Buxton Brewery, Myrcia
Geoff Quinn founded Buxton Brewery in 2009. Award winning beers, adventurous collaborative brews, the slightly controversial Yellow Belly and clear commercial success (you can buy Moor Top in Marks & Spencer) soon followed. Yep, Buxton are already a stalwart of the UK craft beer scene.
Geoff is a keen climber and there’s a palpable outdoorsy feel to the brewery. The casual use of well worn outdoor clothing by the staff suggests the Peak District is their ideal home. The names of the beers also reflect their connection to the surrounding National Park which dominate the landscape around the brewery.
The current head brewer, Colin Stronge (above right) has undoubtedly taken Buxton to another level. Colin joined Buxton in 2013 having previously been the head brewer at Black Isle and before that, Marble Brewery in Manchester whilst he was a student in the city. Whilst Colin garners rock-star status in the craft beer world, he’d be the first to admit that he’d be nothing without the incredible (and lovely) folks he works with day-to-day.
Take Denis Johnstone (below left), brewery and sales manager, whose gentle Scottish accent and modest demeanour belies the fact he knows a thing or three about beer. A graduate of the well regarded Heriot-Watt masters programme in brewing and distilling he’s a good person to spend an hour or eight in the company of.
We asked Denis how this week’s beer, Myrcia, came about. “The first batch of this beer started as a collaboration with Dry & Bitter Brewing Co from Denmark in 2016 and we reinvented it this year. Even though it’s brewed with loads of hops (more than there are in Axe Edge) we want as low bitterness as possible, so no hops were added for bittering. The recipe and brewing technique is being continually tweaked to give a juicier and fruitier result. There are a massive amount of oats in grist. Gives a lot of protein which gives mouthfeel… and a lot of haze”
A lot of haze indeed. New England IPAs are in vogue right now. Purposely hazy or cloudy, they often have a smoother, creamier mouthfeel than you might get from a West Coast IPA. All the tropical fruit flavour but none of the bitterness either. The first brewers to embrace this new version of IPA were in Vermont, and Buxton even use a Vermont yeast in Myrcia.
In typically understated fashion, Geoff, Denis and Colin have avoided using the in vogue term “NEIPA” to describe this beer, sidestepping a whole raft of hype in the process. But make no mistake, that’s exactly what it is. More than that, it’s one of the best examples of the style you’re likely to taste. Good old Buxton.