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  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Gimme Celt'er

    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).

    Tom, Thomas, Thomas G, George @CeltBrewershot

    Brewery Name:The Celt Experience ('Celt')

    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

  • Interview with a Head Brewer - Sole Man

    We are on somewhat of an English brewer kick at the moment with our head brewer interviews. The latest brewer was recommended to CellarMonk from an avid beer drinker (thanks @broadfordbrewer) and luckily he agreed to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame (well, somewhat) and hold court on all aspects of his brewing life (well, the exciting bits at least). Please welcome to CellarMonk, the head brewer for Adnams Plc, Mr. Fergus Fitzgerald.

     Fergus Fitzgerald  @Solebear

    Brewery Name: Adnams Plc

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    I joined in 2004 and became head brewer in 2008.

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did you learn the craft?
    I studied Biotechnology in Ireland, which touches on brewing, my formal brewing training then came on the job whilst training and studying for the IBD exams, http://www.ibd.org.uk/qualifications/examinations/ starting with the certificate in brewing, then the diploma and finally the Master brewer Exams.

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    I studied Biotechnology in Ireland and then took up a temporary laboratory job at Fullers brewery in London, that was my first real introduction to brewing and it kickstarted my interest in brewing. That led to another temporary lab job in Murphys in Cork, and then back to Fullers for a second time for a permanent job in 1997. I then circled my way around the brewery, going through various quality and production jobs. During this time I'd passed the diploma in brewing exams which gave me the chance to move into the brewhouse. I then moved up to Adnams as assistant head brewer in 2004, working under the then head brewer Mike Powell-Evans.

    Mike retired in 2008 having installed a new brewhouse in 2007 and I took over as head brewer.

    When did you move to this location, or have you always been there?
    I moved up here from London in 2004, we were actually looking to move to the North West, closer to my wifes family but the job at Adnams came up and it was too good to turn down.

  • Interview with a Head Brewer/Brewmaster - Properly Vetted

    Just in time for their 3rd Anniversary and with Veterans Day having just passed, we bring you the latest brewer courageous enough to sit in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame. Swatting away our grueling questions as if they were just practice targets, CellarMonk is proud to present to you Navy veteran and head brewer for Railhouse Brewing, Mr. Brian Evitts. SALUTE.

    Name(s): Brian EvittsBrian Evitts

    Brewery Name: Railhouse Brewery      

    How long have you beer head brewer/brewmaster there?
    Three years, since Railhouse’s inception. Our third anniversary is December 1. 

    Any type of formal training in brewing science or art?  If not, how did you learn the craft?
    I learned by home brewing for 15 years--10 years all grain. I also had 8 years working in a chemistry background in the US Navy. Before opening the brewery, I knew I needed some commercial training, so I took a course with the World Brewing Academy, Siebel Institute of Technology.  

    If you will, a brief history of your brewing experience (where have you brewed)?
    Railhouse Brewery is my first commercial brewery experience. I had brewed for 15+ years as a home brewer and studied extensively on my own (home and commercial brewing text books, online courses, blogs).  

    How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
    Last year's production was just under 1,400 barrels. We expect that to double next year. We’ve purchased an additional conditioning tank to allow us to increase capacity.

    Is it automated or is there a lot of exercise involved in your brewery's operation?
    Very manual, almost no automation. We still stir in the mash manually! Only automation is our solenoids to keep temps stable. We recently purchased a new bottling machine and labeler, though it will be a couple more weeks until we have them up and running.

    Have you ever had a bad batch?  If so, how long did it take you to figure out what caused it?  
    Yes, we had three bad batches in the first year. It was due to us using open fermentation tanks, and we did not have enough of a positive pressure environment so we had some sour beer straight from the fermenter. Took us about three weeks to fix the issue.

  • Interview with a Homebrewer - Creecher Comforts

    A fellow North Carolina homebrewer joins us in the Comfy Computer Chair of Fame for a Tar Heel homebrew interview.  Our homebrewer is plugged into most homebrew happenings in the state and publishes a blog to get the word out on what's going on in the NC hombrew community.  Please welcome and avid homebrewer with dreams beyond the kitchen, welcome Mr. Chris Creech @NChomebrewing

    Chris Creechinterview pic 158x228

    Day Job:  Project Manager for a Web Design Firm

    What got you into homebrewing? A person? An unfulfilled interest? Sheer boredom?
    My college roommate was talking about his "bucket list," and one of the things on his list was to brew his own beer, so I looked at him and said, "we could do that." He sort of shrugged it off and was going to move on, but I said, "no, really, we could definitely do that now." So he said sure, and we did a little research and the two of us, along with 3 others, all chipped in a few bucks and we went to the store and bought a homebrew equipment kit and our first batch of ingredients.

    Do you belong to a homebrew club? What is it?
    I am on the email listserv for a few local clubs, and through my blog, I try to post events and news from both TRUB and CARBOY, among others. The group that I participate in most often is the Greater Raleigh Area Brewers and Suds Sippers, also known as GRABASS, which is more of a "brewing dis-organization," as some might say.

    Have you brought others into homebrewing? If so, how?
    I would like to think that my blog (http://NChomebrewing.com) has helped get some people into brewing, or at least helped them learn something new! I have also taught a couple of entry-level brewing classes for a local "Connoisseur Club" at Bub O'Malley's bar in Chapel Hill. Even my dad has gotten into it a little bit, when he received a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas a year or two ago.

  • Our Brewmaster/Head Brewer Interviews

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    One of our favorite things here at CellarMonk is when we get the opportunity to engage with brewing professionals. From Germany to Great Britain, Belgium to the United States and around the world; we have had brewers from two and three man operations all the way to centuries old, world renowned breweries.

    Our interviews aim to not only show these brewers in their craft, but also to show them as the same as the rest of us outside the brewery. Our aim is to show that they may have the occasional bad batch, they too strive to get better at what they do  and that their ultimate goal is to provide the best beer (whether craft or crafted) to the consumer. Give them a read and try some of their offerings. Cheers!
    If you are a head brewer and would like to be profiled or a marketing manager that would like their brewer interviewed just send us an email.


    Now, enjoy some interviews below!

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