David Scott gave up his job to become a local craft brewer
‘I’ve been a fan of beer for far too many years. I’d been a home brewer for a long time and thought that what I was making was comparable to the big breweries, so I took time out from my managerial job at a university and started working for a brewery in Hanwell before starting up on my own in May 2015.
‘I didn’t realise just how demanding it would be, changing from brewing at home to running my own brewery. First I had to find suitable premises as I live in Kew and wanted to brew close to home. Then I had to buy all the equipment, which has to be kept scrupulously clean – I spend more time cleaning than I do brewing! Each day is different, depending on where I am in the process. Brewing starts with malt – a source of sugar for fermentation and flavour. The colour and some of the taste of beer depends on the malts you use – I get mine from a maltings in Suffolk – and this is soaked in warm water to extract the sugars before running it into a kettle. Hops are added and boiled and, depending on which stage you add them, they will give different flavours – earlier and you get the bitterness; later and it’s more about the aroma and flavour. This is rapidly cooled and moved to a fermenter, where yeast is added. Fermentation takes about a week, turning much of the sugar into alcohol. We then ‘cold condition’ our beers for a week in a conditioning tank, where we also ‘dry hop’ them for more aroma. Then the beer is ready to go into cask or bottle. Well, that’s the short version of brewing.
‘I bottle around 600 in an afternoon, which then have to be labelled and boxed up. The beer can’t be left exposed to the air, so it can lead to long days. I can be there until 11pm getting it all done.
‘The names of my beers are all linked to the locality – Pagoda, Botanic, Petersham, Kew Green (& Black) – which has real Green & Black chocolate in it.
‘I’m really proud of what we have achieved, having already won a couple of awards since we started last year. We only use malt and hops grown in England and 5p of every beer sold goes to the World Land Trust, which saves threatened habitats.
‘It’s hard work, but I love what I do. Mind you, it has put my wife off beer…’
Kew Brewery beers are sold at Real Ale in East Twickenham, The Beer Boutique in Putney and pubs such as The White Hart in Barnes and the Kew Gardens Hotel.