Published on February 12, 2019 | by Alastair Gilmour0
New vision’s on its way
Sonnet 43 Brew Co’s senior craft brewer Alex Rattray has wasted no time in getting his sleeves rolled up to immerse himself in the North East beer world. The colourful Texan arrived in County Durham in late 2018 to complement head brewer Michael Harker’s solid foundations and help take the well-established, award-winning company into new areas.
“First of all, we had a whirlpool tank installed at the Coxhoe brewery,” says Alex. “This will help bring layers of hop flavour to the kind of beers I’m wanting to make and give us flexibility using multiple hop formats and to fully utilise the more aromatic flavours of the modern, contemporary varieties.”
Alex has also been allowed time to explore the UK craft beer and cask ale scene.
He says: “I’ve been able to meet some UK brewery folk at tap takeovers – such as Abbeydale at Head of Steam and Consett Ale Works at The Station House in Durham. I also stumbled upon a collaboration in progress with Beatznik Brewery when I went to visit Steam Machine Brewery. As always, the hospitality of brewers is unmatched and I had a great time hanging out with those talented people. I feel much more aware of what’s out there.”
Alex has been running small-batch test brews and experimenting with Australian hops that he hadn’t previously worked with.
“The tests have come or great,” he says. “It’s also taken longer than expected to get the necessary parts and to make adjustments to our kit and processes that I would like. It’s a tall order to be able to pivot on a daily basis brewing very different beers for cask and keg, but we’re excited to make it happen.
“And I’ve been able to help out our sister distillery Poetic License on various projects and I’ve enjoyed learning more about distilling and running the new bottling line there. Being around the distillery has sparked some new beer ideas in my head too.”