There are some beers that are meant to be. Beers that consistently light up the palate, the mind relaxes in a contented sigh as you absent-mindedly quaff away the first few gulps. These beers don’t need to be expertly tracked down, they’re not particularly scarce – leaving you hopeful that the next pub, bottle shop or supermarket you visit might stock it. The next few hours are spent contentedly knowing that you’re with an old faithful. For us, examples from across the world that are the epitome of this class of beer are Allagash White from Allagash, Landlord from Timothy Taylors, Sierra Nevada Pale from Sierra Nevada (ideally in close proximity to one of their breweries), Dead Pony Club by Brewdog and Oakham Citra from Oakham Ales. There are many more examples and everyone will have their own…
To be honest, we never specifically approached our brewing with creating that beer in mind. However, in our quest to try and create some of the best beer experiences, we feel like we did. That beer is called Faith. Faith was brought into the world as a single hop Citra Pale Ale in 2016 as a seasonal beer to celebrate one of our favourite hops. In those days, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we would navigate the global shortage of hops as a hop-forward brewery (the world has changed in numerous ways…). This is in fact where Rapscallion came from, originally a recipe for a Purl Ale from the 1600’s incorporating orange peel and wormwood. We only managed to brew two batches of Faith before we found out that our Citra supply was essentially coming to an end. We had a final 20KG we could use, and rather than eke out another few batches of Faith, we thought we’d throw it all at one amped up version. But what would we call it? *Enter Heathen*
Over the course of the next year, a couple of things changed. First, we found some Citra, and Faith was back. Second, we made a pilgrimage to the North East of the US. We were already incorporating some of the techniques pioneered on the East Coast, such as higher dry hopping rates and use of ester driven yeasts but following this trip, and the opportunity to share a Heathen with John Kimmich from the Alchemist – to our delight we got the thumbs up – drink lots of Allagash White and cans of Bissell with the Bissell Brothers, Faith became what it is today. We’ve incorporated more oats and adjusted the water profile even more to allow for a softer, fuller mouthfeel but crucially kept the drinkability, which we feel is the cornerstone of great British styles.
We feel that creating that ultimate go-to beer is something few of us in the progressive UK beer scene have truly nailed. We each have our own path and many simply do not want to pursue this kind of accessibility for their beers. With Faith, we feel that we’ve created something truly special, and we’re keen to share that experience with as many people as possible. It’s the reason we chose this beer to donate 5,000 cans of to the NHS and front-line care staff this weekend (as well as its very fitting name). It’s been a cornerstone for us through the recent situation, and we know it has for some of you too. A little beacon of hope in the fridge at the end of the day reminding us to Keep the Faith. We feel that greater exposure and accessibility to excellent beer helps everyone in the beer scene. We feel there is a place for reliable fridge beer, favourites that sit in perfect symbiosis with special seasonal releases that you’ve acquired after an in-depth discussion with your local bottle shop owner.
We’re also a business, and we remain committed to not just creating the best beer experiences we can, but also growing and nurturing our team and creating more good jobs. We were incredibly proud to have been named one of the UK’s best small companies by the Sunday Times recently. Growing means investing in and scaling our operation. Alongside the move to have more accessibility for beers like Faith, we’re investing more in exclusive and rare beer experiences than ever before. At series 26, boasting over 130 unique, LTD release beers with each supporting and promoting Northern talent – the Patrons Projects is one of the biggest collaborative projects in beer. We also hoped to be in a position to tell you more about Northern Monk LDN at this point, but we’ll save that for another blog post.
This year, we will be bringing you more Faith. As of last weekend, you can find Faith at Morrisons stores across the UK with further distribution points to be added to the list later in the year. Everyone will be able to have Faith. This is a beer we want to be as accessible as possible.
It’s 2020 and the world around us has changed so significantly, it feels like even writing such a deep dive about beer in the context of the rest of the world is fairly ludicrous. However, it’s also fair to say that the moments created by these experiences are more precious than ever.
We like to think of ourselves as a humble bunch, but we also celebrate our team’s victories and are grateful for the good things in life. So, we can say all this because it’s Brian’s creation. Just don’t tell him we’ve said it.
Keep the Faith.