Brewing with Intrepid
Guest blog written by Connor Murphy
Few breweries can boast a setting as dramatic as Intrepid Brewing.
Nestled between the lush, green peaks of the Hope Valley, it’s hemmed in at all sides by stunning, open countryside - at once stark, unforgiving and breathtakingly beautiful.
Given the brewery’s unique position deep in the heart of the Peak District National Park, the name seems particularly fitting. This is, after all, a part of the world treasured by the typical countryside explorer.
But the name is also fitting in the way it applies to owners Ben McIntyre, who is also head brewer, and wife Beck.
After enjoying success as a homebrewer, Ben left behind a career in software to explore a future in making beer. Now 18 months down the line, there has been no looking back.
Ben says, “My wife got me a homebrew kit and I got a bit carried away with it. We used to have a tap in our kitchen and would have people round to try the beer. For some reason, they really enjoyed the free beer and said ‘you should sell this’. So we did.
“So far, the beer has generally been very well received and 2016 should be exciting too as we’ve got a lot of beer festivals coming up and we’re aiming to get in some supermarkets with our bottles too.
“Our beers are informed by a combination of my own taste and what we thought would be well received by our local market.
“The St Bernard, which is the oaked brown, was just something I wanted to make. It was a whim really but I was very pleased with the results. But around here people mainly want pales, so we have also started doing more on the pale end of the spectrum.”
Intrepid has a small core range of four beers – a blonde, an IPA, an oaked brown and a porter – but Tryanuary was invited to join them for a very special one-off brewed in collaboration with bloggers Mashtun and Meow.
The beer is Mother’s Bruin, a play-on-words that combines the traditional Belgian style Oud Bruin with ‘mother’s ruin’, the traditional colloquial term for gin.
It was conceived by Jim and Laura of Mashtun and Meow, who wanted to create a beer that showcased the typical flavours found in gin. As a result, liquorice root, juniper and coriander seed were added to the boil to provide botanical flavours, while a late addition of Galaxy hops was used to add citrus notes, replicating the use of orange, grapefruit and lemon peel in gin.
The beer also aims to deliver the malt character of an Oud Bruin and will use a saison yeast to provide a final layer of peppery spice.
Ben says, “We try and make beers that have layers of flavour. With this one we’re hoping for stages of flavour that come through, so it’ll start off malty before the Galaxy hops come through. Hopefully then it will switch to the juniper, which is quite a dry, piney flavour, and finally you’ll get peppery flavours from the saison yeast emulating the spices often found in gin.”
It’s just the latest step into unchartered territory for the Intrepid crew and the final product promises to be completely different to anything you can currently find on the bar in your local.
Read more about the brew on the Intrepid Brewing website.
Thanks to Connor for the writing and photography.