Few days ago, the CAMRA crowned Elland 1872 Porter the ‘Best Beer of Britain’ over other finalist in seven different categories. We’ve had the privilege to contact Martin Ogley, owner of Elland Brewery, to congratulate them for winning the gold medal and he has kindly answered some questions for this blog about the story of the brewery, the 1872 Porter – that was created reviving an old recipe found in a brewing book from 1872 – and finally a special present for homebrewers… he has provided a beer recipe so we can try to brew our home version of the 1872 Porter.
The Great British Beer Festival 2013 took place in Olympia (London) from 13th to 17th Aug. One of the most important announcements that get the attention of the beer world is the nomination of the Champion Beer of Britain that CAMRA publishes the first day of the festival. So we contacted Martin and you can read the interview below. There is a lot of interesting information here, we know you can´t wait now…so serve a beer yourself while you read the conversation with Martin below:
First of all congratulations for receiving the gold medal in GBBF 2013. We know the 1872 Porter awarded also the Champion Winter Beer in 2010 and 2013 so we can imagine it was one of the favorite beers to win the Champion Beer of Britain this year. When did Elland Brewery decide to revive an old Porter recipe?
- We have brewed this beer from just after the brewery was founded in 2002. It was originally a “Winter Beer” but soon became a permanent feature on our beer list available all year round.
In your opinion, what makes this beer different and unique compared to other Porter and made it the Best Beer in Britain?
- It stands out from the others as it is very traditional – it uses all English hops and Malts and has always been a great example of this traditional style of beer
We understand that it must be difficult to brew an old recipe today because the water sources might have a different composition or the malt might be kilned with a different technology or the hop variants might be slightly different or even yeast might have evolved…So was it easy to brew the same recipe today or did you have to make it actual with existing ingredients? Did you feel you had to brew your own version of the recipe to adapt it today?
- The original recipe came from a brewing book from 1872 – our brewer at the time spoke with the hop suppliers and they advised us on replacement hops needed to give a similar flavour – It’s hard to find someone who was around in 1872 so we did it as close to the original recipe as possible.
We know British beers have a local character, even a stye like Porter would have been quite different from one region to another. Does Ellan Brewery use local suppliers (water, malt, hops, …) to empathize a local character in all its beers?
- Our water is Tap water that is softened slightly to aid fermentation, The malt comes from Fawcetts in Castleford, Less than 25 Miles away and the hops are all English varieties – A Proper English Porter
We are seeing a phenomenal success of craft beer in Spain during last 5 years. More than 100 micro breweries opened and fortunately we are waking up from the comma produced by big commercial brands that only supplied light lagers. We are proud to be a wine producer country and we are recognized globally as one of the top wine producers, there are famous regions like Rioja or Ribera del Duero among many others awarded with very important prizes. However we don’t have a craft beer tradition like UK, Germany or Belgium. Do you think it’s essential the definition of local and unique styles of beer rather than copying and modifying classic beer styles?
- We brew both Traditional and unique beers – the Traditional Yorkshire Bitters are still selling well, as are the new style , Pale hoppy/bitter beers – there is a market in the UK for all styles of beer – other brewers are copying what the american “Craft” brewers are doing and producing very Bitter Very hoppy beers we have a range that hopefully will appeal to all drinkers.
What do you think we can do to promote craft beer in Spain?
- The difficulty is getting people to try something different, you have the big brewers and have, by the looks of it an emerging number of Craft brewers – it’s up to you all to push to get people to move away from what they have always drunk over the years onto the new brewers beers – get people to try it
What would be your advice for new brew masters that would like to open a micro brewery or have opened it recently to make it successfully?
- Don’t limit yourself to one style of beer – brew a range of beers – but don’t make them too extreme – it may put some people off – brew balanced beers with drinkability – something that people want to drink again and again – but most importantly brew a core range of beers that are of a consistent high quality and that the same brews taste the same every time you brew them.
And finally, we love homebrewing, how do you think we can recreate a home version of this Porter? Could you give us some details about malt types, hop variants, yeast and maturation do you suggest us to put in the recipe?
- Malt: Pale (base), Brown (8%) Chocolate (8%), Amber (4%)
Hops: Target & Northdown
Hops: Target (23g/Litre made) and Northdown (23g/Litre made)
Yeast is a wet brewers yeast – it is fermented at 20 deg C for one week then left to condition for one week.
OG – 1065
FG – 1016
Thanks so much for your collaboration Martin and congratulations again for the gold medal. Much appreciated. We hope we can visit you in near future.
For your information, if you live in the UK you can visit Elland Brewery in Elland – West Yorkshire. If you live in a region where they don’t supply directly you can buy their beers online from: http://www.bierhuis.co.uk/British-Beers/yorkshire-breweries