Magazine Meet the Makers News

Atom: The Science of Brewing

Getting to know Atom Brewery, from their beginnings and their scientific influences to what the future holds…

Let’s start at the beginning, how and why did Atom start up? And what was the first beer Atom ever brewed?

Atom was founded in 2014 by scientists Allan and Sarah. They relocated from Edinburgh to Hull on a mission to set up a brewery focused on science, education, and delicious experimental beers. Originally the brewery was as much about the beer school as it was beer production but, as demand for the beers increased, educational sessions became more difficult to accommodate. The long-term goal of the brewery is to bring back the educational element and have the capacity to regularly bring in groups of students, homebrewers and budding scientists.

The first few beers Atom produced were reasonably experimental, even by today’s standards. There was a Cardamom and Coriander Porter with no hops, a Camomile Tea Pale Ale, a Chestnut Brown Ale and a Saffron Rye IPA. The most interesting of the early beers was Isotope, a collaboration with Doctors Orders brewery in New Zealand. Isotope was a 10% Wee Heavy adjuncted with Bog Myrtle, Meadowsweet and Elderflower. We’ve rebrewed it recently and it is tasting as interesting as ever and is still bafflingly popular!At work in Atom Brewery

There’s a scientific theme running through everything you do, from the name Atom to the names of the beers themselves – what can you tell us about that?

Since the beginning we’ve always stuck to scientific names for the beers and are constantly resisting lexicon from the tempting realms of science-fiction and pseudo-science. Catalyst, 5.4% American Pale Ale, is now our flagship beer. This beer marked a shift in the brewery’s trajectory; it came at a time when we shifted away from cask beers into a world of more hop focused beers going into small pack and keg. It was the most hops we’d even put into a beer at that time and, as its name suggests, it was the Catalyst for a change in our focus going forward. The beer names also allow a platform for discussion with like-minded individuals, there have been plenty of beer festivals where we have ended up in long-winded discussions about Feynman Diagrams

and Critical Temperatures…

At work in Atom Brewery

We’re delighted to be featuring both Pulsar and Quantum State in our Beers of the Month – what can you tell us about these beers and their recipes?

Pulsar and Quantum State are both very longstanding core beers for good reason. They’re accessible, damn tasty and we love to drink them here at the brewery too. These particular beers mark the end of an era as all of our cans are now shifting from 330ml into 440ml – more is better right?

At work in Atom Brewery

What does the rest of 2021 have in store for Atom – any upcoming beer releases people should be on the lookout for?

We have plenty lined up for this year, we’re most excited to get back to events and beer festivals. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a lot of people so there’ll be some catching up to do, beer wise as well as gossip wise. We have collaborations planned with Loch Lomond, McColls, Docks Beers, Old Chimneys and more. We’re pretty stoked that we have a full batch of Neutron Star, our Coffee and Vanilla Imperial Stout, snoozing away in bourbon barrels and soaking up flavour ready for a Christmas release. In previous years the Barrel Aged version has been so sparse we’ve left a lot of people disappointed so we’re hoping to rectify that this year.

Finally, is there anything you’d like to tell the Flavourly community about Atom – especially if encountering your beers for the first time?

We’re a very small team down in Hull, at the minute there’s just four of us working at the brewery.  Our new head brewer, Matt, has just joined us from Brass Castle and has lots of interesting ideas for new beers going forward.

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