One at a time, slowly but surely, a new generation of brewers are popping up in the UK and they are chipping away at the tasteless corporate beer that has dominated our pint glasses for far too long. Kaite and Jason, founders of Kubla Brewery, are part of this new revival. Good folk that are passionate about exploring flavour and brewing small batches of natural, unfined, tasty beers. We had a chat with them and found out why they decided to become small-scale brewers, their thoughts on the importance of supporting local producers, and how they create beers that truly have a sense of place…
ABOUT BEING BREWERS
What does beer mean to you?
Beer is a really good medium for exploring lots of different flavours. As beer has been brewed for so long all over the world there are lots of different styles that have developed. We’re trying to take inspiration from them but not work within the boundaries of the styles and add our own ‘Kubla’ signature.
Tell us a bit of your story?
We have both worked in large-scale food industry previously but wanted to make a product which we could be proud of. By making small batch beers by hand we are able to explore lots of different flavours whilst giving them the time and attention to maintain quality.
How did you start making beer?
We started making beer at home using pretty basic home brewing equipment. After a few batches of fairly standard flavoured beer we began to add ingredients that we had grown at home to make the beer more interesting.
Can you tell us the challenges or benefits you face as small-scale producers in comparison to industrial producers.
There are loads of benefits of being small-scale – we don’t have shareholders to ask when we want to do something new or different which means we can be more creative with our products and try new things like opening the tap room.
Can you share your thoughts on the importance of shopping locally and supporting local producers like yourselves.
Supporting local producers is very important, but the quality has to be there. People may buy locally once to ‘support’ you but if what you’re doing isn’t any good, they’re not going to come back.
ABOUT THE BREWERY
Can you tell us a little bit about how you found the brewery?
We actually looked at the details for Tower Farm about a year before we launched but all of the buildings looked huge and a big investment for a start up, so we didn’t even visit to have a look. A year later we decided that we should so we met the landlord and he immediately showed us The Source Building which is tucked away further down the farm track. It was / still is perfect for what we’re doing!
Where is the brewery located and how have the surroundings inspired you and your beer?
The brewery is located on Tower Farm near Lydeard St Lawrence. We love the outdoors and have always spent all our spare time either walking, mountain-biking or surfing around Exmoor, The Quantock Hills and North Devon.
The landscape that surrounds the brewery inspires us a lot, whether it be an idea for new ingredients or just getting out there and enjoying it.
ABOUT THE BEER
How do you source your ingredients?
In terms of the main ingredients we source the Tuckers Maltings from as close to the brewery as possible which for us is Devon. The Hops come from further afield as we use a variety of different types from all over the world.
How is the flavour diversity in your beers different to industrial beer?
Brewing on a small scale means that some ingredients we use are not commercially available or viable for larger producers, such as our locally grown and foraged ingredients.
How do you use foraged ingredients in your beer?
There are many ingredients that can be foraged and used in the beer in different ways. Some are added to give bitter notes, others for flavour and aroma.
How do you get your beer out to the public?
We started off producing bottles only and sold our beer to specialist beer shops, good farm shops and a few local restaurants.
Now we have our beer in bottles, cask and keg and our customers are spread from here in the South West across to London.
We have recently opened our own Tap Room at the brewery to connect people locally with what we are doing.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT KUBLA BREWERY