Meet Andy, Pinter's Head Brewer and a talented guitarist in his band, flirting. We got to know more about his journey into brewing and music, as well as the parallels between his two passions.
How did you become interested in brewing beer, and what led you to become a head brewer at Pinter?
As soon as I could, I worked in pubs. While studying for an MA I was working at a craft beer pub in Stoke Newington. I’d always been interested in beer and my Dad had brought me up loving traditional cask beer. When all the other kids took crates of macro lager to parties my dad sent me with bottles of Timothy Taylors and Old Peculiar saying “If you’re going to drink, drink proper beer.”
Whilst working in Stoke Newington I developed a love for modern craft beer with beers like Pale Fire by Pressure Drop and and rather fortuitously Backstage IPA and Roadie by Signature.
A few of the people I was working at the pub with went to work at Signature afterwards and I use to help on the canning line with them when my bar shifts would allow it. It was then that I really got into the idea of working with beer and shortly after got an assistant brewer job at the newly formed Old St Brewery now in Hackney Wick.
It was a rapidly growing business where I had to wear many different hats from brewer to packager to recipe designer. I then moved on to work at Gorgeous Brewery in Highgate, carrying on the recipe design work that I had started at Old St. It was this recipe design experience that eventually landed me my first job at Pinter as Innovation Brewer.
Whilst doing that I led the design of beers from Space Hopper to Out of Office. I’ve now been Head Brewer at Pinter for over a year, managing the brewing development team and pushing the technical boundaries of Pinter beer.
Getting to create Roadie Remixed has been a really surreal experience as it's a beer I’ve been drinking and enjoying since I’ve been interested in beer.
Can you tell us a little about your band and how you got into music?
Music has always been a massive part of my life. I’ve listened to an album or two almost every day since I was 13 and played both Piano and Guitar when I was younger. However, I never really played live.
When I went to university, I started to get involved in London’s post-punk and alternative music scene at venues like The Windmill, The Shacklewell Arms and The Victoria. We formed flirting. in 2016 and have been playing gigs ever since. I play guitar and provide backing vocals.
My band flirting. even played a gig at Signature’s Haggerston venue!
What is your favourite song to perform with the band?
My favourites are probably currently unreleased but our closing song has been the same for a while and it's a banger - it’s called Bitter.
Do you find any similarities between brewing beer and making music? If so, what are they?
They both tend to involve lugging around a lot of heavy equipment (apart from if you have a Pinter of course!). I suppose also there's a creativity in recipe design that is similar to songwriting in the sense that you want your point of view on that style or subject matter to come across.
Can you walk us through your role at Pinter and what has been your favourite beer to create, and why?
As Head Brewer, I oversee fresh press quality, recipe design and the technical brewing science behind Pinter brewing. When designing recipes I’m not massively interested in brewing beers that I just want to drink and I am instead driven by what other people want. I think my favourite beers to create were ones that our community love such as Space Hopper and Out of Office because they showed me what people looked for in those styles.
How do you stay innovative and come up with new beer ideas?
Part of this is trying to stay on top of current trends within the craft beer industry. Identifying what beers are popular as well as new techniques etc. We tend to read a lot about emerging brewing science in academic journals as well as more cultural beer magazines.
I tend to get a lot of my inspiration about beer in general from an online beer, food and wine magazine called Pellicle. The craft beer community is also quite collaborative and helpful so we talk to the thriving community we have at Uplands Business Park. You can often catch me chatting with the guys at Exhale Brewing or Pretty Decent Brewing Co.
Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you're excited about in either your music or brewing career?
I think if you like collaborations and new beers that push the boundaries of what’s possible in the Pinter, then this year will be for you. We’re working on some of the most exciting projects in my whole career. I can’t say too much just yet, but stay tuned.
Pinter’s connection to Signature goes even deeper than sharing a postcode and a passion for great beer and music. Fancy trying the Signature Brew X Pinter beer? Shop Roadie Remixed, All Night IPA below.