We've done quite a few interviews with head brewers in the past here, but none quite measure up to our latest. They were all good, but for sheer quirkyness our latest is a cut above. The Comfy Computer Chair of Fame had a hard time holding this brewer down. Fantastic interview nonetheless. Hold onto your hats and get to know our latest interviewee, The Celt Experience head brewer, Mr. Tom Newman. Remind us never to ask any more about "dogwhelks" (you'll understand).
How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there? Since 2003 officially
Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft? No brewing masters, but I've trained in Belgium on Belgian brewing techniques at VLB Berlin in brewing microbiology, and studied microbiology in my science and engineering degrees. I have also been through a Brewlab programme and a Beer Academy 'sommelier' programme. I studied Environmental Pollution Science as my first degree, which included a study on 'the impact of marine pollution on dog whelks', which does not sound that interesting, but actually it is...There is a disorder called 'imposex' which actually causes female dogwhelks to grow a penis through an inducer called TBT. My colleague and close friend Steffane had the painful task of measuring female penis sizes for 6 months...
If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)? When did you move to this location, or have you always been there? I started home brewing beer and wine in 1989 (at 14 years old) but worked first in the brew industry way back in 1991 at Butcombe brewery in Somerset. At the time they were seen as pioneers as they split from the norm. I had time for that. My job was cleaning out vessels, racking Butcome bitter and cask cleaning. I even cut the late Simon Whitmore's lawn on a few occasions! I became chartered in Water engineering in the mid nineties and worked on process at various cider factories and breweries including bulmers and Guinness in Park Royal. In 2003 I opened my own brewery in Banwell, Somerset with the help of George Thompson (former Mansfield head brewer). This was under the name of Newmans brewery (intentionally) and is where I learnt how to bugger things up, fix things, learn about how bad cheap hops are and generally spend life stressed. The brew plant was 4.5 BBLS. I lost most of my hair during this period... I moved to Yatton in 2005/6 converting an old railway building and designed a 20 BBL brewery. We only stayed there for a few years, but I really started getting to grasp off late hopping and US hops at this stage. In 2007 I move back to my fathers homeland of Caerphilly and decided I was at a level ready to release a cool brand stepping out of 'the old scene', which was when 'The Celt Experience' was launched. I designed and installed a 40 bbl plant with an automated bottling line. Initially we found some organic cascade, first gold and Nz hops which made me believe aromas suited using organic... But we took a U-turn on this in 2009 as it was restricting recipes. In 2009/10 we really started throwing in silly quantities of hops and using different yeasts, which was probably when out name started to really get some recognition outside of Wales. I feel like I am rambling, so I need to move on before I bore myself
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