Whilst I may know my beer I don’t know my horticulture, agriculture or microbiology, so I’ll be relying on the advice and guidance of a few friends that do. With their expertise I’ll have the best chance of growing all the ingredients and turn them into the all important final beer.
There will be at least one leading expert helping me in each of the podcasts, and I’ll list them here as I meet them throughout the year:
Toby Buckland is one of the UK’s leading horticulturalists with a passion for plants and all things home-grown and he will be advising me on how best to prepare the plot and keep everything alive as it grows. He has won awards for garden design and broadcasting and is a regular presenter on the BBC coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
He hosts and organises two major West Country Garden Festivals , is a keen and committed beer drinker with a particular penchant for craft lagers and weissebier.
Ben Adams is a technical advisor at Charles Faram and Co Ltd, the UK’s leading supplier of hops to the brewing industry. After a painful stint as a rugby player in Australia he returned to his home town and started at The Spinning Dog Brewery in Hereford, eventually ending up as Head Brewer. Having then spent 5 years at Wye Valley Brewery he decided to climb out of the mash tun and join the team at Farams. Ben helps brewers in the UK and abroad with recipe development and advice on hops and brewing.
James is a graphic and web designer with over 15 years of experience in multimedia design. Starting off as a traditional print designer in his family’s business he now does a range of digital and offline projects, for small and larger clients.
When not creating artwork or websites for his company, Limited Edition Design, James is usually found renovating his house, spending time with partner Rachel or chasing their young collie Bo around the various hills, moors or beaches of Devon.
As well as working to reduce rainwater run-off across Amsterdam he works as a lecture and film maker, is a father and also a keen home brewer.
Whilst not participating as one of the advisors, Mike is a dab-hand with a garden spade and is regularly found helping me to prepare or maintain the allotment. He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in for a few hours, albeit safe in the knowledge that his chiropractor wife can fix any aches or ailments he may pick up.
When not digging up weeds he can be found exploring the local countryside with his family, or in one of the local pubs chatting over a pint of bitter.
Steve is the Sales Director at Crisp Malting Group and has spends his time advising customers on the malted barley and services offered by Crisp. He is helping me with what variety to use, what to expect from the barley growing process and the steps I need to take to malt whatever I manage to grow.
Steve started off his career working in farming and agriculture before moving into brewing and malting, joining the Crisp Group nearly 5 years ago.
Dr Guy Leonard and Dr David Milner
Guy and David both work in the Living Systems Institute at the University of Exeter. David is a Laboratory Manager and is helping to find a workable yeast culture from my plot, whilst Guy’s experience with DNA analysis means that we can make sure that any yeast we do find is good for brewing.
Outside of work both have an interest in brewing, with Guy in particular experimenting with home and outdoor brewing.
Emma is a brewster at Gyle 59, spending her time either running the daily brewing operations or serving the finished product. With many years experience in the industry she’s responsible for several unique recipes and many collaborations with other brewers and breweries.
When not working with beer she can be found herding her children and dogs around the Somerset, Devon and Dorset border area.
Mark is an award-winning beer, food and travel writer who lives in London. He writes on a wide range of topics across beer and brewing, and his published books on beer across the world, beer and food matching and cooking with beer are well worth a read.