Alongside the slew of fantastic craft breweries, brewpubs and bottle shops across Hackney, places to try your hand at home-brewing are also steadily on the rise. Keen to dip her toe in the, erm, wort, Drink Hackney headed to the Home Brew Depot at the Adam & Eve in Homerton to put her brewing skills to the test. A small collection of would-be brewers were waiting outside, and together we were directed through the handsome tile-fronted pub, to the garden at the back.
Founded by Josh and Simon in November 2014, Home Brew Depot aims to foster a community of passionate amateur brewers, coming together to discuss recipes, compare notes, experiment with ideas, and make new and interesting beers. As well as providing the space for this, and brewing workshops and classes, HBD also hosts talks by brewers and has shops stocking everything you need to get started.
We gathered in the pub’s eclectically decorated courtyard, greeted by smiley and enthusiastic Nate, a man clearly zealous about making beer. He talked us through the agenda and poured us an ale – the first of numerous throughout the day –all of which were brewed by Josh, Simon and himself.
Split into small groups, we tackled the first task: mashing in. Twelve litres of accurately heated water were stirred into our Maris Otter malt before lids were securely fastened and the mixture rested for an hour. After circulating the liquid and sparging (adding another eighteen litres of water), we emptied the (now so-called) wort through the filter, into a pan and brought it to the boil. We sprinkled in Galaxy hop pellets and the liquid boiled for forty-five minutes, after which we added some more, and let things bubble for another fifteen.
Once the beer was cooled, we decanted it into five-litre demijohns, checked the original gravity with a hydrometer (so we could later calculate the ABV), and gave our beers a name. ‘Drink Hackney Pale Ale’ was born! With two weeks of fermentation to begin, we waved goodbye and wandered off into the evening, smelling of hops and merrily swinging our flagons of beer. Want to know what happened next? Follow the next, gripping installments of the Drink Hackney Pale Ale story here.