My Week: John Bexon, head brewer, Greene King Brewing and Brands

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Monday, December 3

The week kicks off with a check on a number of ongoing brew trials of new beers for 2013. Looking good...

It is usually a Bury Abbey Rotary Club on a Monday night at the Brewery Tap but there wasn’t one this week, so I travelled to Tring to host a Meet the Head Brewer night at one of our Greene King local pubs. I met with a local brewer I know and a good crew from the local Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) branch. There was some great banter! The chance to pass on my knowledge about what makes great cask beer to other passionate ale fans is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job.

Tuesday, December 4

I met two hop merchants at the brewery to sample some hops from this year’s crop. It’s a sticky task as every sample has to be rubbed to release the aromatic oils for nosing. It’s also exciting to see what hops are available for any new beers we may brew in the future. Quality is key, so it’s vital for 

me as Head Brewer to rigorously assess the samples on offer and make sure we only get the best ingredients.

Wednesday, December 5

The 2012 barley crop is starting to be malted now, which will have an impact on next year’s beer and with the wet summer potentially affecting the barley, I need to be happy our malsters, Boortmalt, have done a good job. I didn’t have to travel far as they are based next door to the Sugar Beet Factory in Bury St Edmunds!

Thursday, December 6

Thursday always kicks off with ‘Trueness to Type’ quality tasting. Our independent panel of Greene King employees taste test our beers to ensure they taste as they should. Beer quality is so important to us and we have over 40 independent tasters in our business. I then travelled to London for the British Guild of Beer Writers Annual Awards dinner. Greene King hosted a table of writers from all over the country, so it’s great to get together and thank those people who do so much to promote everything that is great about good quality beer.

Friday, December 7

The working week ends with a guided tour around the brewery for some of our visiting American customers who have met with our sales team. The fact that we can take them through more than 200 years brewing history gets an enthusiastic response, as does the trip to the Brewery Tap for a few of our cask ales afterwards!