Here at Mediablaze, we’re proud of everything we create inside the office, but when we do get some spare time, we create some pretty great (and tasty) stuff outside of it, too.
We’re eager to learn new things that will help us better serve our clients and we enjoy popping open a cold one while doing so. Every Friday, we have a ‘Drink & Learn’, where someone in the office presents on a topic of their choice, while we all enjoy a beer. Luckily for us, we have two Mediablazers that provide us with a delicious drink to enjoy during our Friday tradition. The product? Rudebrew. A beer with an edge created by Mediablaze’s lead designer Ed King and lead developer Chris Till.
So how does one come up with the idea to start a brewing company? I sat down with Ed and Chris to find out how Rudebrew came to be:
“What do you do ‘out of office?’”
Ed: “So I guess the story of it is a nice place to start. Chris and I were at a networking event over in Berlin and we were trying to think of something fun to make outside of work. It led to beer and we thought ‘now what could we do with that?'”
“How did you get set up?”
Ed: “We had no idea how to make beer, we just knew we needed a space to do it and some equipment. So we spent a long time looking for a space, but space in London is very expensive, even horrible places like old garages. We struggled to find somewhere for a long time and eventually we came across a brewery that lets you rent space. So we went down there and they gave us a demo. Since then, we’ve basically just been improving it and improving it until we got to something we liked.”
With no experience making beer but a space to brew it in, Ed and Chris turned to tutorials on beer-related websites and mirrored the steps. They wrote down everything they’d done and gave each brew a version number to perfect the recipe without duplicating results. They explained that although brewing the beer had its setbacks – like it coming out too strong [which doesn’t sound like much of a setback to us] – there was a step-by-step process to making it.
“Ok, so how do I make beer?”
Ed: “The first thing you do is you clean everything. You get good at cleaning if you’re good at making beer. So you need water, you need some hops, some grains, and some yeast. Depending on your combination, you can make lots of different types.
You get good at cleaning if you’re good at making beer
Essentially you get the grains before the oats are all flattened and rolled out, you mix them together and then cover them in hot water. That basically releases all the sugar from the grains.
Then you get rid of the grains, and you have the sugary mass that’s come off the grains, and that’s where all the flavouring is as well. You add some hops, you cook it down, you add some water to bring it up to the right volume, put some yeast on top, and leave it for two weeks. The yeast eats all the sugar and turns it into alcohol. You stick that in a bottle, add a tiny bit more sugar, and put a cap on. That little bit of extra sugar really awakens the yeast, makes a tiny bit more alcohol, but releases carbon dioxide. Because the cap’s on, the carbon dioxide stays in the beer and makes it fizzy.”
“And how do I make the same beer twice?”
Ed: That’s the dark art. Consistency is very difficult. Once you have the base ingredients down, then you have weights of those. Then your main problem is getting the right amount of sugar out of the initial sort of mass. If you have too much sugar, you’ll get more alcohol so the beer goes up in strength.
Chris: There’s a lot of temperature readings and measuring twice going on. It’s a bit of an art as well as a science to get the ABV at the level you want. Over time we’ve learned how to do this with what is know as ‘Liquor back’. This is essentially brewing a concentrate and then adding treated water to essentially water it down until you reach your intended original gravity reading.
“How did you think of the name for your beer?”
Ed to Chris: One of the names was Agile wasn’t it? Because when we brew a beer, we test it and iterate on it, so we’d test it and change some things and then do a new version. That ties into this kind of work in the digital world. It’s an agile process, where you can do something very quickly, see it works, or even abandon it all, and try something else to make it better. So it was potentially Agile Brew. Another name was Big Trouble Brew Co. – then you can say ‘I’ll take two pints of Trouble, please’. We could do a brew called ‘Double Trouble’ which is like an extra strong type of beer. So Hack Brew, Soul Brew, Stereo Brew, Probably Brew, and then Rudebrew – You Can only Swear Once, You Have to Swear Once – are the two rules.
“How would you describe your beer?”
Ed: In order to get licensing we had to show a full business plan to HMRC. It really forces you to think about what it is you’re making and why. So let’s make something that tastes interesting and isn’t afraid to be edgy and a bit bold. We care about what we made. Because what everyone else makes is boring. If they can do it, we can do it.
We care about what we made. Because what everyone else makes is boring
What’s the next step for Rudebrew? With licensing complete, Rudebrew will be on the market in the next couple of weeks. Chris and Ed said they plan to sell their brew in independent pubs across London as well as online sales. As for the present, Rudebrew will continue to be a part of our Friday afternoon ‘Drink & Learn’ tradition.
We’re always brewing up new ideas, so if you want to discuss anything from alcohol fermentation to conjuring up interesting content, give us a shout at [email protected]