Late last year at one of Ireland’s Midlands Beer Club meets an idea was raised that the members take their combined years of brewing knowledge and contacts within the close-knit craft beer brewing community, and have a go at brewing a commercial sized batch of beer for sale.The opportunity of a real experience in commercial brewing, branding, and selling was a very attractive proposition indeed.
According to MIDLANDS BEER COLLECTIVE’s Brendan Sewell, “It was one of those ‘great idea at the time’ moments which after a few pints I enthusiastically jumped at. Thankfully though, I didn’t wake up the next morning regretting my enthusiasm, more over I was actually genuinely excited to be a part of a collective of amateur brewers who are about to take the very best of our brewing recipes’ repertoire and share them with a much wider audience!
The basic idea being to pick a beer, brew a lot of it and then sell…. Sounds easy enough right?”
It was decided to try to involve around ten members as equal partners, which eventually ended up with eleven, forming a collective which really has set the tone and team spirit for the group. Each member contributed a wealth of knowledge and hard work and between them they have achieved the very impressive feat of taking the late night brainwave from conception to commercial reality.
According to MIDLANDS BEER COLLECTIVE’s Andru Mac Giolla Ri, “The whole process has been a progression of learning, from designing the logo and can label, to refining the beer recipe ready for scaling up to commercial brewing equipment’s higher efficiencies. From distribution logistics to sales and not to mention the eleven way conference call virtual-meetings!”. Brendan Sewell adds, “Amid all the logistical project management, aka stress!!, we’ve had a thoroughly enjoyable time and inevitably we’ve begun to ask ourselves what our plan is going forward, but for the moment we’re very content just to have gone through the whole process.”
Contract brewing in Ireland is very common for start-up brewers and the MIDLANDS BEER COLLECTIVE brewed their beer with the help of the good people at HOPE BREWERY in Howth, north Dublin. In essence, they took over the brewery for a day, and under the guidance of HOPE’s head brewer Mark Nixon, they brewed the beer on the 3rd of February.
The logo has sparked quite a bit of amusing online debate regarding what it actually is. “Fortunately there is no right or wrong answer. It’s whatever you see” quipped the logo designer, Andru.
The beer itself has received an award for winning the Irish National homebrew club’s conference cup which was judged by American beer aficionado Gordon Strong. Somehow in just a few short months we’ve arrived at the point where the group of enthusiasts have unveiled their beer which they have called ‘BRETHREN BROWN’.
The product is described as “an American style Hoppy Brown ale full of malt flavour and American hop character. It is an exciting twist on the traditional brown Ale. Heavily dry hopped with fruity American Hops to give a unique and modern twist on this classic style ale.” At 6.7% it’s a fairly big beer and perfectly suited for this time of the year, and the modern Brown ale style is very much in fashion at this time.
The name, Brethren, refers to the collective.
The Beer is currently on Tap at 9 Bars across Ireland, and cans are available in 13 off-licence’s, meaning beer aficionados everywhere in Ireland will get the chance to try this special beer, and maybe, be inspired to form their own ‘beer brotherhood’.