Music and beer are a match made in heaven, but how many times have you been at a gig and wished there was more on offer than the standard bland, over-priced big-name lagers? Back in 2011 Sam McGregor and David Riley took matters into their own hands and teamed up experienced brewer Tom Bott to set up their own craft brewery – Signature Brew. Over the past six years the brewery have collaborated with some big names in the music business (including Frank Turner and Mastodon) to create some excellent special edition beers, as well as bringing out their own core range of music-inspired craft beers.
On Saturday 22 July Signature Brew opened the doors of their East London brewery and Katie selflessly went along on behalf of The Moshville Times to see what goes on behind the scenes to create their unique range of craft beers… and try as many as possible!
I first discovered Signature Brew beers one night whilst photographing a gig at The Black Heart in Camden. A sucker for good design, I was instantly drawn to the press-pass style labels and music-themed names such as “Roadie”, “StageDiver” and “Nightliner”. Having sampled a few of the beers I knew they were onto a good thing and promptly followed the brewery on Facebook, which is how I found out that the brewery were opening their doors to the public… and being not too far from where I live I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by!
Behind an unassuming metal door in Leyton Business Centre in East London lies Signature Brew – the craft brewery on a mission to produce beer inspired by music, to be enjoyed with music. I arrived shortly before 4pm and found the place packed with local beer-lovers sheltering from the summer rain whilst sampling the beers on offer. Brewers Riina and Tim gave a short tour of the brewery and explained how each beer is made – from hops to canning. I learned a lot about the brewing process, and it was great to see where some of my favourite beers had started life. We then got to try a selection of as-yet-unreleased beers straight from the large shiny silver fermenters – the freshest beer can get – and they were all delicious!
After the tour it was back to the tap room for more beer tasting. One of the most exciting beers I sampled was their 5.7% coffee porter “Nightliner”, brewed with coffee from Leyton locals Curved Brick Co. Other favourites of mine from the Signature Brew core collection are “Roadie” (a 4.3% light, refreshing session IPA, inspired by all the behind-the-scenes crew that are in the production of live music shows), “Stage Diver” (a 7.2% double IPA with “big resinous & tropical flavours [and] a solid malt baseline”), and “Studio Pilsner” (a 4% refreshing light lager based on one of the most traditional styles of beer in the world.
Love beer but you are vegan? Signature Brew have you covered! Four of the brewery’s core range of beers are vegan; “Studio Pilsner”, “Studio Vienna”, “Nightliner” and “StageDiver”, as well as three of their limited edition collaborations; “Take Control”, “Anticipation” and “Nice Time”. The brewery are currently working towards 100% vegan beer production – hooray!
Signature Brew beers can be found in the following pubs around London: Strongroom (Shoreditch), Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, New River Studios (Harringey), The Half Moon (Putney), The Old Ship (Hackney), Trip Space (Haggerston), Leyton Technical, Leyton Star, Fox & Firkin (Lewisham), Tooting Tram & Social, Williams Ale & Cider House (Shoreditch), Morgan Arms (Bow), The Hairy Dog (Northwich), as well as The Red Lion in Birmingham. Selected beers can also be found in a limited number of Marks and Spencer stores. Can’t find Signature Brew beers near you? You can order online!
Big thanks to Sam, David, Lilli, Riina, Tim and the rest of the Signature Brew team for a very informative (and slightly drunken) Saturday!
Photos by Katie Frost Photography