In partnership with Brew Club
Tuesday 11 February 2020
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Five years ago, Rob Berezowski spotted a gap in the market after a long time spent in the brewing world - a place where home-brewing aficionados can brew their own beer on a 20L kit, with professional assistance, and without the inconvenience of brewing at home. And so Brew Club was born in Hackney, where all you need to do is show up to realise your beery dream. You make your beer at one of their brew stations, then store it in their temperature-controlled fermentation room for 2 weeks. Return to bottle it, take it home, wait another 10 days, and your beer will be naturally carbonated and ready to drink.
Like the idea, but new to brewing? That’s okay, since they offer beginners classes where you can learn the basics of brewing while making your choice of an IPA, bitter or stout, on their kit - and they provide all the ingredients you might need, show you how to work all the cool gadgets, and you get to take home expert knowledge (and your beer two weeks later!).
Rob opened Brew Club in November 2015 in a warehouse in Clapton, but relocated to the arches at Bohemia Place in February 2019. This area of Hackney is fast becoming a beer destination in the East area of London, and their taproom in the arch next door is popular both with regulars and people exploring the local beer scene - it has 10 rotating lines, including one draft cocktail line (negroni at the moment!), plus a load of fridge space packed full of exciting bottles and cans.
Our beginners class requires no prior knowledge whatsoever
Rob and Adam Khedheri (Marketing, and occasional brewing assistant/class host) both hail from Canada but have adopted Hackney as their home, and have decades of experience of brewing and working in the industry across the continents. The two of them, plus Brewery Manager Ian Morton, who usually teaches the classes and is the man behind the day-to-day running of the brewery, have made Brew Club the success that it is over the last five years.
It all started when Rob got the idea for Brew Club after the frustration with the mess and lack of space when brewing at home in his flat got too much. There was also the consideration that people interested in home brewing might not actually like it after giving it a try, or might not want to do it regularly - so coming to Brew Club, instead of spending a lot of money on a home-brew kit at the risk of not enjoying it, is a much more economical alternative. You can have a go, and if you do decide it’s for you, you can take it from there.
On a similar note, Adam ran a home-brew shop in London for a few years, but eventually became disheartened at the fact that there wasn’t a big support network for home brewers, like he was used to when he still lived in Canada. So when he got the opportunity to join Brew Club in March last year, it was a no-brainer.
With Brew Club, Rob and Adam have ensured that there’s a mix of everything they looked for in the industry, and their visions for home brewing - a shop, a place to properly pursue the hobby, and a sense of community. The way they run the business is with a primary focus on enabling people to brew the beer they want well, and showing people that it’s not as difficult as they might think to actually brew beer. They aim to welcome everyone to the brewing spaces, both novices and connoisseurs alike - Rob explains: “a knowledge of brewing is not necessarily required since there are always people here to help - but generally people should have at least a bit of background knowledge. Our beginners class requires no prior knowledge whatsoever, so is a good place to start.” Adam agrees, and adds: “we find that most people who come here want the brewing knowledge too, not just the beer, so they come to the beginners class first anyway.”
If you go along to brew, you can bring your own recipe if you already know what you want to make, but Rob clarifies that they “offer recipes to give people some ideas - for example if they’re not really confident about creating their own recipes, we’ve got some tried and tested ones, and they can take those and modify them into their own if they like.”
Their kits consist of Braumeister stainless steel all-in-one vessels, with all the high-tech accessories you could need at each Brew Station for fermentation, and they even have a station for bottling and capping your brew.
In terms of ingredients, Brew Club sells a wide variety of hops, malts, yeast varieties and adjuncts, but if you have your own then you can bring them along if you’d rather. And if you have your own bottles (about 40 per 20L brew), you can bring those too for the bottling day - if not, you can buy them from Brew Club as well.
At Brew Club, Rob and Adam have been putting a lot of emphasis on events over the last year - last autumn they even had forager John the Poacher guide a select group of people on a walk around the Walthamstow Marshes, to harvest wild hops and ingredients which were later used in a brew - and they have regular events like comedy nights and quizzes at the taproom, plus DJs every Saturday. Keep an eye out on their social media profiles and their website, as they plan to start hosting regular home-brew group tastings (as well as already being the home of the East London contingent of home-brew club Beer Boars).
In Rob’s words, Brew Club is “open to anyone and everyone who wants to try brewing”. It’s the perfect place to get your home brewing journey started - if you’ve never brewed before, it will give you an idea of what to expect. And for those more experienced, but lacking the resources, money or space to experiment with brewing, it offers a supportive environment and friendly community in which to hone your craft (pun 100% intended).
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