From Grain to Glass: A Journey into Craft Beer

From Grain to Glass: A Journey into Craft Beer

Welcome to the fascinating world of craft beer! Over recent years, the craft beer industry has amassed a passionate following of beer enthusiasts due to its craftsmanship, diverse flavours, and unique brewing techniques. But have you ever wondered about the journey these delicious brews take to get from grain to glass, or how the flavour is decided? 

From the humble beginnings of malting barley and selecting the finest hops to the art of fermentation and the final product that tantalises our taste buds, we'll uncover the secrets of what makes our beer brewery so unique, and what we do to constantly push boundaries and create exceptional brews. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricate process of craft beer as we sit down with one of our head brewers, Ted Carey. 

So, grab a cold one, sit back, and get ready to embark on a sensory adventure through the fascinating world of craft beer. Cheers!

How is flavour designed at the beer brewery?

When it comes to designing the flavour of a Dorking Brewery beer, Ted emphasises the importance of collaborating with such a small but cohesive and cooperative team. Being able to discuss preferences and ideas allows them to envision the desired flavour, colour, and strength of each brew before it even starts production. That way, the brewery team can envisage the final product and methodically work backwards to create it.

“The inspiration behind Five Claw stemmed from a conversation about west coast IPAs. With a desire for higher-strength beer and the use of Yakima Valley hops, which are known for their piney, tropical, and strong characteristics, we embarked on our journey to achieve the flavour we were looking for. We spoke with hop suppliers and conducted thorough research to determine the optimal alpha resin amount, which affects the beer's bitterness. By balancing the hops and other ingredients, we created a fruity and tropical flavour profile that was a complete hit. All of this came from collaboratively thinking about the beer we wanted to drink and working towards it.”

When is the taste of a beer ‘right’?

It’s no secret that the concept of the ‘right’ flavour of beer is subjective and varies from person to person. This is something that Ted knows all too well; beer preferences are highly individual and there is no secret recipe for the ‘perfect’ beer. 

“Dorking Brewery beers like Black Noise and Red India have won awards, but that doesn’t mean to say that everyone on the planet will love them. As a result, we’re constantly evolving and refining our recipes based on the feedback and observations of the brewing team. For example, one of our flagship beers, Surrey XPA, underwent recent changes to reduce its bite. Rather than removing hops, the team and I experimented with combinations and substitutions to enhance the overall flavour of the beer. It’s this commitment to constant improvement and adaptation that is the driving force behind both the quality and innovation of our beers.”

Working with unusual flavours

When it comes to experimenting with unique and unusual flavours, Dorking Brewery treads their own path. While creativity is embraced, the risks associated with going to extremes are understood. To run a limited production of beer with unusual flavours is a big cost commitment, and if customers aren’t keen on the flavour then it could be a huge loss. As a solution to this, Ted and the Dorking Brewery team find subtle twists to new flavours and brewing methods.

“Instead of going for really out there flavours which could be seen as more of a novelty, we look at the subtleties in the brewing process that we can tweak to create a truly unbeatable beer. For example, our smoked stout, Black Noise is made from a really distinctive mix of chocolate malt and smoked malt which is mixed to create a really nice unique beer.”

How to get the best quality beer every time

Ensuring the highest quality in every can or bottle of beer is of paramount importance to Dorking Brewery. Ted explains their rigorous quality control process, which involves individual testing to ensure a perfect brew.

“As a qualified brewer certified by the Institute of Brewers and Distillers (IBD), I meticulously inspect each beer for any signs of infection, flavour taints, or unwanted byproducts. I rely on my senses—smell, taste, colour, and clarity—to identify any issues that may affect the final product. Not just this, but either myself or my colleagues put our name to every keg, cask and can that goes out the door, so we know it has to be good!”

By adhering to these strict protocols and quality standards, Dorking Brewery ensures that only the highest-quality beers make their way into the hands of customers.

It’s not just the quality control that makes the beer so good though. Dorking Brewery has a commitment to brewing with only the best ingredients so that every beer stands out as a delicious, authentic, and drinkable product. 

Take a Dorking Brewery tour

Want to know more about how we make our beer? Or perhaps you have a few questions of your own? At Dorking Brewery, we provide an immersive brewery tour experience for beer enthusiasts, educating them about the intricacies of our beers through taproom tours led by genuine experts. 

It’s an opportunity to not only showcase the craftsmanship behind our brews but also enable consumers to understand the flavours that we’re so carefully creating. Our dedication to transparency and the desire to create delicious, high-quality beers sets us apart in such a busy industry.

So, the next time you reach for a beer, make sure it’s Dorking Brewery—the brewery that does craft beer right.

Check out and shop our range of beers here, and if a brewery tour piques your interest, click here.

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