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Ten years an Adnams brewer...

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

[caption id="attachment_14674" align="alignleft" width="200"]Adnams Head Brewer Fergus Fitzgerald, May 2014 Fergus, May 2014[/caption] I was reminded that this May I have been at Adnams for 10 years, it doesn't seem possible but there it is. Those ten years have included the most significant moments in my life, I got married, had a son and my father died. Compared to a lot of the team here ten years only just about gets me out of the relegation places in the league table of time worked at Adnams. I'm basically Sunderland. Ten years here is only just long enough to get a decent covering of malt dust in my hair and a layer of hop resin in my nostrils. All the same I should probably write something to mark the occasion but I don't really want to write a summary about what we've done at Adnams over the past 10 years, I'll save that for my autobiography. We weren't blogging back then but I wonder what I would have written back in 2004... cue imagined flashback music... [caption id="attachment_14675" align="alignright" width="144"]Fergus at the brewery in 2009 Fergus in 2009[/caption] "Hi there,  just thought I'd introduce myself, I'm Fergus. I've just started at Adnams as Assistant Brewer. The guys in marketing have asked if we can try writing a regular feature for our brand new page on the World Wide Web to keep you up to date with what we are doing and I guess as new boy I drew the short straw. Not sure this sort of thing will catch on but we'll see how it goes. So as I said I've just started here. I moved up from London where I was working at Fullers Brewery. I've been there for about 7 years working in various areas, starting in the lab, moving into packaging and finally in the brew house. I had a great time at Fullers but decided about a year ago to start looking outside of London for a brewing job. Julie, my fiancé, and I originally started looking to move towards Julie's family in Liverpool. I'd sent my CV off to various breweries in the North West, including Cains (they haven't come back to me yet) but then the job came up at Adnams. Now, Julie will tell you I'm not great with directions but even I'm aware that Southwold is further away from Liverpool than London, but the chance to work at Adnams on the beautiful Suffolk Coast was too good to turn down. We'd been to Southwold on holiday about two years ago, some friends of Julie's moved to Norwich so we came to visit them and spent a day in Southwold. We loved the town, it has a unique charm and the beer wasn't bad either. So I applied and got an interview and obviously got the job. Mike, the Head Brewer, told me afterwards that he gave me the job in spite of my interview and not because of it! I met most of the brewing team a month or so back as they invited me to Christmas drinks. They seem like a good bunch although the accents might take a while to get used to, mine and theirs. Julie and I used to work at the Great British Beer Festival every year with Fullers and we always paid a visit to the Adnams stand so we are already familiar with most of the beers, Julie's favourite is Regatta,  I think I prefer Broadside. I like the Southwold Bitter but it's much hoppier than I'm used to so it may take me a few weeks to acclimatise my palate. [caption id="attachment_14676" align="alignleft" width="159"]Mike Powell-Evans, now retired but was Adnams Head Brewer Mike Powell-Evans, now retired but was Adnams Head Brewer[/caption] My job is Assistant Brewer, which I've been told will now be referred to as Ass Brewer. The job is essentially to help out Mike in managing the brewery and maintain the quality of the beers. There is a lot of work going on at the moment to install some new fermenting vessels and long-term Mike is working on upgrading the whole brew house, so it should be an interesting few years. The current brew house is over 100 years old and the strain of all those brews has taken its toll, so the job for now is to gently encourage the brew house over the finish line before the big scrap merchant in the sky comes calling, failing that we've also got a few big hammers which are also good at encouraging. Mike is working on the recipe for a seasonal beer called Explorer, using American hops, all our other beers use English hops. Sounds interesting, we'd just started dry-hopping one of the Fullers beers in tank rather than in cask and we're looking at that for this beer, hopefully in the next few years we'll try one or two more recipes too. That's probably it for now, I've got to go and help one of the engineers look for a long weight."


Fergus Fitzgerald