Maule Brewing, Smashing Pale or Lucky IPA
After 10 years of working for the NHS, Tom Maule decided that he wanted a change of direction, and so with the humble aim of building and growing a modern family brewery, he set to work.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for working with your family and building a business together” explains Tom. “Having a product with your name on it adds that extra pressure to keep the beers to a high standard which I think can only be a good thing”.
Tom’s father advised him against starting a brewery from scratch. “He had been working in the industry for 35 years. He said it’ll be hard work. He said there’ll be no money in it. He said I’d be doing pretty much nothing but cleaning... most of those things turned out to be true!”
Slowly but surely though, Tom’s desire and energy won his old man over. He sold his flat and moved into rented accommodation to fund a 10-barrel brew kit from Spain. With a little help from his dad and brother, it wasn’t long before the first batch of Lucky IPA was released into the world in November 2014.
Skip forward a few years and the brewery is now in full swing with three employees, all of which are members of Tom’s family. They also pull in help when they need it. “Northampton has a big brewing tradition and there's a lot of handy, helpful people, many of them retired, who are happy to jump in on a brew or a packaging day to give us a hand.”
Maule Brewing Co has added an onsite lab to keep quality control high, and two new 52HL tanks to allow them to brew more lagers, an area that Tom is keen to develop. The original 10 barrel brew kit still stands, with just the addition of more FV's for conditioning allowing them to make smaller more regular batches, keeping turnover high and the beer fresh.
Tonight’s beers, Lucky IPA and Smashing Pale ale, were the first two beers to come out of the brewery and quite fittingly both were based on the old school IPAs and Pale Ales from the US that got Tointoto brewing in the first place.
“They're a solid part of our core range and although the trends have moved away from this kind of IPAs and pales we find people come back to them and they still sell as well as ever. Smashing Pale is the lowest ABV beer we do at 4.4% (bottle) and we went with Cascade, Simcoe and Chinook for that all American hop profile, fermented with the US-05 yeast to showcase the hops. Lucky IPA has progressed with time and we've hopped more heavily although it’s probably still reserved for an IPA in 2018. We aim for balance rather than bitterness and we're happy with the current hop load in this; Galaxy, Simcoe, Mosaic with the US-05 yeast again, with a sweet malt base to back it up”.
Next on the horizon for Maule Brewing Co is their first taproom in “the cultural quarter of Northampton”. It’s a town that has a long history of brewing. Tom Maule is making a dent on that timeline... with a little help from his Dad.