Originally Posted on Mar 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 The Five Points Brewing Company.
The Five Points Brewing Company is an independent brewery based in Hackney, East London. They ave been brewing since March of 2013, originally starting out with one part-time member of staff in addition to their head brewer and managing director. They now employ 20 members of staff across the brewery and warehouse sites.
Who are you/what do you do? My name is Doreen Joy Barber, I am the Communications and Marketing Manager at The Five Points Brewing Company. I’ve been working with the brewery since its first brew day on the 9th of March, 2013, and during my time working with The Five Points I have done sales, events, packaging, packaging, administrative work and so forth. I also am the main point of contact for the London Brewers’ Market, and frequently talk about beer at events.
How did you get into this line of work? It’s an odd combination of getting a Master’s in Anthropology of Food and having studied beer for my dissertation as well as working in bars and pubs after getting said Master’s, as you do.
I’ve been a fan of interesting beer relatively early on, though, enjoying a number of brews from American microbreweries in the town I’m from, Orlando. I’d say that a place called Redlight Redlight, which was formerly in a small space above a bakery, really introduced me to a large range of beers—although in the early days I was mostly going for a lot of Belgian and German brews rather than American ones.
Since I moved to London, I worked behind the bar at a pub in Stoke Newington known for its craft beer and saw the London breweries grow and gain strength. From there, I went to work for a website, copy editing recipes and writing blog posts about food and drink. After a brief stint as a sales rep for a beer wholesaler and importer, I found myself having a chat with Ed Mason, who owned the bar Mason & Taylor that I used to go to. He was starting up a new brewery in Hackney with Greg Hobbs, who previously worked as the assistant brewer at East London Brewing Company.
What do you think makes a great beer? For us at The Five Points, we focus on making beers with big flavours, as well as ensuring the quality and consistency of the beers are spot on.
What is your favourite style of beer? I don’t really have a favourite style, but last summer I was really enjoying a lot of Berliner weisses and goses from different breweries. Westbrook’s Gose is a standout, and I’ve enjoyed the beers from the Phantom series from Beavertown Brewery.
Bottled or canned beer? Depends on the situation. I find that bottles make a nicer presentation if you’re giving them as a gift to someone. Cans are great for transporting—perfect for taking to the park for a picnic or on the train. Cans are much easier to recycle and dispose of than bottles as well. Just as long as the beer is good on the inside—that’s what’s important.
What is the best part of your job? Meeting and interacting with other folks. I really enjoy talking to others about our beer at events and festivals, but I also like talking to pub, bar and shop staff who are also enthusiastic about beer and the work of breweries.
You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? A little hatchet, some sort of water filtration system and a really thick book to read.
What inspired you to start up the brewery / what was the inspiration for starting the brewery? The Five Points Brewing Company was started by Ed Mason, the Owner & Director of the brewery, and Greg Hobbs, the Head Brewer. Ed has a background in hospitality and pubs and bars, from running various venues in Leeds to a pub in Hackney and a bar called Mason & Taylor, which championed beers from the then-nascent London brewers who are now well-recognised.
When Ed was initially thinking about starting a brewery there were no other breweries at the time. When The Five Points was established, though, we were something like the sixth brewery in the borough, but we’ve caught up quickly! We focus on a tight core range of beers—Five Points Pale, Hook Island Red and Railway Porter were the first beers we started with. We’ve added to our range the Five Points IPA as well as the London Smoke and we are hoping to add a few more beers into our brewing schedule for development this year.
How long have you been brewing at Five Points? We’ve been brewing for nearly three years at The Five Points, and Greg Hobbs has been our head brewer throughout that time. We were joined by our assistant head brewer, Vito Carrescia, in August of 2014 after working at BrewFist and Nøgne Ø.
Thank you to Doreen and Five Points for chatting to us.
You can view and buy beers from The Five Points Brewing Company here.