Amongst many talents, including fashion photography and successfully running the kitchen at The Eight Bells in Saffron Walden, David also has a passion for brewing his own beer.
Over ten years ago he was invited on a vineyard tour in Carcassonne and, although grapes didn't take his fancy, he became interested in the fermentation process and creating alcohol from what could be considered as a bland crop. So, with that, he went to a local DIY shop and bought a basic brewing kit; Brewed, tasted of bananas, tried again, invested in better equipment and here he is now competing in national competitions for his own craft ales. ‘If you’re going to do it, do it well’, David says about getting the the beer-bug and never stopping.
David's name came up early on when discussing the possibility of creating a 10 year anniversary brew and he was asked about joining the process back in February. Several attempts at nailing the recipe and six months later, his recipe has now been shared - and increased - with Barsham Brewery to create a thirst-quenching golden ale that's perfectly suited to this time of year.
I was invited to 'The Brew Shed' to find out a little more about David's home brews and the Barsham partnership...
How is your beer connected to the local area? Does it incorporate flavours of East Anglia?
All built around the connection with Barsham and the barley is from their estate in Norfolk. They use their own crops to brew their beer and it just so happens I use the same grain and maltings in Norfolk as they do.
However, I use reverse osmosis water to strip all the chemicals out but this will change and we'll use Barsham’s water from their bore hole. So, it will actually be more sustainable and unique for our brew.
Have you ever created beer to be consumed by this large of an audience?
Home brewing so not licenced to sell, but I will share it with friends, enter competitions and share with bloggers.
I'm actually in the midst of brewing my own beer to enter a competition soon!
What’s the difference between your craft and Barsham’s brew?
Craft is more creative, out there and more 'crafty', rather than traditional four ingredients brewing that our recipe is based on - hops, barley, water and yeast.
If you could choose, what would you name the beer?
When I first got the shout to make the product, I thought of a Golden Ale as we’re launching it around harvest time. I am the son of an arable farmer and grown up around farming all my life, so with this in mind I'd like it related to this. Farmers used to give beer as a thanks to all the harvest workers who work relentlessly at this time, so as a celebration of this Harvest Moon may work well.
Stubble Granade is another favourite. After the harvest when the field is left with the stubble my brother and I would pick up clumps of stubble with clumps of earth attached and throw at each other.
How many pints do you normally produce in comparison to Barsham’s?
20 litres. The anniversary one will be at least 800 initially. Scary.
How much of the process for the anniversary beer have you been included in?
The design of the recipe is mine and I'll be overseeing the process every step of the way.
Are the ingredients locally sourced?
The grain and water used are Barsham's own and the hops we're using are all English. English hop varieties are more suited to brown beers, but there are new hop breeding programmes that allow us to get more citrussy tropical fruit notes that are being grown in this country now and suits the golden ale. So, we've used some fun ones such as Harlequin and Joker.
If you would like to try our anniversary beer, Eastern Gold, head to one of our pubs to find it on tap!