A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit Devilfish Brewery, since I first came across their beers I have been very impressed and so it was a treat to meet the people that make them and see where the beer is born.
Very hoppy American beers are more and more present in the UK bottled beer market and increasingly they are being produced by British breweries, Devilfish take this one step further and base all of their beers on highly hopped recipes using large quantities of US and New World hops in their brewing.
Devilfish is a micro-brewery and is sited in a farm building in the countryside near bath, the plant is a 4.5 barrel plant at present but talking to Andy Jones he would like it to increase as demand allows maybe even up to 20 barrels. At present demand outstrips production and so as to not compromise on quality Devilfish brew only two days a week, making sure that each brew is as well crafted as the last and ensuring that each pint of Devilfish is up to the high standard which has been set.
Sadly this does mean that it can be a challenge to find a Devilfish, but the beers are often present at beer festivals, pubs in the local area will have them on as guest beers and if not the brewery does sell direct in poly barrels (I bought one for last Christmas and New Years celebrations).
Andy feels that in general brewing in the UK is positive with each brewer taking their own direction bringing variety to the beers available. But that the “almost criminal” level of duty on breweries and beer is making it a much more difficult environment to work in.
In the case of Devilfish the direction is to brew high quality American and New World style beers and certainly not to scrimp on the hops added. This does put Devilfish in contention with some of the US brewers beers and personally I think they do quite well, especially as they avoid the very high ABV which the US brewers seem to insist on.
I asked Andy why he felt that US style beers were doing so well in the UK? He felt that people were discovering them in America and because of the association of poor beer with America they are surprised when they come across such good beer. Then they are bringing them back, or seeking them out over here and in the process introducing their friends to them.
This coupled with the adventurous nature of American brewing has lead to the way American beers have spread so rapidly in the UK.
Devilfish is highly branded, the “Devil Fish” logo is uniform across the beers with alteration dependant on the beer name and style. Andy feels that this gives the beer a real identity, something which people will associate with the Devilfish taste and know what to expect.
The name Devilfish was chosen as it “sounds slightly American” but also from the TB303 “Devilfish” modification – for those classic electronic music fans out there.
So for those who have not tried a Devilfish, here are their beers
Devilfish would like to produce an even greater range of beers (capacity allowing) with a wheat beer next on the wish list, I would expect an interesting hop filled take on the classic wheat beer – I will keep you posted with a review as soon as I get a chance to taste it.
If you would like to try a Devilfish then there is a list of the pubs which serve them on their website or you can contact them direct to order some beer.
Thanks to Andy and the team for taking the time to show us their brewery and for brewing a fantastic range of beers.