As you probably aware, at The Misty Bottle, we aim to stock breweries and beers that are not commonly found. This week we began stocking Simple Things Fermentations, a relatively new brewery based in the Southside of Glasgow.
I caught up with Phil Sisson, the founder of Simple Things to chat all things beer and how he started.
Good Morning Phil, thanks for taking the time to speak to me. First of all how did you get into brewing?
Like many other brewers, I began my brewery career in my own house. I was living down in London in a small house with a young family, so as you can imagine, I didn't have a lot of space. However, this was a real hobby of mine, and whenever time permitted I would make beer. I worked in the music industry down in London for a number of years, but was interested in moving back to Scotland. Obviously realising I needed a job, I did my masters in brewing at Herriot-Watt and subsequently began working at Harviestoun Brewery for a couple of years. I really enjoyed my time there and it was the experience I really needed to branch out on my own.
In terms of craft beer, which beers have been led to your discovery and enjoyment?
Like you, I'm a massive fan of cask beer. A few examples of beers that really got me into really enjoying beer were Jaipur from Thornbridge, Landlord from Timothy Taylor's, Summer Lightning from Hopback Brewery and Bitter & Twisted from Harviestoun. The latter was part of the reason I wanted to work for them. Their use of Slovenian hops amongst others made them a pioneer at the time in terms of brewing practices. Nowadays, craft beer enthusiasts are very knowledgeable. This produces a challenge, which I relish in producing beers that are not so familiar.
Tell me about your brewery's set up, your ideals and your practices!
When starting Simple Things Fermentations I needed to find a space that was going to work for me. Luckily Gumtree provided such a place, in the Southside of Glasgow, close to where I live. Although small, it is a perfect space to produce beer. In February this year, I realised I needed an extra pair of hands. I got in contact with a former colleague at Harviestoun (Ewan Cockburn) and together we share the responsibilities of brewing, deliveries, sales and everything else in between. In terms of our philosophy we aim to create beer that is different from the current trends. We are currently working on having a core range, but up until now we have made lots of different beers. We have seasonal beers, big idea beers (limited runs of interesting and unusual beers) and we are working on a stage of wild beers, made with wild yeast for something completely different. For example in the winter time, I'll go out and forage for botanicals I can use in our beers. One such thing I look for is Spruce tips used for a Scottish Export.
Wow! There is a lot going on with you and I have to say it sounds really exciting! We managed to get four of your beers in at the moment, can you tell me about them please?
Golden Ale 3.8% A clear golden colour with a nice white head, Malty on the nose first which gives way to a citrus, particularly grapefruit aroma. A soft mouthfeel, with a balanced bitter taste, that results in a crisp, dry and moreish finish.
Table Beer 3% Although this is light in strength and colour it's a beer with big ideas. Citrus on the nose and a slight spice on the palate, it has a moderate dryness with a refreshing finish.
Pale Ale 6% A modern take on a classic here. A malty and fruity aroma, turns into a beer with a soft mouthfeel due to the notoriously soft water of Loch Katrine. with very little bitterness. Three different European hops are used here in combination with a warm fermentation, gives an amalgamation of citrus fruit, passion fruit and gooseberry. The sweetness of the malt is very evident.
Wheat Wine 9% Like a traditional barley wine, but fruitier. A richly textured sipping beer with expressive fruity and hoppy notes. Slight orange colour on the pour, with a little haze. Notes of banana, toffee, sherry and dried fruit. Delicious!
What are the ambitions for Simple Things?
Well currently as previously mentioned we are looking at getting a core range which can be readily available. Furthermore, we are currently looking at purchasing a canning machine. This will create some problems in terms of the beers being bottle conditioned. Luckily, we have a few friends in the industry that have helped us with this challenge. We've had our beer on draught, in the form of cask in a couple of pubs in Glasgow, which has been fantastic exposure for us. I guess every brewer's dream is to have their own taproom. Currently that's not possible in our current location but hopefully if we keep going the way we are with our experimental style, we will attract regular custom and this can be a possibility in the future.
Take a look at the beers here.