We think it's pretty important to give context to the things that we do here at NMBCo. We put a lot of effort into conveying this in our peel and reveal labels and we strive to create more than just great beer. With this in mind, we think that we should really give you a chance to get to know the people behind the beer. Over the coming months, we will be conducting interviews and providing insights from the inner circle of the Northern Monk Brethren. So without further ado, let's kick this off with a conversation about all things beer (and beaches) with our newest addition and Production Manager, Mr Colin Stronge.
If there's one brewery (or more) that most inspires you, which one would it be and why?
Jester King have always been a massive favourite. Their whole philosophy of the brewery is inspiring; their use of local ingredients; the commitment to mixed fermentation; the development and evolution of the collected strains they use; the delicious beer that all of this combines to create are a thing of total fascination to me. Combined with all of this and their delicious beers, they are some of the nicest and most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.
When did you first fall in love with beer and which beer was it?
The first time I really enjoyed a beer was Kronenbourg on holiday with family in France, the first time I fell in love with it was Rodenbach Grand Cru in The Maltings in York. I’m not quite sure what I expected when I ordered it, but it absolutely blew my mind and changed the way I look at beer entirely.
What are your top 3 beers of the year?
Hof ten Dormaal, Stekelbees Zure van Tildonk. I had this in Bundobust the Saturday evening after Dark City and was blown away. Raspingly sour like a mix between a lambic and a saison with added gooseberries. What’s not to like?
Arizona Wilderness, American Presidential Stout (2017). Big, rich, lightly spicy, chocolately goodness. I look forward to this beer every year, but I think this year’s version was one of the best.
Magic Rock, Fantasma. Became my go-to beer this summer. Just a really drinkable IPA made with a lot of citra and everyone loves some citra!
Top 3 ever?
-Brasserie d’Orval, Orval, just an absolutely beautiful classic, probably the closest thing we have in the modern age to an original IPA, laced with saaz hop spiciness and the gentle devlopment of brettanomyces in the bottle.
-3 Fontainen, Schaarbeekse Kriek. It’s becoming rare to see this beer as the small, native cherries of the Pojottenland are becoming harder to come by, but when I can get my hands on one it’s deep cherry flavour balances perfectly with a biting acidity and is too good to pass by.
-Heineken Nederland Heineken, because sometimes, you just need a completely singular, industrial lager
If you had to take a long walk along a beach, which beach would it be? (Guest question by Soren of Dry & Bitter)
One of the prettiest places I’ve ever been is Cape Tribulation in Queensland, the most perfect white beach meets the perfect blue sea and where the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef are at their closest. We went in jelly fish season so couldn’t get in the sea, would love to return and go swimming there.
Which beer would you say you are most proud of having been involved with?
One of my absolute favourites was the Deep Rainbow Valley that we brewed with my good friends from Arizona Wilderness a few years back. It was a 9% saison with orange juice and gorse flowers which we foraged ourselves around Buxton and Chesterfield. We did two versions, one bottle conditioned with brett and one without and both were as close to perfect as I could have wanted.
What are you most looking forward to brewing here with us at Northern Monk?
I’m really excited to brew a mid strength bretted pale ale, but probably no-more-so than brewing Heathen or Strannik.