There ain’t nothin’ weird about a beard, nothin’ whatsoever. Not even if it was so long you used it as a cape. In fact, that’s just plain awesome. Not even if you tied it to your dog’s collar and took the pooch for a walk. That’s just convenient. Well until it spots a cat or a ball and makes a run for it with your chin in tow. The only weird beard I’ve ever come across, not including my brother’s three chin hairs that he insists on calling a soul patch, is Weird Beard Brew Co.
Weird Beard of West London, was set up by bearded brewing duo, Bryan and Gregg; both award winning home brewers who aim to brew ‘no-holds-barred’ beers with ‘no gimmicks, no crap and never knowingly under hopped.’ Just as passionate about brewing magically delicious beers as he is about growing facial hair, Bryan Spooner is a true gent and I’m stoked that he agreed to appear in the blog’s Head brewer in the spotlight section.
When did you start brewing?
I think it may have been around 10 years or so ago. Think I was in my mid 20s.
How did you get into brewing?
No romantic stories about not being able to find the types of beer I liked in this country or anything. To be honest, I originally got into home brewing through turbo cider. Basically adding yeast to apple juice to make strong easy booze. It was just a means to an end. The cider wasn’t great, so I evolved onto beer through kits. But this brought back memories of the days my dad used to home brew. The smell triggered something, and I really got into it. I started drinking more and more different beers to get inspiration, and soon started on full grain brewing and going to home brew clubs.
If you weren’t brewing, what would you be doing?
Up until very recently I worked as a broadcast engineer for radio at the BBC, and at the time of writing, still do. I lost interest a couple of years ago, and was offered redundancy. Coincidentally at the time some people I know through beer were looking to open a brewery. I had some money, was well into home brewing and obviously enjoyed a tipple, so went for it. It has taken two and half years to actually get the redundancy though, which has been tough. If the brewery didn’t work out I would probably still been there for the long term, just another bod stuck in a job I didn’t really enjoy.
What is your favourite beer and beer style?
I am bit of a ‘ticker’ actually. I tend to go for the beer I haven’t tried yet, although I tend not to keep a physical record. But if I were to be pushed, I would have to go with something imperial, either a stout on an IPA. Something chock full of flavour, with a backbone that allows the brewer to experiment. As for a single beer, not sure I could commit to that in writing.
What inspires the artwork on your beers?
We came up with the concept of the branding some time ago. A friend and I came up with the Weird Beard Brew Co. logo, and the idea of a skull with hops for eyes that we could change for every label. The inspiration for the changing skull came from the Iron Maiden character Eddie, who changes for each album and each tour. It was all very basic at that point. But at an event during the start up phase of the brewery, where we were giving out samples of beer and talking about our ideas, we were approached by a guy called Josh who, with the help of his designer friend Chris, offered to help us out. They took our rough and ready ideas and turned it into something totally amazing. We owe these guys a lot.
What makes the perfect beer?
There is no such thing. Everything has it’s moment. A beer that was perfect one evening in that bar, with those people, after that day, with that tune playing in the background, may not be perfect any other time. Saying that though, a beer has to be well made, there is some bad beer out there.
If you could brew a collaboration beer with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
There are so many amazing brewers out there I would love to get the chance to collaborate with, and I hope to get the chance one day. Too many to list here to be honest. I would actually love to get together with other creative people, who have a passion for music as well as beer. Someone like Maynard James Keenan from Tool. They make fantastic music, the concepts around their videos is superb, and he makes his own wine, so knows about flavour and a good ferment. Would also love to get Bruce from Iron Maiden in too, but think Robinson’s have beaten us to that one.