Last night, hundreds of industry guests packed into Fourpure Brewing Co’s new brewhouse and taproom in Bermondsey. It marked the launch of their housewarming ceremonies, which will continue this Saturday, when members of the public can step inside the space and admire the brewery’s gleaming new kit.
The brewhouse is best described as sleek and state-of-the-art, comprised of pieces from the US, Germany and China that were painstakingly assembled and wielded together. It boldly asserts that one of London’s second largest craft breweries, second only to Fuller's Brewery, is shifting gears into the fast lane.
Since 2013, Fourpure has taken the quality of their beer earnestly, but their new £2.5 million, 40hL (approximately 24 bbL) GEA Craft Star set-up will grant them with complete control over every aspect of the brewing process. In addition to this, the efficient new kit will boost the brewery's productivity substantially.
Staff were teeming with enthusiasm about the upgrade and renovations, offering whistle-stop tours around the brewery, beaming over their new lauter tun in particular, a piece of equipment that strains sweet wort from spent grains after the mashing process. In most smaller scale craft breweries, it’s common for the lautering process to occur inside the mash tun (the benefit here is this is one less piece of expensive equipment and it saves space in a cramped railway arch).
The addition of a lauter tun also accelerates the brewing process, meaning that wort can be transferred quickly out of the mash tun, freeing it up for another mashing in. We were told that this increases productivity to the extent that Fourpure will be able to brew seven – maybe eight in a pinch – times a day. Everything is automated, monitored by brewers via control panels, making the act of brewing less intuitive and more accurate. It might extinguish the romanticised image of hirsute brewers standing over the steaming mash with paddle in hand, but the result is greater volumes of beer, brewed with more consistency.
Which, given the rampant growth of the brewery, who peddled their beer at events in 15 countries last year and are currently importing their beer around the globe (Canada is next on the map), is key. Despite their international conquests, they still manage to sell up to 40% of their beer in the vicinity of South East London. The balance between local and global demand is remarkable, especially without the financial backing of Big Beer.
As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Fourepure brewed up six special launch beers, all on their new kit, to serve up during their housewarming event. The Easy Peeler citrus session IPA presented juicy tangerine on the nose and palate and a smooth, balanced flavour, making it an easy-drinking, zippy beer. The Beerhall Helles was a smooth, clean Munich-style Helles with a dose of bready malt. Deep South, a peach sour, was rammed with juicy, soft peaches and showcased their new kit’s capability for kettle souring. We also enjoyed the Saharan Sun blood orange saison, a tangy citrus bomb with interestimg phenolic hints from the saison yeast.
The beers on offer were fresh, bold and innovative – qualities already attributed to Fourpure, but will now become synonymous with the brewery thanks to their investment in brewing technology and equipment.
Tickets to the Fourpure Brewhouse Warming this Saturday are sold out, but walk-ins will be admitted on the day.