Beer O'CLock with
360 Degree Brewing Company
Today, I finally managed to catch up with two of the three amigos who are the force behind 360 Degrees Brewing Company based in North Chailey
Mark and John have been friends since school and only 5 years ago (over a pint or two with some friends) had the idea to set up their own brewery.
John and Mark started things off on a part-time basis, but now John is full-time along with a couple of other part-timers, and Steve joined the team as a full-time brewing member of staff in 2015.
In their first three years, they won a Gold for their Pale #39 at the SIBA Regionals for London and the South East and a bronze for their bottled West Coast #50 the following year. In 2016 their Session IPA (formerly known as Project Gemini) won the Silver awards in can form.
This April, following our rebranding, we won the SIBA’s coveted national Concept Design Award. The recognition keeps coming, having now won in cask, keg, can and "design" categories they are pretty chuffed that their approach seems to be working.
How did you come up with the name 360°?
We are located right next to the Greenwich Meridian in North Chailey, which means we are at zero degrees longitude or 360° longitude.
There are lots of micro-breweries around so what makes yours different?
When we were researching what a craft beer is, the thing that stood out to us was that it was about community, which is why we set up our members club. We meet quite regularly and get to taste lots of lovely beer, eat some good food, and talk beer!
Where do you get your hops from?
That depends on what we are brewing and how strong we want it. Most are from the UK but we go as far afield as New Zealand to get the really strong flavours.
Have you experimented with any unusual flavours?
We have just produced a small batch using Orange…
Can you tell us a really unusual fact about beer?
In the 16th Century it was safer to drink beer rather than water in London, this is not our recommendation for today, by the way. Different times and all that.
How many beers do you sell at any one time, and is your beer seasonal?
We sell around 6 different beers at any one time.
What’s your most popular beer?
Probably the Pale. It’s Light, Hoppy, Golden – like nectar on the tongue.
If there were a beer that you could brew with no regards to cost or production or sales, what would it be and why?
Oh that’s a question for Steve (but he’s not here), so I may change this but I think he would say a Porter aged in a whisky barrel.
What does IBU mean – it sounds like a rare condition!
It stands for International Bitterness Unit – which is a scale used to gauge the Bitterness of Beer. But it gets quite complicated because malts can hide the bitterness of beer.
Should ale be served with a ‘Head’ and does the head serve a purpose?
This is a very personal thing and it does depend on the beer. Some benefit from a bigger head but for some the flavours and aroma benefit from a smaller head. Then it also comes down to where you are drinking the beer…
Have you had any brewing disasters?
Nope! (Interviewer- I think that was a touch-wood answer!)
What is the best food you would recommend to go with ale?
Cheese. Umm , Yes Cheese is very good with beer
What’s the worst beer you have ever had?
Let’s just say cheap lager. Cannot name a brand for obvious reasons but …
If someone had a great idea for a new beer would you be prepared to try making it?
Yes definitely – if we think we could make it work. That’s part of what the members club is about.
If you were marooned on a desert Island what would be the one beer you would want to have with you?
That’s hard, but probably our Session IPA.
John kindly gave Sullivan (photographer) and myself a few samples to take away –
I particularly love the IPA Golden ale. I can, hand on heart, say they really are very very tasty – and tomorrow we will sample the others!