So it has recently been confirmed that I am lucky enough to be working in collaboration with one of my favourite breweries, Chorlton Brewing Company, from Manchester! Chorlton was started by Mike Marcus in 2014 and have a focus on producing “contemporary beer inspired by Germanic brewing traditions”. I first came across Chorlton in Cambridge whilst working in a craft beer and gin bar part time to fund my Philosophy bachelors degree. I was new into the world of beer at the time and Chorlton provided me with my first taste of sour beer, opening my eyes to what beer can be.
I remember going home that night and having a look at the infamous Chorlton twitter page run by Mike (https://twitter.com/ChorltonBrew). The honesty and openness resonated with me and, by the time my degree in Philosophy was over I had decided that beer was what I wanted to do.
So it was I ventured to Edinburgh to begin my journey by undertaking an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot Watt. I had seen that a fairly large percentage of brewers had studied there, saw its fantastic reputation and decided that this would give me the best entry to the beer industry. Had I been unsuccessful in my application I had pieced together a homebrewing kit and would have seen what I could do by going down that route.
Fast forward to September 2017 and I had the chance to meet Mike at the Hanging Bat who were doing a Chorlton tap takeover and meet the brewer event. I was very keen to go in the hope that I would be able to meet Mike and say thankyou for showing me that a business can operate openly and ethically, and for partly inspiring me to choose brewing as a career path.
We met and, with my new course-mates, had a good evening of beers and chat. Come December it was time for me to start thinking about my research proposal for the Summer of 2018. The day before I was due to head back to Edinburgh I emailed Mike proposing a collaborative project looking at spontaneous fermentation having heard in a Beernomicon Podcast that they had trialled brews using this method before. He got back to me straight away and I ended up diverting to Manchester to meet the brewers.
Following some more back and forth emailing between myself and Will, we settled on the idea of attempting two spontaneous inoculations, one inside the brewery and one in the carpark of their railway arch in Piccadilly. The beers will then be transferred to separate FVs in order to compare the proliferation of captured yeasts and bacteria using PCR analysis. I will update this page with further information on specific methods closer to Summer. All images are courtesy of Will from Chorlton.