Brew by Numbers

ABOUT BBNo. Our history, our future and what drives Brew By Numbers. THE BEER At Brew By Numbers (BBNo.) we strive to create new, exciting and forward-thinking beers focusing on quality and drinkability. Whether developing new styles, adapting established ones, or bringing the less well-known styles back into the limelight, we create each beer with the same level of care, attention and respect. All of these carefully crafted beers are brewed with the finest natural ingredients and packaged alive, in both bottle and KeyKeg, to ensure a natural carbonation and allow flavours to evolve over time. The harshest critics of our own work, we only release beers that are of a high standard, balanced and drinkable. THE INSPIRATION Before brewing together, Dave and Tom took their inspiration from opposite sides of the world. Dave discovered craft beer in Australia and New Zealand, while Tom, introduced to The Kernel Brewery during the early days, was blown away by the intensity and variety of flavours that come from the new world hops they were using. Since brewing together, Tom and Dave took a trip to Belgium for the Festival of Spontaneous Fermentation – a weekend dedicated to Gueuze and Lambic beers – and were taken aback by the refreshing crispness of Belgian Saisons and the funky acidity created by the wild yeast Brettanomyces, intrigued by the herbal and spicy tartness of Witbiers, and blown away by the rich complexity of the Abbey style ales. Brew By Numbers continues to draw inspiration from other breweries in the States and the UK as well as taking inspiration from flavour combinations from everyday life. THE BEGINNING Tom and Dave met in China on a rock climbing tour around Asia. After hanging out on the rocks and riding motorbikes around Vietnamese islands and the hilly borderlands between Laos and Myanmar they formed a solid friendship. In April 2011, Dave returned from travelling after two years in the Antipodes, drinking craft beer and doing some basic homebrew. At the same time, Tom – an old friend of Toby from the Kernel – was drinking their IPAs and Pale Ales, wondering how he could do them differently. By August that year Dave and Tom, committed to opening their own microbrewery, had secured the use of a friend’s basement on Southwark Bridge Road and built a simple homebrew kit. Through reading books on brewing, researching online, and asking for tips and advice from friends in the industry, Dave and Tom began to teach themselves to brew. The first three brews were made with malt extract, boiled with hops to give flavour and bitterness, and fermented in plastic buckets. From brew 4 onwards Dave and Tom moved to all-grain mashes, using malted grains instead of extract to achieve more authentic results. Their set-up was rudimentary: a 50ltr coolbox with homemade copper manifold and sparge arm and a plastic container for both hot liquor (water) tank (HLT) and boil kettle. But results were good, and by brews 6 and 7 people were seeing potential. Dave and Tom progressed quickly. This was, in part, because they would split batches at different stages to create variations of each brew – whether at the boil to allow different hop and spice additions, in the fermentor to allow the use of different yeasts, or post-fermentation to allow the use of dry hopping, infusions or wild yeasts. By doing this, original recipes and methods were developed. In February 2012 a French Saison yeast strain was brought to London for a collaboration brew between two prominent UK brewers. That strain gradually made its way around London’s breweries, finally reaching Dave and Tom, and by brew 20 they made their first Citra Saison. Now officially Brew By Numbers, Dave and Tom took this ‘Hoppy Saison’ to the staff at Craft Beer Co. Clerkenwell for their critique. June 2012 and Dave and Tom visited Belgium with Andy from Partizan Brewing (then still brewing at Redemption) and Toby from the Kernel. Upon returning, inspired by the trip, BBNo. brewed their first Brett-aged Saison and began planning to brew Witbiers and Belgian Blonde Ales. In July 2012 a generous philanthropist donated enough money for Dave and Tom to move to stainless equipment – for HLT/kettle and mash tun, at least. This investment allowed many upgrades that would help BBNo. achieve their goal of selling beer brewed in their basement space. They achieved that goal when in November 2012 they received permission from Southwark Council to brew beer for sale and on December 1st hosted the official launch party of Brew By Numbers at The Craft Beer Co. in Clerkenwell. THE BREWHOUSE With the recent flourish of microbreweries in the UK the demand for and cost of used brewhouses is high. BBNo. was faced with two options: spend a lot on a small, second-hand brewhouse, or create our own. The choice was easy, so inspired by the craft breweries of Australia and New Zealand – where brewery-specific equipment is scarce – we decided to convert used stainless soft drink and dairy vessels to create our own bespoke brewhouse. BBNo.’s brewhouse has one of the smallest footprints of any 12 barrel (bbl) brewery in the UK, with a gravity fed whirlpool allowing the brewers to use hop pellets in the boil for maximum flavour extraction. The cladding and banding were all done by hand, in-house, with the help of some volunteers. Now the brewhouse is finished, the old tanks are ready to enjoy their latest incarnation, making some of the finest beer south of the river. THE PILOT KIT Experimentation has always been a mainstay of our approach to brewing. With the 12bbl brewhouse up and running our original brew kit has become our pilot kit. On this kit we develop new ideas and recipes, testing new ingredients and creating short-run, limited-release batches. The pilot kit is one tenth the size of our new brewhouse, making the upscaling of recipes quite simple. Furthermore, wort from the large brewhouse can be collected and used to create different recipe variations. From brewing Imperial versions of the main batch to creating a series of Coffee Porters, this flexibility allows us to push the boundaries of our understanding and continually extend our knowledge. Keep an eye out for the red Pi stamp indicating these exclusive new brews. THE LOCATION BBNo. HQ stands shoulder to shoulder with other artisan producers in the heart of Bermondsey’s culinary quarter, a stone’s throw from the popular Maltby Street Market and Spa Terminus. OPEN DAYS AND EVENTS Brew By Numbers is open every Saturday from 10:00-17:00 and we welcome visitors to try our latest creations. These include the freshest releases from our brewhouse along with limited edition Pilot brews sold exclusively on site, and even a few experimental beer and malt cocktails. Beer can be consumed on site or in bottle to take away. Other private events, such as beer tastings and food pairings, are set to take place next year. To keep up to date, please see our events page or join our mailing list for more details. [+]