Blog : Collaborations

Our new beer collaboration celebrates an ageing Brixton landmark

Our new beer collaboration celebrates an ageing Brixton landmark

It’s one of Brixton’s many hidden corners with a story to tell, yet people stream past it everyday without even noticing. But look up through the trees near the railway bridge at Coldharbour Lane, with the Barrier Block estate looming behind you, on the side of Carlton Mansions, and you’ll discover a fading piece of Brixton’s incarnation as a hotspot of murals and political street art.

Photo: London Mural Preservation Society

Nuclear Dawn, the mural, and the namesake of our newest beer, a botanical sour, was finished in 1981 by the artist Brian Barnes. The evocative image of a giant skeleton draped in US and USSR flags gleefully dropping bombs over London is damaged by time and obscured by graffiti. The London Mural Preservation Society says, “It represents our history of a shared experience and a reminder that war is not something we want. Sometimes when we don’t have a voice and we can’t shout loud enough, the murals speak for us.” The message Nuclear Dawn conveys feels uncomfortably current these turbulent days.

We’ve always been fascinated by this skeletal spectre of death and destruction, as a piece of art, and as a reminder of Brixton’s long and strong activist streak. When we were thinking of Brixton based inspiration for our latest brew, it came to mind. We got in touch with Brian Barnes, and it’s a huge honour that he was happy for us to use the graphics in our label design. He painted it, with help from the residents of Carlton Mansions, including Dale McCrea, who came up with the idea as part of efforts to re-build following the Brixton riots.

 

Cam & Bates beer geekin

Sometimes things come together on so many levels that they seem almost pre-ordained. This feels like one of those times. We’ve long wanted to do a collaboration with Bates and Miranda, the family behind Duration Brewing. We actually first met Bates about a year before the brewery was born at a beer event, realised we both lived in Brixton, and kept in touch. Then when we were picking up our operations in the early days, we asked Bates to help us out. His extensive brewing knowledge and passion for beer was just what we needed to scale up and keep putting out consistently great beers. That wasn’t forgotten and we knew we wanted to work together again.

Bates ended up in Brixton via South Carolina, but Miranda moved here as a child, and is a true local girl. Her uncle was active in the street art scene of the 70s and 80s, and has an extensive slide archive of Brixton’s murals, which Brian Barnes’ assistant was trying to locate for a research project on Brixton murals of the 70s and 80s. Miranda put them in touch. Connections within connections…

Peeling mangoes…

Nuclear Dawn Botanical Sour is packed full of tropical fruits and botanicals from Brixton Market and is much anticipated as our first ever kettle sour, a beer style that uses lactobacillus bacteria to produce a characteristic tangy flavour.

For Bates and Miranda, Nuclear Dawn’s flavours are tinged with bitter and sweet; this brew marks their farewell to Brixton as they get ready to leave for Norfolk, and their new farmhouse brewery. They’re giving up the life of urban gypsy brewers to set up in an ancient priory site on Abbey Farm, West Norfolk. Follow their founding story and read about their range of pre-release beers, including Nuclear Dawn at www.durationbeer.com and across social media @durationbeer.

Brixton Brewery x Duration Brewing Nuclear Dawn launches Saturday 28 October from 12pm til 8pm at Brixton Brewery, Arch 547, Brixton Station Road, London SW9-8PF. There will be art, artists, music and brewers. Join us! 

New brew launch: Brixi Saison offers modern take on traditional worker’s brew

New brew launch: Brixi Saison offers modern take on traditional worker’s brew

We’ve collaborated with renowned Belgian brewery Brasserie de la Senne to create Brixi Saison, a modern classic saison-style beer. In a further celebration of all that is so exciting about Brixton and beer these days, the striking label design uses the Connect Brixton print designed by EleyKishimoto as part of Brixton Design Week 2015.

We first heard about Brasserie de la Senne through the hopvine as it were – it was recommended by friends as brewery as dedicated to flavour, quality ingredients and a local ethos as we are. We love their dedication to making truly distinguished and deliciously well-balanced beers. So we were pretty pleased when they agreed to work with us on a special collaboration of Belgium-meets-Brixton beer. Master Brewer Yvan came to London from Brussels to work with us on our limited run saison. Saison is a French-Belgian style farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the winter to refresh seasonal summer workers, saisonnière, from whom the beer takes its name.

We learned loads from our crash course in brewing Belgian style and we’re proud of the result. We wanted to add a new twist on this classic beer style so we’ve used New World Galaxy and Vic Secret hops along with European Noble hops. The result is a beer that is dry, fruity and refreshing, with the slight spiciness characteristic of a saison. As with all of our beers, Brixi is bottle conditioned and un-fined (making it vegan-friendly).

A message on a bottle

We always like to add a bit of local history to your pint. Brixi Saison is named for the Saxon lord Brixi from whom Brixton takes its name. Brixton is derived from Brixtane, meaning stone of Brixi, referring to the boundary stone once placed here.

When fashion meets fermentation

At Brixton Brewery we’re well-known for our colourful and distinctive branding, based on exuberant African batik fabrics. International design company EleyKishimoto is also known for its fantastically eclectic patterns and has long been based in Brixton. So it was particularly cool to be able to use one of its motifs for the Brixi label. The pattern, Connect Brixton, was designed specially for Brixton Design Week 2015. As well as being on our labels, Connect can be seen painted on the pavement of the Brixton Design Trail street gallery on Ferndale Road and outside the Brixton tube station. The designers say, “the intertwined grid like pattern represents the spirit of Brixton in more than a single layer.” We say: it looks fantastic and is the perfect visual match for our beer!

Join us for the launch of Brixi Saison – 17 October, 12 til 8pm, Arch 157, Brixton Station Road, London, SW9 8PF 

Naming our beers, Part 3: A taste of Mexico made in Brixton

Naming our beers, Part 3: A taste of Mexico made in Brixton

V2-lupolo

This is the third in a series about the real-life inspiration for our beers, most of which are named for places around Brixton. Read Parts 1 & 2 here and here.

We were still pretty young as a brewery when the brilliant people of Wahaca/DF Mexico approached us about doing a special beer for them. The Lupulo was a bit of a departure for us, but it was one we were only too happy to make. Who wouldn’t want a chance to brew up a little taste of Mexico-in-a-bottle? The Wahaca team is known for being really supportive of their suppliers, and seeking out the best local flavours and colours wherever they can. It’s been a great relationship for us and challenged us to make the best beer possible to go with the bold, spicy flavours of Mexican food.

We chose Lupulo for the name because it means ‘hop’ in Spanish and we’ve concocted a feisty, hoppy brew that’s strong enough to stand up to the boldest of cuisines. If you can’t get on a plane and get to the real thing, you can head down to Wahaca Brixton or DF Mexico and at least have a taste. Salute!

Here’s Jez and the team , looking particularly good in soft focus, talking about the Lupulo, the brewery, and about our collaboration in this awesome video made by Wahaca.

They’ve got some other great videos in the series as well, looking at some of the other local craftspeople that contributed skills to Wahaca’s particularly striking Brixton restaurant. This one describes artist Jo Gibb giving chairs a new and beautiful lease on life, and in this one, the local spray paint artists who took on the job of making a landmark Brixton building even more distinctive explain their vision.