Adrian Thomas, Managing Director at Belleville Brewery Co in South West London on location, their ethos and exciting plans for the future.
How, when and why was Belleville Brewery Co started?
The brewery was started by 10 dads with children at Belleville Primary School in SW London. It was started in 2013 and, after many visits to the US for work and holidays, we decided to brew US-style beers.
What was the first beer that you brewed?
The first beer we brewed was probably a very bad version of Thames Surf IPA. I would like to think that over 6 years of brewing we have pretty damn near perfected that IPA.
Why US-style beers?
I visited the US a lot in the 90s while working in the lm industry writing music and those first bottles of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, New Belgium Fat Tire and Pete’s Wicked Ale were a revelation to someone that grew up drinking English session bitter.
Which is your favourite beer from Belleville Brewing Co and why?
It changes but I always love drinking Commonside Pale Ale. I think it’s because it’s quite a simple beer, but elegant with it.
What is Belleville Brewing Co’s company ethos?
We want to brew really great quality beers with a pure and classy brand image.
Do you think the location of a brewery influences the character of a beer?
Yes, without a doubt. We brew the kind of beers that we want to drink and judging by the success of our taproom, the craft beer fans around SW London want that too. This is a very affluent area and so although we like brewing exciting new beers, lagers and pale ales are the most popular.
Whats sets Belleville Brewing Co apart from other breweries in London?
I am 56 and most of our investors are dads, so the image we have is not of a load of beard-toting 20 year-olds with wacky can designs. We think that what the brand shows is the kind of maturity and aesthetic appeal that we aim for while still being experimental and forward-thinking.
We love your beer names. What is the thinking behind them?
We started by marrying words from the US with local names, hence Battersea Brownstone. We always try to get something American in. Although, Balham Black (Lager) came from the idea that it sounded like “Back in Black” (AC/DC).
What is the best beer you have ever tasted (apart from your own ones!) and where and why?
The best beer I ever tasted was my first pumpkin beer. It was Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale and I drank it in Barney’s Beanery on Santa Monica in 2007. Barney’s Beanery was where bands like The Doors and Love used to hang out in the late 60s and early 70s.
What is the best selling beer in the taproom?
The best-selling beer in The Taproom is Picnic Session IPA.
Where does your inspiration for the flavours and ingredients of your beers come from?
We are always buying and trying out new hops. Eureka and Loral have just arrived and we can’t wait to put them to good use. We use Warminster and Crisp Malts and they are some of the best in the world. The whole idea of craft beer is to be experimental and open to new ideas. We have fun brewing experimental home-brew sized batches for people to try at our taproom. These have included a Prickly Pear IPA, a Mochachino IPA, a Kumquat and Almond Wheat and a Coffee Pastry Stout.
What has been your proudest moment at Belleville Brewery Co?
I think the proudest moment was drinking by myself in a pub and overhearing someone praise our beers to his friend.
What is the main lesson you’ve learned in all these years of brewing?
There are no short-cuts to making good beer. Clean everything you can and only use the best ingredients.
What exciting plans do you have for 2019?
We have a new canning line coming which is three times faster than the old one and we have just ordered two 30BBL fermenters. We are also looking to open another Taproom in the London area.
Finally, is there anything you would like to share with the Flavourly community about Belleville?
We love being a part of the craft beer community and we hope that you get the chance to visit us and let us show you what Belleville Brewing Co is all about!