In 2015, two passionate home brewers opened up Neptune Brewery in the outskirts of Liverpool. Since then, Les and Geoff have made Neptune one of the north-west’s leading breweries, with their taproom and beers going from strength to strength. All of their beers are unfined and unfiltered, making them suitable for all (over 18 of course) and their branding, exceptional so during this period of lockdown, I took the opportunity to catch up with Les’ wife Julie, who now also works in the brewery to discuss all things Neptune. Enjoy!
Welcome to Halfway2 Nowhere, let’s start with Neptune Brewery, what is the story behind Les and Geoff setting it up?
Les was home brewing at the time, and the idea of setting up the brewery stemmed from a discussion between them both in a pub from drinking a beer that wasn’t the best. Les has always been passionate about beer and has the brewing knowledge. Geoff is a silent partner who looks after the other side of the business such as VAT, Duty etc. I look after sales and events, and do some social media too with an occasional brew thrown in.
And the name? Where did that come from…
Prior to the Brewery, Les ran an Aquatics business with his father. When he retired, Les continued for a few years until he decided in 2015 he wanted a new career path.
Many names were thought of, and the epiphany of calling it Neptune Brewery came. Seems appropriate given the background. Hence most of our beers are named from water, fish or mythologic sea creatures.
You’re based in the thriving Merseyside brewing scene – what’s it like being a brewer in the area right now?
There have been a number of breweries set up since we started. It’s great to see the beer scene is doing well. We all have our own styles of brewing, and will support each other if we can. We know most of them through socialising or from early days of home brew club.
The first beer I’m really interested in is the Charybdis. With a 3.88 average on Untappd and at 7%, this must be one of the boldest beers brewed with Citra out there. What can you tell us about that beer?
It was brewed for Liverpool Beer Week 2019 as a collaboration with Liverpool Beer Collective. It was first showcased at our local beer festival, Liverpool Craft Beer Expo. Citra is a great hop with its tropical and citrus flavours. We thought it would be perfect for a single hop IPA. It’s a well balanced beer with the hop flavours and bitterness. The ABV is also quite deceptive as it’s quite easy drinking.
Personally, the only beer of yours I’ve drank before is the Abyss, which is just superb. The use of Wilamette hops is still pretty new, where did the idea behind this brew come from to create an oatmeal stout?
The use of Willamette wasn’t new to us as we’ve been using it for quite a while, as a few other brewers have too. We’d say it’s a lesser used hop compared to others. Stouts are a personal favourite of ours, so brewing a stout as one of our first beers was a must. Abyss evolved from a home brew recipe we did years ago. We have tweaked it many times and are now satisfied with the final version. It’s a great beer and favourite with many. Lovely roasted malt notes, coffee, chocolate and even a hint of liquorice can be picked up.
Sticking with stouts, one of your most popular beer to date is On The Bounty. A coconut chocolate stout, you must have thought you’d hit gold when this was first released?
Bounty was brewed as a “summer beer” initially for Liverpool Craft Beer Expo 2018. It proved so popular on the day, subsequently it has become a staple in our range during April to September. People who don’t tend drink stouts also love this beer. Chocolate and coconut is a great combination.
Of all of your beers, which is your favourite and why?
That’s a hard one as there are a few! Wooden Ships is a perfect balanced beer of Centennial hops and malt, a lovely US pale. Mosaic has lots of flavours going on with its tropical and citrus notes, it’s quite a juicy refreshing beer. Medusa’s Gaze Stout which is very rich in coffee and chocolate. It has a lovely viscous texture. This beer also comes out yearly in two Bourbon Barrel Aged versions.
Your ultimate beer tasting – so, you can only drink one beer in the below styles ever again, which do you choose and why?
Lager – Pilsner Urquell
Porter – Five Points – Railway Porter
Session IPA – Neptune Shifting Sands
Sour – Boon Geuze – Mariage Parfait
Pale Ale – Deya – Steady Rolling Man
Thanks so much for your time, how can people support you right now and what can people expect from Neptune for the rest of 2020.
We are currently in the process of setting up an online shop, so beer cans be purchased from there soon. We are also doing local deliveries, and we have opened up the taproom for draught take out – ensuring the Government guidelines are adhered to. All information can be found on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram or our website www.neptunebrewery.com