Q and A, UK Beer and Breweries

Late Knights Brewery | Q&A

Late Knights Brewery | Q&A
Originally Posted on May 04, 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 we are chatting to Sam from Late Knights Brewery.
Late Knights opened in early 2013 in Penge, SE London. The brewery itself was hand built by Martyn, Mik, Steve and Sam, who took a derelict Victorian slaughterhouse and fixed it up. Their website says they are “… super proud of, as it’s generally not the done thing” and with the work involved, we think they should be!
2016 is their fourth year in business. Those four years have seen great growth, from opening the brewery to opening pubs and increasing their brewing to 100 casks of beer a week. We look forward to seeing what 2016 brings for them.

Who are you and what is your role at Late Knights?   I am Sam Barber, Head Brewer. I create the recipes and oversee the brewing operations.

How long have you been brewing at Late Knights?   Since September 2013.

How did you get into this line of work?   I started as a home brewer making a mess of my parent’s kitchen. A meeting with company director Steve Keegan at our first pub site in Gipsy hill lead me to applying for job as brewery assistant and things progressed from there…
What have you found to be the hardest thing to master when learning to brew?   For me its understanding balance and how very subtle changes in all parts of the process can affect the finished product. That and trusting your own taste buds to determine what you want out of the beer and what to adapt to achieve that.

Out of all the beers you brew, which is your favourite and why?   Morning Glory our Best Bitter (4.4%) is one I keep coming back to. Its full of flavour at a modest ABV, relatively simple but perfectly balanced and showcases quality ingredients. For me personally it also stands as the first beer we produced that after months and months of tweaking I felt had got to a stage where it could not get any better.

What is the best part of your job?   Working daily with Andy, Chris and Ross – the brewery team, to produce things we all love and are proud of.

What is your favourite beer?   It’s currently Firestone Walker Union Jack.

What do you think makes a great beer?   Balance, drinkability, quality of ingredients and careful management of the fermentation process.

What was your first drink and where were you when you had it?   A can of Guinness in a friend’s garden, sometime in the blur of my teenage years…

What is your favourite style of beer?   Strong bitter.

Bottled or Canned?   Technically speaking, canned… but drinking from a bottle is more satisfying.

You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you?   A yacht, someone to drive the yacht and a 1962 Fender Stratocaster in sonic blue.

Thank you to Sam and Late Knights for chatting to us.

You can view and buy beers from Late Knights Brewery here.