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By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on 10/11/17
Stu and Sam are the Yeastie Boys, originally both from New Zealand. I first meet them a few years ago when they came to brew their Gunnamatta beer - an Earl Grey IPA - for JD Wetherspoon outlets.
We really enjoyed having them here, and we’ve been looking to get them back to brew with us again ever since. As Stu had moved to the UK and Sam was in France, it turned out to be pretty easy.
The idea for the beer came from a tweet from the legendary maltster, Peter Simpson, about the upcoming availability of some white chocolate malted barley.
I don’t remember whether I’d had a drink, but I’d expressed interest in such a malt, only Peter to inform me it was obviously a joke. Chocolate malt is made by roasting malt, which then also colours the malt and so a white chocolate malt was impossible... or maybe it wasn’t.
So, the idea for the beer was to brew a white chocolate stout.
I should point out a few things: Stout as a term for a beer style didn’t originally mean a dark beer, it simply meant a stronger version of a beer style, so Stout Porter was a stronger version of a porter.
There were other beer styles with the prefix ‘Stout’ but Stout Porter became common enough that the ‘Porter ‘ was left out and ‘Stout’ became the shorthand. The two World Wars eventually led to the distinction between Porter and Stout being more or less non-existent.
The second point is that the first point is largely irrelevant, we did want the name to sound like a darker beer but actually look like a pale beer that tasted like a dark beer, hence the name ‘White Lies’.
We've added cocoa nibs and cocoa shells to try and achieve this without adding any colour.
Stu and Sam came down to visit us - a few delayed flights and non-existent taxis meant they were running late, so we’d meet in the morning. I then had a message at 2am to say that they were walking, as the last message I had was they could get a taxi from Ipswich I had images of them walking the 30 miles along the A12 to the Anchor in Walberswick where they were staying. There is something about Stu and Sam that didn’t immediately make this sound as improbable as it should have. They hadn’t though, they had just walked out of train station at Ipswich to grab a taxi nearby.
The next morning, just as I was heading off to pick them up, I saw two pairs of brightly-coloured trousers walking down Victoria Street to the brewery. Southwold may be full of colourful characters but no one wears them quite like Sam and Stu.
The brew day itself was pretty easy and was followed by a few beers in Southwold, a walk back across the fields to The Harbour Inn, another beer and a walk to The Anchor in Walberswick, a fantastic meal and a few more beers.
If you get a chance to try The Yeastie Boys beers you definitely should. Gunnamatta being a particular favourite of mine and was the inspiration behind our Jack Brand Earl Grey Lager.