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Brew by Numbers, 01 I 06 Saison

Tom Hutchings and Dave Seymour met whilst climbing in China. After hanging out on the rocks and riding motorbikes around Asia they became the best of mates. It was also whilst travelling that the pair started dabbling in craft beer.

When Tom returned to London an old mucker of his was working at The Kernel Brewery. He would often bring home samples for him to try. A good friend to have. But it wasn’t long before Tom started wondering how he could brew the beers differently.

In August 2011 Dave and Tom decided they wanted to start their own microbrewery and got to work on a simple homebrew kit in a friend’s basement on Southwark Bridge Road. Through reading books on brewing, researching online, and asking for tips and advice from friends in the industry, they taught themselves to brew. It only took until their 6th or 7th experiment for people to start seeing their potential. The initial plan was to set up camp in Battersea, but the lure of Bermondsey’s incredible beer scene (not to mention the cheaper rent) was just too strong. In November 2012 they received permission from Southwark Council to brew beer to sell.

It was a trip to Belgium earlier that year that arguably defined their beers more than anything else. Inspired by the trip, BBNo. brewed their first Saison and it’s this style that has become their signature brew, often with weird and wonderful ingredients. Previous iterations have included grapefruit & ginger, hibiscus & chamomile and rooibos & lemon.

This week’s beer is our favourite concoction of theirs. Brewed with fresh lime zest and Motueka hops from New Zealand it’s a glorious mix of citrus fruit, bitter hops and an underlying classic funky yeast.

In 2014 BBNo. set tongues wagging by taking investment from Brewdog’s development fund. Some were suspicious. Some were upset that BBNo. were giving up their independence. Tom was unapologetic, laying out the benefits of having a big brother with all the financial support and advice they got from the deal. They’ve since bought their shares back from Brewdog making them a family brewer once again, but in a much better position than before their Scottish friends had got involved. Hard to argue with that.

From day one BBNo. used numbers to catalogue their homebrew, splitting batches to test different ingredients and processes. The first two digits indicate the style of beer. The second two digits differentiate the recipes within that style. Beautifully simple, but so unique that they could name a brewery after it.

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