It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Tom Menaul who has been with us for 8 years and has been an absolutely cracking Head Brewer for Brimstage. He is heading back to his native Belfast to move closer to his family. Thank you Tom for all you have done, we will miss you!
But it’s with great excitement that we welcome local lad Matthew Lloyd back to the brewery, this time as Head Brewer. Eight years ago, Matthew started his brewing career as an apprentice at Brimstage. After four years of training up, he spread his wings and ventured into the wilds of the beer world, picking up a real wealth of beery knowledge and experience along the way. He’s going to be at the helm of the brewery, overseeing all brewing operations, ensuring the consistent quality you expect and will lead new recipe creation - so quite an important role! We thought you might be interested to find out a little bit more about him...
"I grew up locally to the brewery, less than 3 miles away. I have moved to several places in the last few years, but always enjoyed coming back to the Wirral. My girlfriend is local, and our family still live in the area, along with the majority of our friends. Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales are all fantastic areas to get outdoors and are particularly good for road cycling and rock-climbing, although I’m just starting to get in to climbing. Brimstage has always been a business close to my heart. It set me up perfectly with an ethos that centred around hard work, team spirit, and high quality beer, of course. It’s great that I have been able to return.”
"The beer scene has changed drastically since I started brewing - nationally and on the Wirral. With the rise of microbreweries we have seen a massive improvement in the accessibility of independent beer. Locally, Brimstage was very much at the forefront of this trend. I hope that a strong pub culture will continue on the Wirral, as we do have some brilliant pubs. That more and more people are drinking from small independent breweries - at home or in the pub - is a trend I hope will continue."
When it comes to beer, what ticks the boxes for you?
“Of the styles I drink most frequently, I like a hoppy red ale. My favourite Brimstage beer is Rhode Island Red as it hits so many pointers of what I look for in a beer – a great balance of malt and hops. At 4%, it is also a great strength to enjoy several pints. I think the beauty of working in the beer industry is that you are exposed to all sorts of amazing styles of beer and breweries. I enjoy trying new beers that are coming into the market. Among the most complicated I’ve brewed over the last few years include kettle sours, low alcohol, barrel aged beers, and beers higher than 12% ABV, with low ABV beers being the trickiest. It’s hard to carry the right amounts of flavour and body without the associated strength.” Sounds like he’s managed it quite well though, with one of his low-alcohol beers winning an award at the 2019 World Beer Awards, while in his most recent position as Head Brewer at Glen Affric brewery.
At the brewery, we believe that great beer doesn’t always have to be new. We’ll always try to champion what’s local to us and it’s intriguing that one of Matthew’s brews has connected what’s local, old and new all at the same time. "I have always been interested in making historical recipes, especially from local breweries. When I worked in Chester I copied a recipe from the Cheshire Archives, and brewed it in the city centre for the first time in over 100 years. I would like to continue this tradition, and brew some of the old Birkenhead beers.” We think there will be more than a few of us looking forward to that!
"Over the next 5 years I will be aiming to continue the ethos that has been strong in the brewery since I first joined. We want to keep working hard, producing high quality local beer with a great team-spirit. I’d love to talk more with our customers and increase the range based on what our customers want. This has been successful with the ‘Brew For Heroes’ and is hopefully something we can continue."
So there we have it, Matthew Lloyd, Brimstage Brewery’s new Head Brewer. We wish him all the success in the role and think you’ll be hearing much more from him over the next few months.