Q&A with New River Brewery

Jeremy Alter
New River Brewery

Please introduce yourself...
New River Brewery was founded in the summer of 2015 by John Bourdeaux and Jeremy Alter after a year of detailed planning and research. Our first commercial beers were launched in August, and we're now brewing five fantastic recipes and have several more in the pipeline. We're currently dispensing cask ales made with plentiful high quality ingredients from across the globe - and we're receiving lots of interest and repeat orders which is highly encouraging.

Where do you brew from and what's your set up?
Our brewery is based in Hoddeson, Hertfordshire, only a few yards from the New River which flows all the way from Ware (Herts.) into North London. Our kit is a new bespoke 10BBL installation supplied and built in the UK by Johnson Brewing Design. We currently have two conical fermentation vessels capable of producing over 80 casks of beer each week. We have refrigeration capacity for over 300 casks, so we can keep our entire range in stock and fresh at all times.

What was your path into the world of brewing?
We both worked in the City prior to becoming brewers. This new venture is a complete change in direction for both of us, and in preparation we committed much of our time to training and research (including many arduous brewery and beer festival visits!) It's fantastic to be so closely involved with a product we love and also to be working with so many people in our local community.

Where do you see your brewery in three years time?
In three years we'd like to be brewing at full capacity and supplying a well established range of beers to as many consumers in our area as possible. To achieve this we will need to employ several people and extend our dispense to bottles, cans and keg.

What was the first beer which altered your perception of beer?
Boddingtons, as brewed in Manchester over 30 years ago, was a major inspiration - it was very different from the canned version available today. It was very lively and contained fresh, intense hoppy flavours and aromas and a creamy white head - what could be better?

What beer do you wished you had brewed?

What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
We think it's vital to experiment with different beers, to continuously learn about brewing ingredients and how they impact the finished product. This is part of the joy of today's independent beer market - there's so much to try and most of it is of exceptional quality.

Which brewery, other than your own, do you most respect?
We have found many other brewery owners to be very welcoming and helpful in our early stages - it's a great industry to be part of. We appreciate any small brewery that seeks to deliver a great quality product and, thus enhance the reputation of the sector as a whole.

Mike Hampshire