Andy Leman Five Minutes with Faram

Andy Leman - Five Minutes with Faram

It’s time to catch up with Head Brewer Andy Leman from Timothy Taylor’s Brewery 

We’re back for another Five Minutes with Faram! This week join Maddie as she chats with head brewer Andy Leman from the brilliant Timothy Taylor’s brewery. Andy shares his passion for brewing, the story behind the iconic Landlord pale ale, and what other beers he loves to enjoy. But that is not all, he also shares his best tips and tricks for producing high-quality beer time and time again!

Watch the full chat below!

Or listen on our podcast - Spreading Hoppiness

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Need more detail about the episode? Check out the transcript below!

I’m joined here today at Timothy Taylor’s with Andy Leman, and this will be our Five Minutes with Faram segment. Okay, so can we just start with what is your favourite hop? Andy,

Andy Leman 
oh, my favourite hop, I would say, is Fuggles. We also use Whitbread Goldings varieties and Goldingd. But for me, Fuggles is such a unique hop. You know, it’s a heritage variety which has been growing since the late 1800s and for us, it does blend perfectly with the Goldings varieties, and it gives a nice fruity, spicy character to the beer and minty edge to the beer as well, just complements the citrusy side from the Goldings.

So have you been using it as long as you can remember? Then,

Andy Leman 37:17
oh yes, here forever.


Andy Leman 
I don’t think they’ve ever not used Fuggles Here. It’s

Classic, isn’t it?

Andy Leman 37:24

Maddie 37:25
So you can be biased, but what is your favourite beer?

Andy Leman 37:30
Well, of our stable, I would say Landlord, because Landlord is our classic pale ale.

Maddie 37:36
And how did Landlord come about?

Andy Leman 37:39
Well, that’s right. So first brewed in 1953 and the guys who brewed it had Philip Taylor and probably a brewer called Grinrod was around then, and Alan Hay, they actually had a lot of foresight, because they brewed what was quite a pale beer for the time, and a very hoppy beer for the time. In fact, when Michael Jackson came around the brewery, the beer writer, not the song singer, he he was asked in his article afterwards, he said, people often ask me to describe Landlord, and I’ll describe it as liquid hops, you wouldn’t say these days, because there’s so many more hoppy beers on the market, but back then, Landlord was really the hoppiest widely available beer,

Maddie 38:30
Very cool. So if you weren’t going for one of your core ranges, what would you pick for a favourite beer?

Andy Leman 38:37
I think favorite beer to drink a cask ale would definitely be Harvey’s Sussex, Bitter, beautiful blend of traditional English hops again and malts, real subtleties and complexities of flavours, similar in a way, like Landlord does, but tasting very different,

Maddie 39:02
Brilliant, cool. So do you have a favourite food and beer pairing?

Andy Leman 39:09
Mostly, I tried to drink beer without having food, but I think Landlord goes particularly well with like a steak pie or something like that. Traditionally, traditionally fair for me. But we also have a beer called Hopicalstorm, which is our keg keg ale. And that goes because of the hops. We use. The aromatic hops goes particularly well with Asian food. So Thai food, or even Chinese.

Maddie 39:40
I do love Thai food yeah, because then I just want to talk to you about hopacal Storm. So that’s your first ever keg, isn’t it that you that you’ve done and you saying earlier, 2019 and it came around 2020, didn’t it? So, like, what’s the story behind that?

Andy Leman 39:56
Well, the story behind it is, we, I. A long think about doing keg beer for many years, but the fact the cask ale market has been in decline for a long, long time, probably more than 50 years. And although we’ve grown our business in that time, and our volume of cask ale gone up a lot, you do worry for the future, you know, sometimes. And so it was a point that the modern style of keg beers are much more, very different from the old keg beers that came out in the 70s, which were very bland versions of traditional beers. And they’re now exciting, vibrant flavours. So we just want thought there’s a new generation of people growing up drinking these styles of beer. You know, we should be able to offer something like that as well.

Maddie 40:49
Yeah, that next generation, isn’t it? Yeah. So do you have a favourite beer destination? Do you get to have a get a chance?

Andy Leman 40:58
Well, as far as places, locations, I suppose, Bruges, where I went for my 50th birthday, fantastic place. And obviously the wide range of beers you can get there, I wasn’t a fan of sour beers at all, but having been there and tasted the different types, yeah, I like, I do like them now. But particularly I like the Dubbels and the strong Belgian ales. I think they’re fantastic. So for me, that was as far as a destination. I think the best, best place, oh,

Maddie 41:37
wow, yeah, definitely like to visit there. I think Do you have a favourite pub in the world is, do you have a local or,

Andy Leman 41:44
yeah? I mean, we’ve got so many of our own pubs that are great. And to pick one out, I think I would say the Boltmakers Arms in Keighley, which is a very traditional pub, and it has no food on, but our full range of beers, and it’s a tiny little pub,

Maddie 42:06
see, that’s quite rare these days, isn’t it? To not Yeah, because that was a thing like 10 years ago, there’d be most pubs, you know?

Andy Leman 42:15
Yeah, yeah, very true. It’s a lovely little pub. We also have, perhaps flagship in Skipton Woolley Sheep, which is always a busy pub, fantastic old building, again, with a full range of beers, and there’s several I could go on and outside of our own estates, my favorite pub is pub called The Bell at Aldworth, which is in Oxfordshire.

Maddie 42:46
Oh, nice, I think I might have been there. You know,

it’s won it’s one pub of the year for about three occasions. I think, beautiful been in the same family for 170 years. I think,

wow, wow. That’s impressive. Yeah, so obviously, we are in a lab right now, in your lab. So do you have an item in the brewery you couldn’t live without? Or is there an essential item in the lab that you find really valuable

Andy Leman 43:15
well, you know, sad, isn’t it today? Because probably the most essential piece of equipment is my computer, my laptop, I know. But beyond that, which is just an essential tool, isn’t it? These days, I was thinking about it, and I think perhaps a dipstick. So the wooden dipsticks were used to dip our vessels to gage how much beer is in the vessel. Yeah, without them, we’ve lost.

Maddie 43:39
Is that an old, traditional tool that

Andy Leman 43:41
has been used, yeah, yes, yeah. It’s the way vessels will basically, you gage your fermenting vessels, yeah, partly for your own use benefit, but partly because the customers and excise wanted to know how much beer you got in your vessels. And the easy way to do that was, as long as your vessels are regular shape is to use a wooden dipstick and measure the inches or centimeters, as we do now, to the level of the beer. And then you have a table which tells you what volume that is, much as you do for an oil tank or something, but without that being lost. So the only way you can do that is to automate it with radar and things like that, or load cells, but sometimes they’re inaccurate. You know, the wooden gage in rod cannot be wrong.

Maddie 44:31
Yeah. Do you have a favourite song or album or music that you like to play in a brew day or

Andy Leman 44:40
Well, we don’t, because we don’t have music. We’re not allowed to bring any radios or anything in equipment in and we don’t have a piped music system. If I was choosing music to brew with, it would probably be dependent on the beer. Otherwise brewing, I suppose so. I was brewing Hopicalstorm. Uh, maybe I’d use some punk rock, because when I grew up, Punk was a big thing. So

Maddie 45:05
Do you have a specific artists,

Andy Leman 45:08
well, the Clash all the Sex Pistols, probably one of their tracks, because, you know when that’s going you can’t fail to get up and, yeah, enjoy yourself and crack on with brewing

Maddie 45:18
The day.

Andy Leman 45:19
Yeah, I suppose if we were doing a more old fashioned beer, perhaps like Poulters Porter, our award winning dark beer. I think perhaps then I might listen to small Tyrannosaurus Rex, who were like a folky hippie predecessor to T Rex, who were the glam rock band in the 70s.

Maddie 45:38
I have to give them a listen on my way home. So if you weren’t in brewing, what do you think you’d be doing?

Andy Leman 45:45
Not entirely sure. If I had enough money, I would have probably set up my own vineyard in England, because I’ve always been interested in wine as well as beer or my own brewery. But I think vineyard growing vines. I have a vine in my garden, a Chardonnay vine, which grows every year, even in Yorkshire, yeah, ripens about once every four years. But

Maddie 46:10
do you do anything with it? Yes, I’ve

Andy Leman 46:13
made some along with some grapes that we stole from a champagne vineyard. I’ve made some champagne and incorporated by Chardonnay in there. So

Maddie 46:22
you actually went to champagne. Then we were on holiday in Champagne. It

Andy Leman 46:25
was post harvest, actually, so the grapes weren’t of a use to anybody, but we picked a load off.

Maddie 46:32
Oh, gorgeous. That’s bucket list that is

Andy Leman 46:34
Brought them back and made it. Yeah, fantastic. Wow,

Maddie 46:37
Amazing, do you have a big inspiration in brewing, like someone you look up to or look to for advice,

Andy Leman 46:44
or I think through my career, when I came to Timothy Taylor’s, I was fresh out of university. I’d done at Heriot Watts University. I’d done some work at Brakesspurs brewery in Henley, at the original brewery before that was closed down to get some kind of practical experience, but it wasn’t really so I came to Timothy Taylor’s in 1987 that I started learning about making beer properly. Yeah, the guy who was my influence was Peter Eells, so he was the previous head brewer to me. So I worked with them for nearly 30 years, and he really showed me everything about practical brewing that I needed for the rest of my career.

Maddie 47:28
Amazing. And I assume, did you do you study brewing at Heriot Watts?

Andy Leman 47:31
Yes, I did brewing at Heriot Watt. Yes. So we’ve got four brewers here. They’ve all been to Heriot Watt Universities

Maddie 47:32
as a theme. How did you know that that’s what you wanted to do?

Andy Leman 47:43
Well, it was more a question of, I ended up doing brewing. I started off doing home brewing, as I suppose most people who get in brewing do, and it went down quite well. The story behind that was that my dad, we lived in the village and back then? No, no. This is down south. I grew up near Newbury in Berkshire. Oh, nice, but in a village called Cheveley, but back then, so this was like the late 70s, early 80s. It was fairly acceptable for people who are underage to go into a pub and be allowed to drink alcohol as wasn’t causing a nuisance. So that’s what being mates all did. But my dad didn’t really like that too much, because he liked to go in there for a drink himself, and got bit fed up of seeing us all in there, so he tried to get the licensee to ban us who he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t be fair to him. He said, No, no, they behave themselves. They sit around the corner. They don’t upset. They’re polite when they come up to the bar. So he’s tried a different tack. And he said to me, right, instead of you and your mates going down the pub to drink beer there, I’ll show you how to brew beer, because he made wines country vines, and then they can you, your friends can come here and drink your beer here safely and legally. Wow. But it backfired, you see, because what happened was we still went down the pub, and then when the pub shut, everybody came back to my place. So then we kept them away, kept my dad awake. Then, yes, that’s

Maddie 49:18
That’s a nice story. So have you ever been to any beer festivals? Oh,

Andy Leman 49:23
yeah, yeah. Hundreds, probably, yeah.

Maddie 49:26
You like, you like going, Yeah,

Andy Leman 49:29
I do. It’s funny, because it used to be the only way you could taste new beers. But now, of course, you don’t have to go far to be able to try probably, a beer you’ve never had before in just in normal pubs, you know? But,

Maddie 49:44

Andy Leman 49:44
I do. I like the atmosphere. And we have a local beer festival here, but we have two, actually, very fortunate these days. We have one in Bradford at Saltair, they run their Beer Fest, which is cracking cracking one, and our local one is the Keighley and Craven branch have a beer festival in Skipton, and that’s brilliant fun. And that’s that’s really nice because a lot of locals go on the Thursday, especially Thursday evening, so you see people publicans from pubs. It’s just great place, and they always do a good choice of beer as well. Great.

Maddie 50:22
So do you have a hobby outside of brewing that you get a chance to do now? Or do you say that is sort of your wine and champagne?

Andy Leman 50:30
It’s not completely alcohol. No, we myself, my wife, we do a lot of walking,

Maddie 50:39
Nice walks around here?

Andy Leman 50:40
Yeah, some lovely, some great walks around here. Got the Pennines, and most especially, got the Dales, the Yorkshire Dales. So do walking there quite a lot. We’ve just been up to the northeast to Northumbria. We’ve walked on the beach this weekend, believe it or not, in the sunshine. So yeah, we like, that’s what we like doing.

Maddie 50:59
Yeah, I do like a nice walk, and then you end up at a nice pub.

Andy Leman 51:03

Maddie 51:03
At the end of it,

Andy Leman 51:04
Gosh, yesterday we ended up a lovely pub. It was only yesterday, in a place called The Ship, and it was right on the edge of the water the sea looking at over there, lovely old fashioned Pub has its own brewery.

Maddie 51:24
How far are you from the sea here?

Andy Leman 51:26
We’re quite a long way. Closest is to head west here. So you’d be, you’d be hitting sort of Blackpool as an hour and a bit a quarter.

Maddie 51:36
Yeah, nice. So what’s the last beer that you brewed?

Andy Leman 51:41
Last bit I brewed, well, Landlord. Unsurprisingly, we brew Landlord. Most days, we brew Monday to Thursday, and we do two mashes a day. So out of the in a typical week, out of those eight mashes, six or seven will be Landlords, 80% of our production.

Maddie 52:04
Yeah, wow, great. How much of production is your Hopicalstorm,

Andy Leman 52:09
Hopicalstorm is only very small at the moment, being a new brand and launching a keg beer. Is, we found it more challenging than our cask, which we’re known for, we have a reputation for, and it’s a slightly different products on the bar, and it’s much more competitive, perhaps, than we’ve been used to on the cask side,

Maddie 52:37
Takes time doesn’t it?

Andy Leman 52:39
It’s growing. Every month it grows.

Maddie 52:41
That’s amazing

Andy Leman 52:41
So we can’t really complain.

Maddie 52:43
Yeah. And then my next question was going to be Fuggles or Golding, but you’ve pretty much done that right yourself. So Fuggles, obviously. So then final question, what is next for you in the industry?

Andy Leman 52:56
Next for me or for the brewery?

Maddie 52:58

Andy Leman 52:58
Oh right? Okay, well, I mean, next for the company is really just to consolidate our consolidate in, not in cutting brands, but consolidate the brands we have keep them going, possibly supplement with another brand. But it’s not really our thing to do many new brands, you know, I hear with horror. You know, these people who do a different brew every week they’ve never done before, because we just can’t do that because of our our facilities and structure of our production plant. But it’s, it’s nice to brew new beers, but really it’s consolidating our existing brands. And, you know, finding new markets for some of those beers.

For me, not particularly. No. We’ve got massive, massive five year plan of projects coming on, which my second Brewer, Nick and senior Brewer Tom are very involved in and that’s to really modernise some of the brewing brewing plants without changing the way we brew, and to give us some extra capacity for storing, conditioning beer. And that’s happened the work starting on that we’ve had all the permissions from the board, and we just need to, there’s a lot of prep work to do to get there, but that’s our big thing for the future now.

Tom Probert 54:33
That’s exciting.

Andy Leman 54:35
Yeah, we’re very fortunate, because the family’s always invested money in the business. And, you know, this is 9 million pounds, and it’s a lot of money for us, but, you know, over the years, there’s been more than that spent over the last 20 years you know.

Maddie 54:52
Is that what they’re going to be investing into this five year plan? Yeah,

Andy Leman 54:55
wow, that’s amazing. Yeah. So it’s a relatively small brewery.

Maddie 55:01
I mean, facilities are very impressive, yeah.

Andy Leman 55:05
Well, it’s done a lot, but, you know, you must never stop. And that’s the mistake other family brewers have made in the past, but they haven’t invested in in the place. And then they get to the point where they say, well, we must do, we need to do. We must do this, to upgrade it. And they find out it’s so much money that they can’t afford to do it, and they end up selling up the brewery, you know. But you know, for us, yeah, we’ve we’ve developed the plant, we’ve made the place, you know. We’ve refurbished places that were needed upgrading. And so it’s, yeah, we’ve been lucky.

Maddie 55:44
Yeah, it obviously you’re a very experienced Brewer. If you could give some words of wisdom or advice to a small starter, or, you know, small brewery, what would it be?

Andy Leman 55:56
There’s probably two things. The big mantra here is quality. And I mean that both in the modern day meaning of the word, which is making sure things are consistent and stay the same and people don’t deviate from recipes and mistakes aren’t made, but also in the traditional meaning of the word, which is really using the best quality materials you can get to brew beer that really excites the customer and maintains that love. You know, people have a deep love of Timothy Taylor’s beers, and that’s, that’s what we’re here for, really to do that, and whether it’s our Golden Promise malt or whether it’s the fantastic hops that you supply us, then you know that’s what it’s all about. So I would say so quality. Once you’ve got your beer to the flavour you want, then it consistency and maintaining that and keeping the quality standards high and cleanliness is, of course, involved in that,

Maddie 57:06
yeah, yeah, definitely. Well, I think that brings me to the end of my questions. But thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

Andy Leman 57:13
Not at all

Maddie 57:14
Yeah, a really interesting chat.

Andy Leman 57:15
So good. That’s been very pleasant. Thank you very much. Nice to Nice to see you. Nice to be able to show you around the brewery

Maddie 57:20
Yeah, amazing. I find it really interesting. Great.