Gun Brewery, Scaramanga Pale
Gun Brewery is situated on a 140 acre organic mixed farm in the Sussex Weald and is the brainchild of two friends, Toby Smallpeice and Mark Berry. It’s a pretty special place by any standards. The brewery is a converted barn and a labour of love, taking Mark and Toby the best part of 18 months to install all the pipework and kit (which they did themselves) to get up and running.
Making the most of their surroundings, the water comes from a spring source deep below the farm and a solar array provides much of the power needed to make beer. Additional heating comes from a wood powered boiler and even the spent grains are used to keep the local livestock happy. Treading lightly on their local environment is clearly important to them.
Brewing expertise comes in the form of “Pete the Brewer”. Pete spent time learning to brew in the crucible of brewing that is Sheffield with time spent at both Thornbridge and Magic Rock. Pete has beer for blood and rumour has it that he sleeps in a bed made entirely of malt sacks.
If Pete strikes you as a bit of a hobo character then that might go some way to explaining the curious brewery symbol. Mark explains;
“It’s an old hobo sign that means Man With Gun Lives Here. A hobo was simply a migratory laborer: he may have taken some longish holidays but sooner or later he returned to work. To help cope with its uncertainties, hobos developed a system of signs, which they would chalk on walls to provide directions, information and warnings to others. ”
This week’s beer is a refreshing extra pale ale, light on malts and big (but not too big) on hops. It’s unfined, naturally hazy, and it’s suitable for vegans. It’s also called Scaramanga. Intrigued, I had to ask Mark where they got the name from.
“Scaramanga is an homage to the James Bond villain who was The Man with the Golden Gun. Mark suggested Three Nipple Tipple, but then had to sit him down and have a serious chat with himself. The idea with the beer was to try and capture what we think of as the perfect session beer. That moment when, feeling a little thirsty, you take a large gulp of the cool hoppy pale before you and think, "Ah yes. That. Hits. The. Spot". And when you've finished "I think I'll have another." Quite a lot of inner monologue there, but I'm sure you get the idea”.
If you get the feeling that there’s a playful atmosphere at Gun then you wouldn’t wrong. I asked Mark, If he could drink this week's beer anywhere and with anyone, where and who would it be with?
“On a Sussex beach, after work, BBQ going, friends and family there. That or in a jacuzzi with JayZ and his posse on a yacht off Ibiza”. Brewers are a funny bunch. It must be all those hop fumes.
Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you
* Taken from the first Hobo ethical code from the 1889 National Hobo Convention.