We spend a moment with home brewer Gage Holding and see where it all started and what he has on the horizon.
So, can you tell us how it all started for you?
Honestly it was age, I was one of the youngest in my year at School, so on the last day of Christmas, too young to drink. Last day of Summer? Too young to drink. Last day of exams, yep, still too young to drink. So we bought our first kit and started brewing before we finished school.
What was your first brew and how did it turn out?
My First brew was a Yorkshire Bitter, it was quite tasty, bottled a load of it up, and everyone enjoyed it, as much as you can a first homebrew. Then a few months later I got reports of bottles exploding on people’s shelves…
Were there any mishaps / funny moments along the way leading to now?
Aside from every brew being a learning experience? I’ve had Ciders where I’ve used Cooking apples by accident to created the bitterest pint of cider ever. Christmas Bottles that have exploded on Christmas day. Even Wines that turned out to be mildly flammable…
Are there any pieces of equipment that you are looking to buy soon, or are converting for the future?
I know the process for all grain brewing, but having been brewing at uni for the last 5 years I just haven’t had the space to upgrade, so really I just want to convert to all grain as soon as possible!
Bottle or Keg?
Bottles. Bottles last, they can be stored in your shed for whenever, if you keg you need to make sure that there’s enough of you to finish the keg. Plus, its way more fun to collect the amount of bottles you need to do a brew!
What is your go to recipe or signature brew?
Coffee Porter, its got a bit of extra malt in it to make it really thick, really dark, and a bit stronger than normal. Then its “watered” down with coffee that’s been aged for a really mellow punch in the face.
What is your schedule for a typical brew day?
Get Up, boil the kettle, have a coffee, deliberate, have another coffee, eventually get round to sterilizing, have a coffee. Once everything is dry start mixing the ingredients, hoping that it all works out in the end, have a coffee, realise you’ve forgotten something, swear a lot, hope for the best, fit it all back together, seal it up, wait, coffee.
What do you love about home brewing and the industry in general?
Just the fact there’s such an online community of people willing to talk about beer and help each other with any problems that they are having. And the satisfaction of drinking something that you’ve made yourself.
Are you attending any festivals / competitions in the coming months?
I do my best to attend most of the beer festivals in my area, I just haven’t had the guts to submit into a competition yet!
What are your plans for the future and where do you think the industry is headed?
Obviously I’d love to sell my beer, I have people that said they’d buy it! But the problem with Small scale on such a small scale is the continuity, the paperwork and the hassle, there needs to be a much better solution!
Are there any breweries that you admire for what they are producing?
I’m a really big fan of anything different. Don’t get me wrong I like most beers, I’ll try anything, but recently I’ve had a Cola Flavoured Cider by Lilleys. And it is just that, it looks and tastes like a flat pint of cola, but its alcoholic?!
Finally, what is the name of your “one day” brewery?
Ha, well currently we brew under the title “16 Herons Brewery” cause that’s where we really kicked it up a gear at uni, for the future… that’s a secret.