Q: Why the name Up Front Brewing?
A: I called the brewery Up Front for several reasons, I pay for everything up front, with no loans, investors or backing of any sort, which enables me to stay out of debt and limit my risk. I also aim to be open and honest about everything I’m doing, and tend to be quite forward about asking for things, which has proved a fairly successful strategy so far.
Q: How long have you/the brewery been making beer for?
A: I started brewing about 15 years ago, firstly making wines from the surplus fruit on my allotment, then quickly moving into homebrewed beers, with the occasional cider or mead. After winning a homebrew competition I was offered a job in a commercial brewery (Fyne Ales) and decided to give it a go, I have been brewing professionally for about 7 years now. Up Front was founded in 2015 in my spare time whilst working as a brewer for the Drygate Brewery.
Q: When you’re not brewing what are your hobbies?
A: I enjoy nothing more than getting away from it all, wild camping, fires, lakes, and exploring Scotland. I also like to forage wild ingredients to make beers, and cooking, but my main passion is collecting and exploring new and interesting wild yeasts, and testing their potential for commercialisation, I would love to start a yeast production facility one day and add to my yeast bank whenever I can.
I’m also into art and design and did my first labels myself using artwork from internationally acclaimed artists Stanley Donwood (Radiohead’s Artist).
Q: What’s your favourite style of beer?
A: This is a very hard question, but if pushed I might have to say Gueuze
Q: If you could only have one of your brews for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? (I know it’s like picking a favourite child!)
A: This is a no brainer for me, I would choose Yojo, my passionfruit and kalamansi gose, I worked on it for quite some time as a homebrew, tweaking the lactobacillus and fruit ratios to just the right levels, I’m very happy with it, and it’s definitely my favourite offering so far!
Q: You are in a supermarket, in the Beer aisle of course, what would you buy? (your wonderful beer isn’t on sale unfortunately!)
A: I don’t tend to buy beer from the supermarkets, just because I rarely go into supermarkets, and to be honest, the brewers tend to get a raw deal. I tend to just drink homebrew, or buy when I’m delivering beer to the local independent stores. If I was in a jam, like happened recently in Aviemore, I’d buy the most local beer.
Q: What new flavour combination would you love to try/what new hops would you like to work with?
A: My next big move is going into the world of beer-wine crossovers, inspired by the spontaneously fermented wines made in Georgia, fermented in giant terracotta vessels (called Qvevri), buried in the ground – so I would have to say broadly, I want to start commercialising farmhouse beer to country wine crossovers.
As a gypsy brewer I don’t often get access to the newest hops, so I’m still excitedly waiting on my Neomexicana (Neo1). Some of the new varieties coming out of South Africa actually seem very interesting ATM.
Q: What brewery you would like to collaborate with and why?
A: I have always wanted to collaborate with Jester King Brewery from Austin, Texas. I think they are one of the most interesting and innovative breweries in the world right now, and I really admire and respect their integrity, as well as their outstanding beers.
Q: Any awards?
A: Ishmael won Bronze in Best IPA at the Scottish Beer Awards 2017, and Ahab won a Bronze in the International Beer Challenge 2017 – both were shortlisted as finalists for this years Scottish Beer Awards in their respective categories.
Q: Tell me something amazingly awesome about Up Front Brewing?
A: We just launched an augmented reality app with the help of Freytag Anderson (designers) and Render Studio UK Ltd (render work/app development), which makes the artwork on my cans start to move when viewed through the app, I’m really happy with it!
For more information on Up Front Brewing;
Thank you so much to Up Front Brewing for taking part! I think the augmented reality is app is fantastic and is a huge winner for me. I’m a lover of both tech and beer, so combining this will always get me excited!