Meet the Brewer
Meet the Master Brewer
Mickey’s passion for brewing knows no bounds - he has brewed hundreds of beers, covering lager, pilsner, sours and everything in between. Keep reading to find out more.
Question: When did you start thinking about a career in brewing?
Answer: It was while I was a student at Leeds University; I started home-brewing while I was there, and spent a year working at Leeds Brewery, which was a fantastic starting point as I gained a huge amount of knowledge.
Q: Sounds great! What was the next step?
A: After graduating I moved to London and spent 7 months experimenting with a variety of beers and brewing techniques, before starting to study with the World Brewing Academy in 2016, which was 3 months spent between Chicago and Munich.
This was definitely a highlight as it provided extensive training in brewing techniques and sensory analysis. After graduating, myself and members of the course spent a week traveling around Germany and Belgium visiting different breweries… of course we sampled their beers too! I then secured a brewer position with O’Hara’s Beers, and during this time I also gave brewing lectures in Carlow Institute of Technology.
Q: Can you remember the first beer you ever brewed? What was it like?
A: It was a stout, home-brewed with some friends in England. It turned out to be a great starting point, as the big malt flavours disguised any mistakes we made! We made a lot of this beer in the early days, which really allowed us to understand the brewing process and it’s mechanics.
Q: Out of all the Urban Brews, do you have a favourite?
A: I couldn’t possibly pick one! There’s been so many different styles and flavours, though I do have a few highlights. Our Oak Aged Sour - funky, lightly sour and dry - had a great complexity of flavour with mixed fermentation.
One of our beers this year was a Mimosa style Brut IPA - we had good fun with this one. It’s a fairly new sub-style of IPA, bone dry and all about the hops! We used Azacca and Idaho 7 for tropical fruit, pine and orange flavour, and we added organic Seville orange peel to intensify the hop aroma and flavour.
I could go on, but the last highlight of mine would be the Szechuan Stout. This was a big rich stout, with great flavours of chocolate, charred oak, and vanilla, and rather than being spicy as it’s name would suggest, it was softly herbaceous on the palate.
Q: Are there any flavours or styles that you had great plans for, but they didn’t quite work out?
A: Watermelon and cucumber were ingredients we wanted to incorporate but they are both difficult to gain flavour from, due to the high water content. As we always avoid extracts and artificial flavourings, this gives us lots of creative and processing challenges. Luckily for us, the kitchen team are a great help with this!
Q: Do you have a favourite style of beer in general?
A: There is a time and a place for (almost) everything! Ones that stand out are a clean, seemingly perfected Munich Helles, such as Augustiner, or a Lambic beer such as a Geuze Mariage Parfait. Of course, where you are drinking them is important too!
Q: Can you give us any insight into the upcoming Urban Brews?
A: We’re looking at brewing with more gruits; using herbs and spices such as yarrow and borage as alternatives to hops. There’s an interesting trend at the moment of ‘pastry stouts’, so we are currently working on a beer to tie in with this, and of course we will be brewing some classic Bavarian style beers for Oktoberfest.
We’re always looking for ideas and love getting inspiration from lots of different places.