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Mondo Brewing, Steamy Wonder

Someone once said ‘Beer is the most social drink in the world’ and in many romance languages ‘Mondo’ means world. So it’s only fitting that when two Americans and a Canadian, who owed their passion for beer to time spent in Spain, Japan, Germany, Canada, US and the UK settled on the name Mondo Brewing Company.

Todd Matteson, from Connecticut, and Thomas Palmer, formerly of St Louis, Missouri, started Mondo twelve months ago having spent night after night clocking off work in an east London brewery discussing how they would do it differently. Until one day they decided to do just that.

They started right away, building a business plan, seeking investors and finding a place to call their own. After exhaustive research, they found a warehouse in Battersea south London that ticked all the boxes – large, open and light brew house and space for a purpose built taproom, to allow drinkers to drink brewery fresh beers.

Tom bought a passion for beer, having honed in skills home brewing in Japan, where the practice is illegal. Todd, having attended brew school while gaining experience brought an understanding of the technicalities of production brewing.

Inspired by home brewing, where seeking out different styles and trying to recreate it with your own stamp is de rigueur, Mondo were determined to brew beers that were clean, balanced examples of the chosen style.

Amongst their current range is the Rider Pale Ale, Kemosabe IPA, All Caps Classic American Pilsner, London Alt and James Brown Ale. They brewed tonight’s beer, Steamy Wonder, as a seasonal beer in tribute to a modern classic, Anchor Steam. Tom lived in San Francisco and felt a connection with the story of Fritz Maytag from Anchor Brewing who is often credited as the godfather of craft beer in the US.

Tom and Todd are fans of modern culture in terms of music and movies and that is reflected in the artwork on the beer and their names. The banter in the brewery often comes back to these topics, with a conversation often punctuated with a great idea for a beer name. At the previous brewery, Tom and Todd worked with an Italian brewer who, after cleaning the brewery everyday with boiling hot water, would yell across the brewery, ‘It’s a Steamy Wonder’! And thus a beer name was born and adapted in homage to Stevey Wonder.

An Imperial Steam Lager, as the name suggests is a stronger version of a steam lager, a style sometimes referred to as a Californian common beer. The style dates back to gold rush days (1850s) when German immigrants, chasing gold in the hills, started brewing beer using lager yeasts fermented in the warmer temperatures. This beer has sweet malts giving it a full, biscuit flavour.

Mondo are just a year in and brewing some great beers and grow; they’ve recently acquired a second site for sour and barrel aged beers, but you won’t see the results of that for some time.

 Words by Michael Lally. Pictures by Matt Curtis.

 

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