Calling All Homebrewers – Time For the Next Step?

One of our favourite things about opening wib nearly a year ago, has been discovering how many incredible homebrewers there are out there.

Whether it’s sampling bottles at our monthly homebrew club, trying bottles you’ve dropped in for us or just hearing about your amazing, adventurous recipes while you’re picking up some ingredients in the shop, you’ve confirmed something we’ve long suspected: that bedroom brewers are producing beers of the same quality as professional brewers…but as they’re doing it on a much smaller scale they’re able to experiment a lot more and produce ridiculous, brilliant one-off brews that most commercial breweries would never contemplate trying.

And that got us thinking – what if we could help bridge the gap between the homebrewer and the professional brewer, what if we could give a helping hand to the homebrewer thinking of taking the next step or who just wanted to see their beer served to the public and get feedback through Untappd or social media?

We reckon it can be done. We’re thinking about getting a kegerator at wib, which can serve from three 19 litre kegs at the same time – 19 litres usually being the perfect size for homebrewers, especially those using the Braumeister, Grainfather or Ace all-in-one systems. This should allow us to have an ever-changing list of interesting, exclusive beers that will showcase what people are doing in their own home/garage/shed/bedroom. Hopefully it could also provide a stepping stone to those thinking of jumping in and setting up their own dedicated brewing space away from their home.

Obviously everything would have to be fully legit, and luckily the brilliant Carbon Smith has done most of the research for us in their excellent blog How to Start Your Own Fully Licensed Bedroom Brewery – go check it out and then come back here when you’re done and a little more excited!

For further reading on this you can read Andy Parker’s (from the excellent Elusive Brewing) blog about setting up a new brewery – although on a bigger scale as we propose for our brewers, Andy’s thoroughness will definitely help with your planning and understanding of what you need to do. The blog’s in three parts, you can read part one here, part two here and part three here.

We have a few members of our homebrew club interested and a few other homebrew customers have expressed an interest in being involved but we’d still like to hear from any other homebrewers who might be interested in being involved. You can get in touch via tim@waterintobeer.co.uk.

Cheers!

Album Review & Beer Pairing #2: Bear Trade – Silent Unspeakable and Wiper & True’s Citrus Bay DIPA

When we’ve been playing Bear Trade’s second album in the shop we’ve had customers saying it reminds them of Leatherface, and though the similarities and influences are there – Greg’s gruff mackem vocals, the driving guitar parts, the sing-a-long choruses, Bear Trade are definitely a band that deserve to spoken of in their own right and on their own terms.

Silent Unspeakable could well be Bear Trade’s masterpiece, as with it’s predecessor Blood and Sand, it only takes a few listens to get the harmonies stuck into your head and once they’re there you’ll be singing along and punching the air with joy. It’s a more refined, thoughtful record which builds on both the bands punk rock heart and pop sensibilities. It’s also a more grown up record, as Greg makes plain in the brilliant Family Planning “I hate it when you say ‘someday when we get old’…because darlin’, I’m already there.” There’s pure sing-a-long bangers like Inglorious and opener Sea Legs and more thoughtful and thought provoking songs like the aforementioned Family Planning and Endeavour Would Be An Understatement, plus plenty of moments to make you smile like the brilliantly named As Long As We Have Tea (“We can conquer mountains as long as we have tea, as long as I have you and me”) and the sing-a-long of “Six One For Lloyd” at the end of Room With A View, presumably tagged onto the end of the song when the bands bassist Lloyd’s football team Bromley somehow managed to win a game 6-1. And then there’s the last song on the album, the acoustic Transgressions In The Toyshop, a total change in pace from previous Bear Trade songs and it’s a brilliantly heart breaking song which contemplates the result of the ridiculous Brexit vote (“I really think life will get harder, living so close to a border/…And the worst part? We asked for this/ all aboard the world, a ship with no sails and no anchor.”)

Silent Unspeakable is a superb punk rock record, do yourselves a favour and pick a copy up.

Pairing: Like Bear Trade, Wiper & True are pretty fuss free and possibly a little under rated. They released Citrus Bay, a 9.5% Double IPA brewed with coriander seed, bay leaves and citrus zest earlier this year to little fanfare but it’s a bloody brilliant beer, my favourite DIPA of the year so far, to be paired with my favourite album of the year so far. It’s sweet, chewy, refreshing and bitter. A surprisingly complex beer to go along side a surprisingly complex album. Cheers, Tim.

Bear Trade play an afternoon show with Iron Chic at the Montague Arms this Sunday (11th June), you should definitely go. We’re only a fifteen minute walk away so it’s a perfect opportunity to indulge in the pairing on the day! You can join the event and buy tickets here.

You can buy Silent Unspeakable from Everything Sucks Records here.
You can listen to the album here.
You can buy Citrus Bay DIPA by coming into wib.

I sent some questions to Greg and Lloyd from Bear Trade before we opened the shop. The plan was to put it together with other interviews as part of a mini zine to celebrate waterintobeer opening, unfortunately this didn’t materialise due to not getting other interviews back and having to actually open the shop, so below is that original interview from August 2016 for your enjoyment.

Introduce yourselves, brief history of the band, etc. 

Well we are punk band called Bear Trade. We’ve been around for a little over 4 years now, actually I think This December will be the 5 year anniversary of our first practice. We had all been in other bands and met playing gigs and touring, but we’ve never lived near each other and we are all a bit older now, so don’t have much time to spend playing music. The band was formed on the premise that it would be fun, sporadic and we’d only work with friends or people that shared the same values. We’ve never had aspirations other than enjoying a few beers and playing daft punk rock. I think we’ve been very fortunate that other people enjoyed what we do, but honestly if nobody gave a fuck we would still be doing exactly the same thing.

You’ve helped put on gigs at the Alphabet Brewing Company in Manchester. How did that come about? How’ve they gone? Any future gigs planned there?

I (Lloyd) knew the brewer Tom from his time at Hand Drawn Monkey in Huddersfield through Kev (who does Cats? Aye!). Kev did a couple of small acoustic gigs at their place in town and when Tom moved across to Manchester and a bigger open space our collective minds came to the conclusion that putting on bands there would be a fine idea.
The two we’ve done both sold out…I think the space and the fact it is a different and interesting environment helped. For the first we had to get a Temporary Entertainment Notice at short notice, and we also turned the brewery into as safe an environment as we could, creating areas for bands/acoustic acts, seating, eating and drinking. Also had to hire in portaloos and we did the door ourselves as well as made a beer. So pretty much as hands on DIY as you can get. Part of the TEN meant we had to leave the big shutters open for fire regs, and the gig coincided with the coldest day of winter…it was snowing when I was doing the door at one stage. But everyone embraced the uniqueness of the event and it was a great time.
Then we lined Iron Chic up. It sold out within two and a half hours which was nuts. Again we did it all ourselves but in the interim Tom had some more permanent toilets built at the brewery. Again, it was a spectacular time, one which hopefully lives in people’s memories. 
It is pretty full on though, especially for Tom. The brewery is his livelihood and having a full place can be quite stressful…the toilets leaked for example and that is all extra things which he has to deal with. So right now we’re taking a breather and soon no doubt planning somehing else. Kev now works at Magic Rock in Huddersfield so expect to see events there too.

Lloyd, as part of the gigs at Alphabet Brewing Company you helped brew a beer for the occasion, how did that go? Do you homebrew yourself?

We did a beer at Hand Drawn Monkey called Shadwell IPA for a RVIVR gig two or three years ago which ended up being at Bar Santiago in Leeds. It sold out in three hours because we basically smashed loads of hops into it. The beers we’ve done for the gigs have been great fun and well received…some have gone on to sell to the open pub trade which is fun. Tom pretty much facilitates it all…Kev and I lob in some ideas and Tom tries to make that madness a reality…he has all the brewing skills, Kev and I just ‘help’ out for the day; usually drinking his other beers in the brewery and trying to put more hops in.
After the first gig and beer (Nang Tani – a banana salted caramel chocolate porter), we let people give us a steer on what the next beer would be. So the results of those feedback forms were the basis for This Means Nothing To Me which was released at the Iron Chic gig. We also had a 20l keg of a special Nang Tani which had been in a Jim Beam cask for 8 months with raisins and vanilla pods. I think that was the end of me.

Favourite beers/ breweries?

World’s toughest question! Apart from ABC (of course) I am always on the lookout for Brodies from East London. Also, from the UK, north east brewer Almasty do great beers. Wild from Somerset and Mad Hatter from Liverpool are always good for pushing the boundaries, and the sours from Chorlton in Manchester are interesting. Cloudwater’s IPAs are excellent too. If you ever see Dutch brewery Het Uiltje beers from Haarlem treat yourself.
I am fortunate in that I enjoy beers however they are dispensed (keg/gravity/hand pull/bottle/can) and pretty much every style so i’m only limited by what is available, and will happily try one of everything (or as close as I can!) when such a selection permits. I love Pivni in York, The Free Trade Inn in Newcastle and The Grove in Huddersfield particularly as they allow me to indulge accordingly…

 
Greg, you’re about to/ have just stepped into Dickie Hammonds (RIP) shoes, so to speak, how does it feel playing songs/ guitar parts written by one of the legends of UK punk? 

 
Yeah, BIG shoes to fill! Well it was an honour to be asked to play.  Hammond was so influential and he’s been behind some of the best music to come out of UK punk rock in the last 25+ years, not just with Leatherface/HDQ but Doctor Bison and Stokoe had some phenomenal records as well. He was also a friend, it was always quite hard seeing him in the last few years. I think it took a lot out of him making the Medictation album and it ended up being the last thing he did, so I felt a big responsibility to do the songs justice.  It was a bit of an odd one flying 5000 miles to have your first band practice, but thankfully we clicked straightaway. It felt more like we had been a band for years rather than days. I did find it a bit weird being on stage and having everyone speak French in between songs, but I suppose there is only one way to fix that! 
 
I believe you’re currently working on a new album, how’s it going? when do you hope this will be released?

Hopefully next year!  Its pretty much written and we are just trying to figure out some recording dates for Autumn.  It feels like we have a lot more ballads on the new record, but don’t worry the subject matter is characteristically cheery; mostly old age and death. We have a small window of opportunity to record before my wife and I are expecting our first child! We had hoped to record this time last year but our drummer, Peter was expecting his first kid.  I suppose that’s the problem being in a dad rock band, empathise on the DAD and not the rock hahaha. 

Favourite beers/ breweries?
Arran Dark, Founders All day IPA and anything SOUR
 
What’s next for Bear Trade?
More babies.

Disclaimer: Beer people can sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously. You can take this as serious as you like but we imagine if you’ve spent anytime in the shop you’ll know that’s not the case at wib but we DO take good beer and good music seriously so if we review and pair anything on this blog you can be sure we think it’s bloody great.

Note: If you want to send a record for us to play in the shop/ maybe get a review, please do. We’ll play anything in the shop which isn’t racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. or shit. And if we love it, we’ll write a review and pairing.

Album Review & Beer Pairing #1: Great Cynics – Posi & ABC’s Hoi Polloi

Great Cynics are an indie punk band from London and they could’ve just released their best album yet. Fourth album Posi, written and released during a period of adjustment for the band with bassist, vocalist and sometimes song writer Iona Cairns leaving the band to focus on her excellent band Shit Present. There may have been a worry that this could derail Great Cynics in some way, but that definitely isn’t the case – the new album sounds more concentrated, more focused and somehow even more anthemic than previous albums.

Songs such as ‘Happiness, London’, ‘Easily Done’ and ‘Butterfly Net’ are classic Great Cynics – sing-a-long songs conveyed through clever song writing about finding happiness and positivity (the album title is perfect for a Great Cynics album) in every day life, even when everything seems desperate and fucked. ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ sees the band taking a slightly different direction – it builds slowly into a slightly distorted and frenzied attack on tabloid newspapers and the hatred and division they promote. It’s great to hear Giles Bidder using his obvious talent to write a straight up political song.

The release of the album a couple of days before the arrival of British Summer Time was perfect for a band, especially on this album, that carry a sound that feels like the start of something new and the hope of good times ahead. It’s a perfect accompaniment to drinking cans of beer in the sun.

Tyskie is mentioned a couple of times during the album (‘Summer At Home’, Butterfly Net’) but as that’s owned by Asahi Group Holdings we don’t stock it or encourage the drinking of it but we do think the perfect pairing for the album is definitely a lager. And that perfect pairing is Hoi Polloi, an easy drinking, crisp Czech Pilsner from Alphabet Brewing Company. Get a couple of cans in and listen to Posi in your favourite spot in the park/ garden/ wib.

You can buy Posi from Specialist Subject Records here.
You can listen to Posi here.
You can buy Hoi Polloi by coming to the shop.

Disclaimer: Beer people can sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously. You can take this as serious as you like but we imagine if you’ve spent anytime in the shop you’ll know that’s not the case at wib but we DO take good beer and good music seriously so if we review and pair anything on this blog you can be sure we think it’s bloody great.

Note: If you want to send a record for us to play in the shop/ maybe get a review, please do. We’ll play anything in the shop which isn’t racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. or shit. And if we love it, we’ll write a review and pairing.

Interview: Three Hills Brewing

If you’ve spent much time in our shop you’ve probably heard us banging on about Three Hills Brewing; we think they’re brilliant and the beers always fly out. If you were lucky enough to come to our Meet the Brewer/ Tasting event in January you also know Andrew has an interesting story to tell and knows his beer inside out. We decided to e-mail Andrew some questions to get a better idea of his background and his plans for the future. Crack open a Three Hills beer and enjoy.

Introduce yourself and your brewery; give a brief history, brewery size, etc.
 
Hiya! I’m Andrew Catherall an experienced homebrewer who moved into the pro-brewing realm in 2013 with dreams of opening my own brewery.  I am now the head-brewer/owner of Three Hills Brewing, a nano brewery with a focus on brewing experimental ales and lagers based out in the sticks in Northamptonshire.  I planned and built the 225l brewery in the first 8 months of 2016 with the first test brew being on my birthday (18th August) and the first batch sold in October.

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You brewed commercially in China for a number of years, can you tell us the story of how that came about? Who were you brewing for? What kind of beer were you brewing?
 
So it’s a bit of a wild story really.. Basically I was homebrewing a hell of a lot to the point where i had one room fully air-conditioned full of fermenters, a kegerator with 3-4 beers on tap and way too much beer to drink. As a result of the excess beer I had on my hands, I met a lot of folk who enjoyed craft beer and eventually some professional brewers tried my creations. Off the back of that, I was recommended for a job with a start up brewery called Fighting Tiger in central China. I accepted the job and left Shanghai, where I had been working for a software outsourcing company. Unfortunately, after sourcing all the brewing equipment and building a number of recipes (including a single hop Galaxy IPA, a double IPA named A bomb coming at 10% and a red date imperial brown), the brewery never opened and I was left jobless with a brewing void to fill. As luck had it, I met a German brewmaster,  Tobias Weber, on my last day in Wuhan and he kindly asked me to go and brew with him. After a couple of days learning about decoction mashing and how “there are no decent lagers left in the world” I was offered a job and I gladly took it. Shortly after arriving at the uber- Bavarian brauhaus, I took over brewing operations due to the German suffering an unfortunate injury. There I was brewing a dunkel, hells lager and Heffeweizen with the opportunity to brew my own recipe once a month on a 10bbl system.


 
Why did you decide to move back to England and set up your own brewery?
 
I basically wanted to get back to my home brewing roots and start really experimenting again. That plus the pollution and toxic business environment in China, meant that returning home England became a much more appealing option.

 
You’re currently brewing different versions of your beers including an ongoing single hop IPA series. Why did you decide to brew different beers each time rather than having a few stock beers? Has doing this resulted in any challenges? What do you think the plus points are?

I enjoy constantly experimenting and like to always try and improve. Brewing a new beer each time is a reflection of this. I currently have a core range of 4 styles; Heidrun: pale ale,  Sekhmet: Amber ale, Veda: Single Hop IPA and Anglian: Dark Ale. Under these “umbrella” styles the recipe changes from brew to brew. Aside from the core styles, I have a three part stout series (base, breakfast and Irish Coffee for Breakfast), Pharmikon DIPA series, and will be releasing a New World IPA series in the coming months. I also have plans for some saisons and sours to be released in the Summer.

There are just so many ingredients; malts, hops, yeast, adjuncts to play with, not mention ways to manipulate the water profile and brewing process, which makes the possibilities for brewing beer virtually endless. I’d like to explore these possibilities  as much as I can without compromising on quality, but there are many challenges created by taking an experimental approach. Really I’d like to have a new label designedfor each individual beer, but this would be far too expensive to do, which is why I opted to brew different versions of each beer style. This way I can still be creative, the drinker can still expect something new every time, but it’s also economically viable. A real issue is getting hold of the raw materials you want (hops especially!) and buying ingredients in relatively small quantities isn’t very cost-effective. There’s also a constant risk that you may miss the mark, or produce something you’re not personally happy with. Fortunately, I’ve not had to put anything down the drain yet, but I am totally prepared to if it doesn’t make the grade. For me, the stress of the unknown and the extra cost of the experimental approach is definitely worth it, as it makes brewing way more exciting and keeps me striving to improve.


 
There’s recently been discussion around cask beer (again) in the UK beer world, you brew exclusively for keg and bottle at the moment, what’s the reasoning behind this? Would you ever consider using cask?
 
My reasoning is two fold. Firstly, I’ve personally never casked, so I don’t really have the necessary experience to package my beers in that form. Second, I think that beer (and wort) should avoid oxygen as much as possible to retain quality and improve shelf life, therefore I don’t intend to make cask a mainstay of mine, but I’m not averse to a collaboration with a cask beer brewery, should they want to show me the ropes and school me on the techniques that makes some cask beer (if drunk fresh) great.

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Many of our customers have commented on your labels, can you tell us the story behind these and who designed these for you?
 
I develop concepts for each individual beer. It’s normally an idea or story, which I then give to the excellent designers I work with, who create something visually. They’re based in Bermondsey and are called Studio Creme. Those boys know how to design a label!


 
There are currently around 1,700 breweries in Britain. As a new brewery have you found it difficult to get your name (and beer) out there? What challenges have you faced? What advice would you give to a new brewery setting up? Do you think there’s still room for more breweries in the UK?
 
Every day there’s a challenge and my main advice would be don’t give up. Make sure you have enough working capital to survive the problems that inevitably occur. That, and brew beer you love. Expect the worst and try and appreciate it when something great happens.


 
What’s coming up next for Three Hills? What new beers are in the pipeline?
 
Big things! I plan to continue brewing beers I like, with new lines becoming progressively more experimental, and old lines being continually improved. In 2018, I hope to launch a brewery with 10x the capacity with a taproom (or 2 maybe!). 

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And further into the future, what are your hops for Three Hills!?
 
Hops or hopes?! (we meant hopes, but hops will do too – WIB) Hops I’d like to use some of your home grown ones and maybe a bit of the elusive Citra, Amarillo and Centennial. Hopes: I hope  to continue to be able to brew full flavoured beers that people enjoy. A big, new, shiny brewhouse is my main hope at the moment.

You can visit the Three Hills Brewing website here, like them on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here or look at some pictures of them on Instagram here

A Manifesto of Sorts/ a Ramble About Things I Love

waterintobeer logo

Welcome to waterintobeer.

I’m Tim and I own the shop. Hopefully you’ve already read the history of the name, this article will hopefully give some indication of why I wanted to open a beer shop and what I hope the shop will become.
I’ve listened to punk music since I was 13 or 14. I’m not talking about the commercialised, sloganeering punk that a megalomaniacal Scottish brewery have peddled amazingly successfully to the public, but DIY punk. Like Dillinger Four, like Iron Chic, like Bear Trade, like Martha, like Bangers, like a hundred other bands plugging away doing something that they love.

I mention this as the parallels between the DIY punk community and the brewery community seem blindingly obvious to me; people helping each other out, creating networks away from the mainstream, creating inspiring ‘products’ and just being generally ace. All because of a passion for something that they love; something that they believe in, something that means something. And although most DIY punk bands won’t be able to make a living from their passion, thankfully we’re seeing independent brewers throughout the country making a living doing something they love.
As with anything that starts away from the mainstream, big profit driven companies will always circle like vultures. The American punk scene saw this in the mid 90’s and the beer scene is seeing the same thing now. The pretty recent furore over Camden Town Brewery (and more before them) ‘selling out’ rang every bell of recognition in my head with what happened back then the punk scene. It saw the same arguments; the bands will be compromised, they’ll be made to do stuff they don’t want to do, they’ll become a commodity, they won’t belong to ‘us’ anymore, they won’t be one of ‘us’, they’d sold their soul to the corporate devil.

There is of course some truth to that and just as punk isn’t always ‘just’ punk, beer is definitely not always ‘just’ beer. At waterintobeer we’ll always support independent breweries to the hilt; they are the ones who share our values and share our belief that ‘community’ is something that can be created, and can thrive away from the mainstream. Just like record labels like Fat Wreck and for a brief period Lookout! (RIP), independent breweries are now showing that they can survive and prosper on their own without any corporate help at all. It is, and hopefully always will be possible to make a living (and in some cases, an absolute killing) doing something you absolutely love.

Saying that, just like I’m not going to stop listening to Dookie by Green Day (there are always gateway bands, just like there are gateway beers) because it was on a major label, or to The Clash for god’s sake, I’m not going to turn down the opportunity to stock a great batch of Worthington’s White Shield or Camden’s Gentleman’s Wit if I’ve got any space on the shelves.

Music and beer both share similarities on how they form part of our memories. I’ll always remember Green day as forming a major part of my early teenage years, it’s why I sometimes still listen to them today. The memories some songs evoke are often tearfully beautiful. I’ll always link Thornbridge’s Jaipur to drinking with my friends in Leeds. Every time I see it on the bar I buy it, not just because of its taste, but because of those memories. Beer, like music will always form a major part of memories for me; the triggers they hit are on the things that make them amazing. I fall in love with bands and songs all the time, just like I fall in love with beers all the time. Both are always helping to create new memories.

It’s not worth getting into the real ale versus craft beer debate here, it’s as boring as people who think they listen to a better style of punk music, saying someone else’s taste in punk music isn’t actually ‘punk’ at all. It’s beer, it’s music. If the beer is good then we’ll stock it; bottle conditioned, traditional, new, whatever. If it tastes good, it will be on our shelves.

That brings me onto the homebrew section of our shop. Just like DIY punk (the moniker kind of gives it away) is all about doing everything yourself, so is homebrewing. A lot of professional brewers started out as homebrewers, just as ‘professional’ punk bands started out with three chords. Homebrewing is where it all starts so we’ll be stocking as many ingredients and equipment as we can stuff into the various receptacles and onto the shelves in the shop. We know that space can be a problem for people living in London, especially when it comes to conditioning beer, to that effect we’ll be giving over part of our storage area to homebrewers who need a stable, dark area to condition their brew.

To begin with waterintobeer won’t be selling any beer on tap (this may change in the future, dependent on customers’ requests, etc.), there’s not really any reason for this apart from that we think you should probably go to the pub; they’re more likely to have better facilities to properly keep and serve you a great draught beer. And (most) pubs are brilliant, you know. We should use them before we lose them. Saying that, it would be lovely if you stayed for a bottle in the shop with us. We look forward to seeing you for a beer, a chat and to listen to some music. Time to create some new memories.

A Brief History of waterintobeer

You may have thought that one day we decided to open a beer shop and then had to come up with a name so sat down, had a brain storming session, someone wrote down the term ‘brewing process’ on a whiteboard along with all other manner of crap and we somehow managed to come to the conclusion that naming our shop waterintobeer was a good idea. Jesus may have been able to turn water into wine, but anyone can turn water into beer (with a little bit of knowledge, the right equipment and the other main ingredients, of course). In reality I imagine you didn’t think that, I imagine you didn’t wonder about the name at all. How the hell you could imagine us owning a whiteboard is beyond me too. Either way you’d be wrong, waterintobeer has history (almost fifteen years of it) and this is a brief-ish article about that because everything needs to start somewhere…
Back in the summer of 2002 whilst sitting drinking beer in Roundhay Park, Leeds, my good friend Luke announced that he wanted to start a DIY punk fanzine, knowing that I had produced some pretty shoddy zines when I was about sixteen he asked if I’d be interested in helping him out. I agreed and the rest of the night was spent discussing who to get involved, who we’d interview and most importantly what the fanzine was going to be called. Somewhere between the seventh and eighth can (I imagine) we came up with waterintobeer. Not for much more reason than that we thought it sounded good, and we liked beer. A lot. I’d like to think the opening of this shop is a culmination of all the years spent in the company of good beer and better friends and it all started that evening when we came up with that name. waterintobeer was born.
We released our first issue of waterintobeer in July 2002, it featured interviews with Leeds punk bank Jeremy Beadles Hand, Sunderland ska band 46 Itchy and Leeds metal band Tangaroa and featured articles by amongst others the four people who would be the cornerstone of the zine for all of its lifespan; The aforementioned Luke Blackburn, Luke Downing and The Fair Maiden of Yorkshire*.
In total we created ten issues of the fanzine, the tenth issue coming out in November 2004, before work and life started getting in the way and we decided that ten was a nice round number to leave it at. We interviewed some great bands and artists such as Mavis (these guys wrote a song called water into beer in a sort of tribute to the fanzine, so the shop already has its own theme tune! (The singer of Mavis is now the editor at Kerrang! magazine)), This Ain’t Vegas, Fig 4.0, Bad Astronaut, Eighty-Six, Webster, Paul Di’anno, Mad Caddies, The Sex Maniacs, Humanfly, The Mercury League, Nathaniel Green, Drawn by Lines and Jello Biafra amongst others and it helped us meet some great people and create and build greater friendships. I’ve missed sticking bits of paper on other bits of paper that I’ve stuck on a blank bit of paper.
After a few years of waterintobeer only being used as a username on various internet forums some friends and I were sitting drinking beer (noticed a recurring theme yet!?) in the Nags Head, Leeds, when Robin blurted out he wanted to start a football team. I believe this started out as a 5-a-side kick about on a Wednesday night but by the end of the night we were an 11-a-side Sunday league football team. By the end of the night we were also called waterintobeer FC.
waterintobeer FC’s first season started in 2005 in Leeds Sunday League Division Three. It took the team nine games to record our first victory and we didn’t finish the season bottom of the league, which we thought was a bloody good achievement. We were that kind of team. The name actually almost never happened. In a pre-season meeting a philistine (though we would later learn a very lovely guy) stood up and told the meeting that our name wasn’t a proper football team name and by the league allowing us to call ourselves waterintobeer would mean bringing the league into disrepute. Luckily no-one listens to anyone else in local football committee meetings and no action was asked of us.
We met an Australian guy called Brendo (actually Brendan) on a bus to a Leeds United game in waterintobeer FC’s first season, who ended up staying in Leeds and playing for the team for the next few seasons. I try to stay away from stereotypes but two things Leeds United supporting Australians seem to like is a football chant and abbreviating words whenever they can. Brendan/ Brendo came up with a memorable chant for waterintobeer FC which he would sing when arriving at all of our dreary 11am Sunday morning games when the rest of the team were too hungover or tired to join in. You’ll probably have to go to Australia to hear it now if you want to. Other than that Brendan/ Brendo also abbreviated the name to WIB and then un-abbreviated it again to wibbers. So if you’ve been paying attention, waterintobeer not only has a theme song but a football chant, an acronym and a pretty nonsensical nickname too.

WIBFC
I left Leeds and waterintobeer FC after six seasons playing with my best friends in the only football team I could ever enjoy playing in and moved to London for work. waterintobeer FC decided to call it a day last season, our tenth season as a club (to match the number of fanzine issues).  During the years the team had been promoted a few times (mainly due to league restructuring), got to a couple of cup finals, had a player earn an international call up (Gibraltor), earnt the friendship and respect of many and properly proved that waterintobeer is a proper football team with a proper football team name.
waterintobeer may only seem like name for a beer shop to the initiated, but to me it will always mean so much more. No whiteboards required.

 

*A friend who had political ambitions and is now a member of Parliament, which to be on the safe side (probably because of the Daily Mail) is why he used a pseudonym.