Originally Posted on Nov 11, 2015
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 write? Our “Q&A” posts are a light hearted way of getting to know people working in, and connected to, the beer alcohol industry.
Today’s post features Nate Southwood from Redwell Brewery.
Redwell Brewery was started in 2013 by a group of beer lovers, with the aim of bringing craft lagers and ales to Norfolk and to restore Norwich’s rich brewing heritage.
Who are you/what do you do? I am Nate Southwood, Marketing and Events Manager at Redwell Brewery. I am responsible for promoting Redwell through social media and events.
How did you get into this line of work? My interest in beer started about 5 years ago when I started going to beer festivals. I then got onto twitter and discovered that there was a whole beer community, including beer blogs and the like so I started blogging about beer (I’ve actually written reviews on this very website). Eventually, after working in business marketing for nearly 4 years I was lucky enough to land my dream job!
What is your favourite beer, wine or spirit? Now this is an unfair question! I’ve tried many, many different beers so it’s almost impossible to pick. Right now I’m mostly drinking Brewdog Punk IPA – it’s a modern classic that keeps getting better and better!
I don’t drink too much wine, but I love gin. We’re lucky enough to have The Gin Palace in Norwich which stocks nearly 200 different gins so I’m spoilt for choice, but I almost always pick Opihr, with Fever Tree tonic.
What do you think makes a great beer? Balance. Balance. Balance. I cannot stress enough how important balance is. If you’re going to put bucket loads of bittering hops in a beer, you need some malty sweetness to balance it out and vice versa and I think this is where breweries like us, Brewdog, Oakham, Sierra Nevada and Thornbridge excel.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? My first alcoholic drink once I’d turned 18 was a pint of Kronenbourg 1664 in The Marlpit pub in Norwich. In my dad’s family, the tradition is that when you turn 18 your dad takes you out for your first legal pint.
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? Jägermeister. I spent a weekend at a heavy metal festival in Germany where Jäger costs just 10€ a bottle. I have great memories of that weekend; of sitting, chatting and drinking with people from all over the world but there was way too much of the red stuff involved for me to drink it again!
What is your favourite style of beer? It has to be India Pale Ale, without a doubt!
Bottled or canned beer? It really depends on whether or not you plan on ageing it. Generally I’d go for cans because I drink a lot of IPAs and they need to be fresh so the hops don’t die from either light strike or oxidisation, but if I have a big imperial stout or barley wine that I plan on ageing I’d rather have a bottle to see how it progresses.
If you have to pick, which would be your top three beers in the whole world? Again, a very difficult question but I’ll go for…
Oakham Citra – if I go into a pub that has it on cask, I absolutely have to drink it as again, it has balance and flavour.
Franziskaner Hefeweizen – Although owned by a big brand, it’s still a deliciously flavoursome beer and a supermarket staple that carries great memories of being in Germany.
Pilsner Urquell – The original Pilsner and a classic beer. I was lucky enough to visit the brewery earlier this year and taste the iconic beer unfiltered and unpasteurised from a wooden barrel in the original lagering caves beneath the brewery which was a truly magical moment.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? I don’t think answering this question is answerable as I need to show that I drink responsibly 😉
What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is talking to people. I love rocking up to an event that we’re hosting and talking to a room full of people about my passion and our awesome beers!
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? The inspiration for starting the brewery was from seeing the craft beer scene all across the world from Scandinavia, to the USA and back to the UK expand. When we first started the brewery, there was (and still is) a massive cask ale scene within Norfolk but nobody in our home county were doing anything like what we wanted to see on the taps of Norwich – no highly hopped IPAs or crisp and refreshing lagers so we saw a gap in the market and went for it.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years’ time? I see us having no space to move within the brewery, with the entire floor being taken up by more tanks and a bigger Brewhouse! I see a canning line that will allow us to put our full range of beers into cans, which will fly all over the world.
We’re extremely excited about the future of the brewery!
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? Pinpointing specific breweries that influenced us is difficult due to the wide variety of beer styles we produce. It’s the worldwide craft beer scene in general that influenced us… from right home in the UK, through Germany and the Czech Republic, Scandinavia and all the way through to the sunshine state of California in the USA.
How long have you been brewing at Redwell? Well, I don’t actually brew but our head brewer David Jones has been brewing for us right from the beginning. He’s brewed all over the UK, including Bass Country, before moving to Sweden to be one of the fundamental brewers in creating the great craft beer scene over there. He then moved back to England in 2013 to start brewing our range of craft beers. David is an incredibly talented brewer and has won many awards internationally.
Out of all the beers you brew, which is your favourite? Why is that? My favourite of ours changes frequently but this week it’s our West Coast Pale Ale (coming soon to cans). It’s such a juicy beer but really well balanced with a light malty base. It also won a gold medal in the Strong Bitters and Pales category in the SIBA South Keg Competition earlier this year, before going on to win overall silver!
Thank you to Nate and Redwell Brewery for taking the time to take part.
You can view and buy beers from Redwell Brewery here.