Real Beer with Real Belles

As a lover of craft beer I was pretty excited to find out that our first ‘Real life’ in-person meeting for a very long time (and my first ever meeting as a Borough Belle member) was going to be hosted by the Bianca Road Brewing Co in Bermondsey.

Bianca Road Brew Co

After Alison, the BBWI president, welcomed everybody and ran through some important updates she handed over to Reece, the owner and founder of the Bianca Road Brewing Co.

We squeezed *literally* into the area of the brewery where the magic happens, and Reece told us about how the idea for starting his own brewery came when he and his friends quit their jobs and cycled across the USA from San Francisco to Miami – visiting national parks, cities and breweries as they went. At the time craft brewing in the US was booming in comparison to the UK, and there was a market for bringing those American ideas and innovations in the sector to this side of the pond. Once he returned to London after that epic adventure Reece started experimenting with new recipes, volunteering at breweries to learn more, and got ready to start his own business.

Bianca Road Brewing Co founder Reece serving behind the bar

Bianca Road Brewing Co was established in Southwark in 2016, and moved to the Bermondsey Beer Mile a few years later. The brewery has gone from strength to strength and it was great to spend time with someone who is clearly incredibly passionate about his business, who is open to trying new things, consistently experimenting and doing what he can to create great beer in a sustainable way. We learnt how the business uses a renewable energy supplier, that the yeast for brewing is re-used (much like with a sourdough starter), the reasons for choosing aluminium cans over glass bottles, and how they conserve water and utilise less electricity for heating via a pretty complicated sounding process that I have to admit went over my head! As someone who is enthusiastic about environmental sustainability it was great to hear about practical ways in which a small business is doing everything they can in this field.

We got the full rundown on how the beer is created – from the first bag of hops, through the mash tun, the kettle and fermenter and to the canning or pouring at the end. It was all pretty scientific and the belles had some great questions on the process and how we can support the Bianca Road Brewing Co, as well as other local businesses in SE1. As a note – the brewery is available to hire for private events, and welcomes team-building days and groups like the WI to use their space, which is a great way to support them.

Once the tour was over we all got the opportunity to sample our choice of the brewery’s offerings. My personal favourite was the Simcoe single-hop IPA, closely followed by my first try of a black New England pale, turns out the Simcoe I loved is a limited edition run so guess I’ll have to pop back for some tinnies before it’s all sold out!

Borough Belle Amelia sampling some of the beers on offer

It can be a bit nerve-wracking attending social events, and as this was my first meeting as a member I was a little daunted by meeting lots of new faces, but the existing members made the newbies amongst the group feel really welcome. Having great beer to chat over really helped with the nerves too! If you’re thinking of joining I’d highly recommend it, it’s a great way to make friends in London (which can be pretty tough when you’re an adult!) and there are lots more interesting events and meetings coming up too.

Alex

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