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A fond farewell to Belinda...

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Crane at Adnams Brewery, August 2015It's been a long while since I wrote anything on here, that seems like the first thing I write whenever I start one of these. So what, you might ask, has awoken this slumbering metaphorical bear back to the woods (in this scenario I am the bear, the blog is the woods and my writing is... ah, yes, I haven't thought this out. Never mind). The main reason for the blog I will leave to the end, but first some parish notices. Any recent visitors to the brewery will have noticed a bit of activity to the rear of the Swan Hotel and the side of the brewery. We are in the process of building a new room to join on to the distillery. This will give us space to add two more pot stills. There is also some work starting that will increase our brewing capacity and capabilities, this bit won't be completed until 2017 but it's all exciting, grey hair-inducing stuff. On the beer front we've launched a couple of new beers since we last 'spoke'. We launched a beer with a new UK hop variety, which Belinda wrote about here. We also made a single hop beer with Jester for M&S. We followed that up with two more beers for M&S, a traditional Suffolk Ale made with Fuggles and Goldings and a Sorachi Saison made with a U.S. hop called Sorachi and a spicy Saison yeast. We've got a few new beers due out later this year plus our Sole Bay celebratory beer is making a comeback with a new look, having spent the past 7 months maturing in tank. Prop Hop has also just been released for the Rugby world cup. It's linked up with a great charity and again a beer with a new English hop variety, this time one called Endeavour, which seemed particularly apt. From the Irish side of things I'm just hoping its not an entirely a fruitless endeavour. We are also in the throes of taking deliveries of wild and garden hops for this years Wild Hop brew. I was overwhelmed by the reaction last year and we are planning on making it an annual event, on a par with say Christmas but with better presents at the end. Keep your eyes peeled and if you fancy taking part just have a read here. Dan Gooderham, one of our brewers, found out this week that he has passed the second of his Master Brewer exams. This is a particularly challenging set of exams that requires brewers to show great scientific understanding of the brewing process but also have practical experience of how to apply it. Dan has three more to do but he is well on his way to being a Master Brewer. Belinda's leaving lunchFinally, on to the main purpose of the blog. Belinda, our Production and Quality Manager, is leaving us to take up a Head Brewer role at another brewery. It's an open secret where she is going but I'll leave the official announcement to her and her new employers when she makes the move. Suffice to say it's a great job for her and we will wish her the very best. This was Belinda's tenth year at Adnams, she joined as Quality Manager about a year after I did, and in very similar circumstances. Mike, the previous Head Brewer, interviewed three candidates and had narrowed it down to two. Mike was undecided but both Robert Porter and I immediately favoured Belinda, she was much more engaging and energetic, she had a sense of humour and she loved beer. She has used all these qualities to in her time here and we've loved working with her through the many good times and the few bad ones. Her passion for beer meant that she didn’t stay in the lab for too long and she moved away from being solely Quality Manager to take on a lot of the running of the production side of things at the brewery as well as developing recipes on the pilot plant, several of which went on to become permanent beers. Belinda's tastes in beer have changed over the years - she's moved through the malty beers of Bury St Edmunds to American hopped pales and IPAs and now on to the fabled great White IPAs of Norwich which she pursues relentlessly. During her time here Belinda passed the Master Brewer exams. It takes a lot of commitment to study for these exams, especially when you get out of the habit of doing exams, but she stuck with it and she has the engraved pewter tankard to prove it. I think Adnams has been good for Belinda and I know Belinda has been good for Adnams. Belinda, its been a pleasure to work alongside you for the past 10 years and I look forward to seeing what you do next.


Fergus Fitzgerald