Originally Posted on Aug 17, 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 bloggers to write about beer? Our Q&A posts are a light hearted way of getting to know people working in, and connected to, the beer and alcohol industry.
In today’s post we are chatting to Purple Moose Brewery. Located in the historic harbour town of Porthmadog in North Wales, close to the Snowdonian mountains. Brewing commenced on the 14th June 2005 with a one off special pale ale called “No.1.”
Who are you/what do you do? I’m Lawrence Washington, Managing Director of Purple Moose Brewery Ltd
How long have you been brewing at Purple Moose? 11 years.
How did you get into this line of work? A passion for great beer combined with my creative nature got me into serious homebrew, making my own recipes and using raw ingredients, rather than homebrew kits.
What inspired you to start up the brewery? Creating a great tasting product from raw ingredients and then seeing the satisfaction of people enjoying what you have done.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years time? I would like to see Purple Moose Brewery as a well-known brand in the UK and to have expanded our export markets.
What do you think makes a great beer? A real depth of flavour balancing the hops. Many beers today are all about the hops, which is great to a point, but the lighter ales in particular can taste a bit thin on the palate. If you can match a great hop character to a full, malty body then you get the best of both worlds. It is a tricky balancing act!
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? Harviestoun Brewery and Wye Valley Brewery, they have good business models to follow.
Out of all the beers you brew, which is your favourite? Why is that? Of our regular beers, it is Dark Side of the Moose, because it perfectly fits my own tastes for a dark, malty bitter with plenty of body. We also produced a one-off special for our 10th anniversary in 2015, called Decadence. This was a 10% ABV barley wine, aged in Laphroaig Quarter Casks. The strong peatiness which came through wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, as with the whisky, but for me it was perfection!!
Where did you learn to brew? A combination of self-taught home brewing and a kind of work-experience opportunity at a commercial brewery in Somerset, many years ago.
Have you always been a brewer or did you do different jobs before this? I originally worked at my father’s printing company in Cheltenham but took three years out of that to gain a degree in music.
What is the hardest thing to master when learning to brew? Being pedantic about cleanliness!
What is your favourite beer, wine or spirit? My favourite beer is Dark Side of the Moose. I designed this to suit my own taste in beer, so why wouldn’t it be my favourite?!! My favourite whisky is Laphroaig Quarter Cask. I love the full-on peat smoke character of this.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? I’m pretty sure it was a lager and lime at my first sixth form party. I didn’t know any better!
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? Thunderbird!!
What is your favourite style of beer? Rich, dark, malty ales, i.e. dark bitters, old ales etc.
Bottled or canned beer? Bottled. There’s something psychological about drinking great beer out of a can which I still can’t get my head around. Maybe I’m just set in my ways!!
If you have to pick, which would be your top three beers in the whole world? Gales Prize Old Ale (sadly no longer with us), Westvleteren 8 and Purple Moose – Dark Side of the Moose.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? I sat on top of a speed camera…
What is the best part of your job? Seeing other people in pubs really enjoying the beers we have created, when they have no idea who I am.
You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? The means to be able to listen to Pink Floyd, a large supply of Dark Side of the Moose and a bottle opener.
Thanks to Lawrence and Purple Moose Brewery for chatting to us.
You can view and buy beers from Purple Moose Brewery here.