After a quarter of a century working 9 to 5, Robert Middleton packed it all in so that he could travel Europe in an old Dutch VW Campervan called Brian. On his return, he decided travelling and writing was more fun than working in the pensions industry. Just a bit.
It was an excellent book called Raw Spirit about distilleries in Scotland that inspired Robert to travel the length and breadth of the same country to chart the booming craft beer industry. He even wrote his own book about it. Learning so much about beer and brewing led him to set up Orbit Beers. Quite the journey that.
Founded in 2014, Orbit Beers were (by our count) the eighth brewery in a 2-mile radius, joining the like of Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Fourpure and others in the brewing hotbed that is South East London. Orbit Beers are further evidence that there isn’t a ‘one in, one out’ policy in brewing in that neck of the woods. Long may that continue.
That’s not to say Orbit don’t need to differentiate themselves or add something a little bit different to the mix in order to be successful, not to mention respected, among their peers.
It’s their take on rare German and Belgian beer styles that Orbit is getting a reputation for.
Peel, their Belgian Pale, is Head Brewer Paul’s favourite beer from the Orbit range. It’s intensely hoppy, with strong citrus and lime notes. There are hints of waxy lemon, pepper & big whiff of funky, fruity, spicy esters from a Belgian yeast strain.
You may also have noticed the subtle references to music in the Orbit range. From the 'Hi-Fidelity Brewing' strapline to the vinyl records on the label and bottle cap. Robert’s earliest memory is his fascination with vinyl records and in particular the distinctive, varying designs of the spindle adaptors that lived in the centre of his sisters’ 7″ singles, stacked above the turntable, ready to play. Around this time his new friends knew him as ‘Orbit’, a result of childhood difficulties pronouncing ‘Robert’.
The South East London brewing scene is certainly getting crowded. But there was always going to be room for a brewery making awesome European-style beers inspired by music and travel.