Meet the brewer | Moor Beer Company
If you love craft beer and haven’t heard of Moor Beer you should be ashamed of yourself. Winner of many international awards and top ratings, Moor Beer has certainly flourished since 2007 when it was reborn from a defunct business in Somerset.
They have a fresh outlook on brewing beer, and have made their success by standing out from the crowd, championing unfined natural hazy beers from Germany and natural conditioning from the UK. Merge those together and you get ‘Modern Real Ale’.
Ahead of our double header Moor Beer tap takeovers in Oxford and Cambridge, we pin down Head Brewer Justin Hawkes to see what makes him tick and how Moor Beer came about.
How did you get first get into brewing?
My TAC Officer at West Point was a home brewer and introduced me to the possibilities. A few years later my wife bought me a home-brew kit for Christmas and things got rolling from there. I’m sure she regrets that now!
What sort of brewing processes do you guys use?
Everything in the Brewhouse is manually controlled, so our beer is very much hand made as opposed to rolling out of bed and checking the brew progress on your iPad. We use whole leaf hops in the kettle and pellets in our cylindroconical unitanks. We do all our own packaging and have our own bottling line and canning line. It’s a huge investment in time and equipment to take this approach, but we firmly believe it gives us more control over quality. Quality is hugely important to us, so we have an in house laboratory as well that is constantly being added to. Our latest addition is a yeast propagation system, which we’re really excited to start using as it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for us to play with different yeasts and brew different beers.
What’s your favourite beer to brew?
Brew days are pretty repetitive and are largely all the same on the brew day. However one of the exceptions, and one that we all enjoy taking part in even though it takes longer, is brewing our fresh hop beer, Envy. People wrongly expect fresh hop beers to be these massive hops bombs, and they aren’t at all. Fresh hops haven’t been dried, so they are mostly water weight. Consequently you need to use a significantly larger quantity of hops in the brew, and those hops have a much subtler, grassier profile that don’t give the hop resin character that some people may incorrectly expect. We are about an hour or so from the hop fields, so we drive up in the morning to get the freshly picked hops and repurpose the mash tun as a hop back. Packing in loads and loads of fresh hops is a lot of fun and the aroma is absolutely amazing. Cleaning out the mash tun afterwards is not so fun!
What’s your favourite beer to drink?
My favourite beer to drink is one in perfect condition, be it a super fresh IPA, a fantastically managed pint of traditional bitter, or a freshly tapped keller.
What’s your favourite thing about what you guys do?
We are small and family owned so we can do whatever we want with the resources we have available. That means we’ve been able to do things like start the unfined beer movement, be the first to be accredited by CAMRA for real ale in a can, and work with hop researchers to develop new varieties. We also like getting involved with things like raising money for Hardcore Hits Cancer and traveling the world to collaborate with our brewing friends.
Moor tap takeovers going down in Oxford this week:
Thursday 22nd & Cambridge Friday 23rd June.
There is plenty going on at both tap takeovers, including the launch of our collaboration brew ‘Rye’s Against’, rare bottle tasting, beery snacks and a beery BBQ in Cambridge.
Look forward to seeing you there