Meet the creator: The 3 Brewers of St Albans
2 September 2019 / Meet the Creator / Food and Drink /
A new beer is brewing at The Grove… four varieties of hops are flourishing in the Walled Garden and will be picked and brewed as soon as they’re ready. To whet your appetite for our exclusive new beer, we caught up with Mark Fanner at The 3 Brewers of St Albans. He shares all things brewing with us… and reveals when our new beer will be ready to enjoy!
Tell us about the hops growing in the Walled Garden
We’re using four different varieties of hops called Fuggles (which is a very traditional popular hop), Northdown, Challenger and Cascade. They grow vertically in bines and are growing up at a fantastic rate. I’ll be checking them every week throughout September and expect to be harvesting probably one variety per week, as soon as they’re ready.
What sort of beer will you be brewing for The Grove?
We’re brewing a Pale Ale and a Pilsner, which spends a little longer maturing. They’re both very refreshing, light and fairly hoppy, and will be only available to purchase in bottles at The Grove. It’ll be amazing for guests to enjoy the beer only 20 yards or so from where it’s grown.
What’s the process?
We pick and dry the hops, keeping some back in pristine condition for later brewing in six months’ time. We’re a craft brewery and so we use fantastic quality ingredients and traditional brewing techniques to get the desired taste and strength. We add water at a specific temperature to the malted barley to draw out the right combination of sugars, proteins and carbs. Then we separate the solids from the liquid. We bring the liquid up to boiling point and add in hops at three different stages to bring out a balanced flavour and aroma. We add the yeast which eats the sugars and converts it to alcohol. Finally, just before bottling we cold-filter the beer to remove the yeast while leaving more of the full flavour in place.
What’s your role at The 3 Brewers of St Albans, and how did it all start?
I co-own The 3 Brewers and handle all the sales, marketing, accountancy and regulatory side. Previously I had worked in the corporate world for decades and didn’t want to reach 65 without doing something different. My business partner, Pete, and I were literally sitting in a pub enjoying a pint when we decided to do this. We gave it 100%, gave up our jobs and committed to making fantastic beer, and that’s what we did. We’re a small micro, brewing fairly traditional real ales and more recently moving more into the craft arena. On the draught side we have nine beers for the pub trade, and three beers in bottles.
And the name – does The 3 Brewers really only have 3 brewers?
Well we started out with three, and now, technically, there are three and a half of us. We all live in St Albans so the name was a no-brainer really. The important thing is, we’re a small micro brewery producing tasty high quality beers.
Last but not least, when will The Grove beer be ready?
Good question! We’re at the behest of nature, which is a great thing as we don’t have automated everything like the big boys. So, we can’t rush nature, and we think the earliest the beer will be ready is the very end of October or early November.