Les O'Grady, Neptune Brewery
Please introduce yourself and your brewery...
I'm Les O'Grady. Director and Brewer at Neptune Brewery, established in the summer of 2015 brewing unfined beers.
Initially brewing for cask, we have in the last few months began to package into keg and bottle.
The majority of our beer names are influenced by nautical/aquatic themes in keeping with our name and brand. We were awarded CAMRA Liverpool and Districts Brewer of the year in 2016, which is great for first year achievement.
Where do you brew from and what is your set up?
We brew in Maghull, which in on the edge of Liverpool. We are currently on a 6BBL kit with 2 fermenters. Our beers can always be found locally, and recently we have expanded further afield.
What was your path into the world of brewing?
My path into brewing was an epiphany whilst drinking an unimpressive pint in a Liverpool pub, and thinking that better beer than this can be brewed. (It was at the time when there were not so many breweries around as now). I began to home brew and quickly got the bug for brewing and gained more knowledge and experience by helping out a few local breweries.
Boosted by the victory in a blind tasting event at a home brew club, and the support of family and friends the plunge was taken. A 1BBL brew kit was ordered and 12 months on it became 6BBL. This year we will be investing in at least another 2 fermenters due to demand.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
Personally, I think single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market has to be gaining enough outlets to sustain the fast growing number of breweries opening. Otherwise there will a tipping point when there will be too many breweries and not enough outlets to sell to.
This in turn will either impact on quality if it becomes price driven (maybe already happened in some cases with cask?) or the loss of the breweries who struggle to sell enough product.
What was the first beer which altered your perception of beer?
That's a difficult one, as there are three.
I remember drinking Jaipur from Thornbridge for the first time and thinking wow this is amazing.
Neck Oil from Beavertown proved that you can make a really tasty beer without it being a high ABV. Also Clown Juice by Magic Rock introduced me to beer that was a little different from the normal beers out there at the time.
What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
I really enjoy Imperial & Barrel Aged Stouts.
Which brewery, other than your own, do you most respect?
I have to say that it's Marble in Manchester. They produce some excellent cask beers which over the years have stood the test of time and now with the addition of the Metal Series and their big Stouts, including barrel ageing, they are taking it up another level. Producing the goods and letting them speak for themselves without any hype.
What's your desert island beer?
If I had to choose, then it would be Magic Rock, Bearded Lady Grand Marnier edition (though i'd like to take the full set!) Love the flavours underpinned by the boozy edge to it. Extremely sinkable despite it being 10.5% ABV!
Describe your brewery in six words.
Good beer that's brewed to enjoy.