Q&A with Charles from Burnt Mill Brewery

Burnt Mill are one of new favourite breweries - they've just started canning and we want you guys to know all about them! We had a chat with Charles O'Reilly about founding the brewery and what their plans are for the future.

 
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When did you have your beer epiphany?
I don't think I can single out one event, it was more of a gradual shift in taste. From Red Stripe to Adnams and then that led into Sierra Nevada and then I just searched out loads of world beers. After a while I found out about Kernel and then spent a lot of Saturday afternoons there. Spending time there and at Brew By Numbers sort of convinced me to work in the industry. 

What was the first beer you brewed and what was it like? 
It was a Citra DIPA which was meant to be an extract version of The Kernel Double Citra. I remember it turning out much better than we expected, but we didn't use a hydrometer so we had no idea what strength it was! After a couple of extract batches I started doing brew in a bag and those were pretty varied!

What excites you about making beer?
A week in the brewery is a mix of science, engineering, physical and sensory work so being able to do that variety of things in one job is really satisfying. Obviously hearing people order our beer is always cool, because you know everything that went into making that batch and what you're going to change the next time.
 
 

 
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You've got great artwork on your cans - what were your influences?
That could be a long list, there's a lot of breweries whose artwork is great. But most of all I like design that is reflective of the brewery and it's character. It's been very cool to work with Josh [Smith] over the last year, he's taken our original ideas and gone way beyond our expectations. 

What drew you to Suffolk for a brewery location?
The space we have and the ability to brew with grains from the farm was a big part of it, we are next door to our maltsters (Muntons) also. So having that kind of expertise just over the road is great. Also being out here means we can have dogs so that was most likely the biggest reason! 

Are there any collaborations you are looking to do?
Yes, been a long time coming but we decided to wait until we'd got to know our kit and beers a bit better. We've now got a couple planned with friends but you'll have to wait a few weeks to find out. 

What is your favourite Burnt Mill beer?
I'll generally go for Green Path. (Ed: Phill agrees, Steph prefers Eastview)

What is your favourite non-Burnt Mill beer?
There's quite a few breweries whose beers I will buy on sight but I don't think I've a single favourite beer. That said I could probably live on Burning Sky Arise and 500ml bottles of Kernel Export India Porter. 

What would you be doing if you didn't start Burnt Mill?
I'd wanted to train as a carpenter around the same time that I started working in beer so either that or I'd be pretty happy working in production for another brewery. 
 

 
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The cans are currently available in our shop and we really recommend them.

If you want to meet Charles & head brewer Sophie and try some of their other beers then head to The Dukes Head Highgate on Thursday the 30th November from 6.30 pm for a Tap Take Over & Stare at the Brewer.