Originally Posted on Nov 16, 2016
Are you curious to know about the people behind the beers you buy? Or perhaps you want to know what inspires brewers to brew and beer bloggers to blog? Our “Q&A” posts are a light hearted way of getting to know people working in, and connected to, the beer and alcohol industry.
Today’s post features Fallen Angel Brewery, a family run microbrewery producing craft ales and ciders. Fallen Angel was first established in 2004 in East Sussex and soon became widely known across the chilli fraternity and with beer enthusiasts for its unique chilli ales and ciders. 2012 saw the brewery move to the East of England and Broxbourne Brewery became the home of the Fallen Angel.
Who are you/what do you do? We are Martin and Gillian, a husband and wife team with a passion for craft, beer, reinvention, conversation and an outdoor lifestyle.
When did your love affair with beer begin? Martin – when my dad gave me a 70 shilling beer, while he was playing poker with his friends at our home
Gillian – my love affair with craft beer and different tastes began in Canada’s first microbrewery brewery, Granville Island Brewery. It was the only ‘pub’ in Vancouver where we could take our rescue pup, so many a Sunday afternoon was spent sampling seasonal flights of beer while Charlie had a plate of pork bites!
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? The more we share our story the more it resonates with friends and colleagues. We were both working in architecture in London when we met in 2001. We took three years out to practice in Vancouver, BC from 2006-2010. Whilst we were there, surrounded by craft breweries and away from the London commute, we realised that there was something about going back to ‘arts and crafts’. Like ‘the good life’ we started by getting some chickens (subsequently all given names) to join our rescue dog, Charlie and our late cat, Ozzie.
In late 2014 a small ad saying microbrewery for sale caught our interest and the rest, as they say, is history. We haven’t looked back, from the chilli fiestas, amazing communities, stunning locations, food and drink festivals… and great beer!
What’s the story behind the brewery name and logo? Martin – Just as we adopt animals, we adopted the brewery in 2015 from a young lady who had less time to nurture it so we inherited the original name. However, if you saw Gillian, you would see that the logo and name seem strangely appropriate!!!!
There is also a story behind the festival labels. The brewery was approached by a student whilst exhibiting at Earls Court. She was commissioned to do the labels, without realising that she was an erotic fine artist! We have some of the never seen original artwork, but it’s more of a tamed down saucy ‘carry-on’ style now!
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years time? We will continue to experiment and expand the business with new craft beers with a cheeky twist. We are aiming to introduce tours and increase our wholesale market, looking at different countries we can export to. But most of all, over the next five years we hope to make ‘Fallen Angel’ a household name.
Looking ahead, what new things can we expect from Broxbourne over the coming months? Short term, Black Death is now on the shelves in Debenhams. This year they increased the scoville rating From Fire in the Hole, taking our award-winning, cult following, Naga infused, Black Death and serving it in a skull glass.
We’ve recently read that a Historian has claimed that the Black Death led to the creation of the pub.
“This was when the English pub was invented and people started drinking lots of beer and playing football and so on. That was in a way due to, or at least a consequence of, and wouldn’t have been possible without, the Black Death.”
So it’s very apt to raise a glass of Black Death to the Black Death!!
We have also created some new mixer recipes, have a taste:
1/3 SmithsSmooth Alcoholic Ginger Beer
2/3 Angry Ox Bitter
1/2 Gardeners Delight (dry prosecco tasting cider)
2/3 Gardeners Delight
1/3 Elderflower Gin or elderflower cordial with lime
Christmas gifts, Corporate gifts and white labelling – We are very happy to have companies ‘brand’ the artisanal ales as their own and we can provide bespoke gifts and apt labels.
We are now brewing for a few companies, making mixed selections of 3 in a jute bag or box. For cider lovers there is a spicy cider, a dry sparkling prosecco cider and ginger beer. For ale lovers there is a smooth bitter, cowgirl copper ale and ginger beer. And, of course, for the chilli lover, our mildly spicy Scotch Bonnet Cider, Fire in the Hole, where you taste chilli’s like you’re eating them and our surprising Black Death. Chilli beer packs with our Fire in the Hole will also be on the shelves in stores.
In the medium term, over the summer our friend Alfredo came over to help us and we experimented with Canadian-British recipes with a hint of Italian! The brew turned out really well and we trying to come up with a name. We have lots more we want to try, including 12 other original Fallen Angel brews.
Longer term, we are also looking at a collaboration with Writtle to maybe open up the brewery to people to experiment and learn how to brew
What have you found to be the hardest thing to master when learning to brew? Like architecture you’re continually learning and experimenting. We’re still mastering it…
What do you think makes a great beer? Everyone has their own opinion on what makes a great beer. For us, it’s something that is full flavoured with a pleasant after taste.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? Martin – my first drink at home was a Scottish 70 shilling. My first drink in a pub was a pint of Tennants Lager on holiday with my friends in Scotland.
Gillian – My first drink at home was a snowball at Christmas. My first drink in a pub was a rum and coke in the Bitter End, Romford. My first cocktail was a Harvey Wallbanger at the Ilford Palais.
We know it’s tough to choose, but what’s your favourite beer? Martin – a draft pint of Cowgirl (ours) and Granville Island Brewery Winter Ale
Gillian – Our Gardeners Delight and Edinburgh Gin’s Elderflower Liqueur.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? Martin – I missed a flight home after a bonding weekend with my brother. The less said about that, the better!
Gillian – The most I’ll divulge is pouring a pint of cold water over myself to cool down in a nightclub!
What is the best part of your job? Close behind actually brewing the beer is attending the festivals and banter with the customer. We recently had someone drink 5 bottles of our Black Death at a festival who had been searching for a great beer since being stationed in Germany. That gives us great satisfaction. So many times we hear people say of our smooth alcoholic ginger beer “it’s like my grandmother used to make.” Its lovely that we can give people that memory.
You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? Martin – our menagerie of animals, my wife and brew making equipment.
Gillian – my mum and dad, our menagerie with puppy (well, he’s 8 and a 40lb ball of fluff, but he’ll always be my puppy!) and my husband.
Thanks to both Gillian and Martin for chatting to us.
View and buy beers from Fallen Angel here.
View and buy beers from Broxbourne Brewery here.