Gun Brewery, Smoky Pale
Friends Toby Smallpeice and Mark Berry have created something really rather good somewhere really rather special with Gun Brewery. Situated on a 140 acre organic mixed farm in the Sussex Weald, the brewery is housed in a converted barn. To say that it’s a labour of love (or at least toil) is an understatement. It took Mark and Toby the best part of 18 months to install all the pipework and kit in order to get the brewery up and running.
There’s a strong environmental ethos throughout their operation. The water for the beer comes from a spring source deep below the farm and a solar array lends much of the power needed to make the beer. Additional heating comes from a wood powered boiler and the spent grains are used to keep the local livestock happy. If the outdoor clothing company Patagonia were a brewery it might look a lot like Gun.
Needless to say the beers are good too. Since their early brews in 2015 Gun have been producing some standout beers which are modern but equally at home at a picturesque stereotypical Sussex village pub. It takes a bit of skill to get that balance right.
The brewing talent is in the form of Pete the Brewer. Pete arrived in the Sussex countryside via Sheffield and time at both Thornbridge and Magic Rock. We’ve heard a lot of rumours about Pete but we daren’t repeat any of them here.
We’ve featured Gun Brewery before (twice if you count the 2016 Ones to Watch box) and we like the story behind the logo too. 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. ”
Which brings us to this week’s beer from Gun’s ‘Small Batch’ range of beers, each style brewed in limited quantities, this is where they test new recipes and ideas. And you get to be their guinea pigs. Toby explains:
“ Smoky Pale takes some of its inspiration from a Helles beer made by the Schlekerla Brewery in Germany. They don't use smoked malts in the mash, but as the lager is made on the same kit as their uber-smoky Rauchbier it picks up light smoked flavors from the kit, rather than the ingredients. Our beer is brewed with an ale yeast but has a light body and a slight spiciness from the rye balancing with a subtle smokiness from the German beech smoked malts. ”
The result is a much more delicately smoked beer than a Rauchbier. Think along the lines of the whiff of woodsmoke that hangs in the air the morning after a campfire, that sort of thing. It’s unfined and unfiltered so this beer pours slightly hazy which only seems to add a visual element to the smell and taste of smoke.
Like all of Gun Brewery’s beers, there’s a sophistication to them which lends well to pairing them with food. This week’s beer is no exception. The subtle smokiness goes really well with cold smoked fish and pickles if you want to be classy. If you are feeling more trashy than classy we suggest a good hotdog, lots of fried onions and maybe some mustard. But no ketchup.
“ Decide your own life, don't let another person run or rule you - Rule 1 Hobo Ethical Code, 1889 National Hobo Convention ”