London beer week is on the horizon but going into a pub’s just too easy isn’t it?
What is Brew Club?
Hackney-based friends Rob Berezowski and Jo Llewellyn-Jones set up Brew Club in Clapton and were more than happy to talk about it.
It offers people anything from brew-your-own classes to the use of their equipment to make your own tipple.
Rob started brewing his own beer as a teenager in Canada, and picked up the hobby again a few years ago when he moved into his own flat in London.
Why bother going to the trouble?
Jo said: “I think home brewing is becoming more and more popular as people are increasingly after craft beer.
“It’s also interesting seeing how your beer is created and it allows you to put your own stamp on it too.”
Rob said: “When I was younger we would brew all the time, in our basement or garage. There just isn’t the space to do it in a flat in London. That’s why we think that people will love Brew Club.”
How much beer do I get and when can I have it?
The stations create about 20 litres (40 500ml bottles) each go and the beer is drinkable four weeks after bottling, which takes place a fortnight after it’s made.
If you can’t wait (like us) you can visit recently-opened The Brew Club tap room, which will have a selection of beers from local breweries, as well as some of Brew Club’s own on tap for people to taste. The facility also offers the chance to get some ideas before deciding on what they may like to brew.
Why not just buy a kit and do it at home?
Rob said: “You have to be really organised to brew at home to not make a total mess and destroy your kitchen.
“Then there’s the smell, which not everyone appreciates. Then you also have a huge vat of beer sitting around fermenting for a few weeks before you can bottle it.
“You have to keep it at the right temperature so I kept mine in the bath, though I can’t say my girlfriend loved that.”
What does it all cost?
For beer aficionados hiring a station is £60 each and between a group ingredients can cost between £10-£20.
For an All Grain Beginner’s Class (four and a half hours) people can learn the basics of all grain brewing for £120pp or go for a more fast-tracked version – the Extract Beginner’s Class (three hours) – which costs £80pp.
Rob said: “Our goal is to get more people into brewing as a hobby and give them everything they need to come back and brew independently.”
Then there’s the important bit
The Wharf made its own beer and discovered one of the most engaging parts of the process is coming up with a name.
We decided on Bitter Critic after a brief flirtation with Financial P****drict. Anything better, send answers on a postcard.
Brew Club is open 10am to 11pm, Tuesday-Sunday.
Go to brewclub.uk.com.
The brewing stages:
1. The mash
The malted barley is steeped in warm water to separate the malt starch that is contained in the malt, and convert it into simple sugars.
2. The boil
The sugary water (wort) produced by the mash is bought to boil, and then hops are added, the early additions are made for bittering, then for aroma.
After the boil the wort is quickly cooled before being moved into the fermenter.
The yeast is added, which converts the sugars in the beer into alcohol.
The beer is stored at 18-20C for approximately two weeks.
After two weeks the beer is bottled. At this stage a small amount of sugar is added, which will carbonate the product and the beer will condition.
Around four weeks later the beer is ready to drink.