the beer we brewed yesterday, is a simple pale ale flavoured with a new variety of American grown hop called 'Delta' (see what we did there?) whose parentage is Fuggles and Casade. We're expecting an earthy, fresh aroma with a strong, well balanced, juicy and hoppy flavour, though, to be honest, we've no real evidence upon which to base this; our joint brewer's intuition has filled in the knowledge gaps and come up with a fruitless speculation, again.
It's my turn next time and I'm looking forward to knocking out a somewhat larger collaboration brew with this Master Brewer sometime next year. Any suggestions?
To be sure, this doesn't mean I've gone soft - the PBD defence operation continues apace.