Matters of Taste – More Than Just beer

 It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention but one suspects that innovation is at the heart of the Two Tribes brewery, regardless of the impact of COVID. Like a lot of breweries, Two Tribes has been pushing out cans (they are fortunate to have their own canning line) and this has meant that the brewery has continued to brew throughout the lockdowns and they have been keeping busy. Head brewer, Christoffer Tuominen, said, “We have our own online shop and don’t charge for delivery within a three mile radius. We also use a third party for distribution around Britain, which means if an order is placed by 3pm, it will arrive the next day. Beer Hawk also takes our beer and we featured in the ‘Beer Hawk Aisle’ in Sainsbury’s.”

It is not just the usual cans on offer however. Two Tribes has also been selling beer in branded twisted cans for draught beer (these are two American pints in size). Chris explained, “We have been supplying these to a number of outlets who want to offer beer alongside their food orders.”

All this activity has led to brewing increasing from once to an average of three times of week, depending on the brews. Fortunately, this expansion in production was easily taken in their stride because in 2019 they had taken the decision to move their tap room out of the brewery to create space for eight new fermenters, bringing the total number to twelve.

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This doesn’t mean the brewery hasn’t been affected by COVID; their plan was to open their new tap room last year but this has been delayed and they now hope to open it in the spring. Chris explained, “It’s mostly done, we just need the heating. It’s right next door and we are also putting in two shipping containers in the yard outside. We are even looking at having a roof terrace on top of one of the containers. We want to broaden our offering and provide a ‘camp fire’ with a fire pit and invite chefs to do pop-ups; for example, we have been talking to ‘From the Ashes’ for BBQs.” Broadening the offer goes beyond the food; Chris continued, “We will be having the music students back again but we are looking to do much more. We have teamed up with Peter Herbert, who is a well known Ibiza DJ to provide background music and we hope to host album launches.” Their creativity has also extended to keeping in contact with their customers, despite them not being able to physically visit Two Tribes. They have set up a monthly club linking music, food and beer. The subscriber gets two beers one core, one special), a seven inch vinyl with original mixes, a bottle of one of their hot sauces, a recipe card and a gift. The January pack was all about foraging and included a book on mushroom picking and a chilli mushroom ketchup!

The core beer range still includes Metroland Session IPA (3.8% ABV), Dream Factory Pale Ale (4.4% ABV) and Power Plant, a gluten free lager at 4.5% ABV. “We are brewing modern beer with a focus on lagers”, said Chris as he explained about his single hopped lager range. However, Two Tribes have been branching out further: “We have been doing some speciality kettle sours, changing the fruits with each batch and the ‘Metroland World Tour’ series. These have been inspired by major cities e.g. London, New York, Tokyo and Rio.” Two Tribes have also been named as the house beer for the NoMad Hotel in Covent Garden. Chris added, “We are flattered as their house beer in their New York Hotel is from Brooklyn Brewery. Our beer is a Margarita kettle sour lager, which will be available at their bar and in the mini bars. They are looking to use it for beer cocktails”.

It looks like Two Tribes will be able to weather the pandemic no matter how long it goes on and, to give the last word to Chris, “Two Tribes – more than just beer” and with their creativity and wider thinking, that seems to be a very true statement.

Stop press: Two Tribes have confirmed that the Campfire open air tap room and barbecue will open on Saturday 17 April 2021 at the Tileyard in Kings Cross. Go to www.twotribes.co.uk/campfire-venue for reservations.

Christine Cryne