Andy Moffat has an odd way of describing his job:
“I’m basically a full-time professional cleaner who also brews once a week.”
Andy is being gently facetious. He’s not really a professional cleaner, at least not in the conventional sense. He’s actually the head brewer at Redemption Brewing Company, a new north London brewery. However, as the company’s founder and sole employee, he is also the cleaner. And the delivery driver. And just about everything else.
He’s not joking about his cleaning commitments being full-time though. When we walk into the brewery – a unit in an industrial estate slightly north of Tottenham Hale – the first thing we notice after the slightly heady smell of fermentation is the size of the equipment. Various massive stainless steel containers with impressive names such as ‘hot liquor tank’, ‘copper’ and ‘mash tun’ are dotted around the unit, linked by an array of pipework. The stuff that happens in these vessels is certainly messy, but before that stuff begins every week, the equipment needs to be spotlessly clean. That’s a lot of scrubbing for one man.
We are handed a couple of pints of beer straight from one of the massive conditioning tanks – a very well-balanced pale ale that we could happily spend an evening with. We know from pleasant experience that Redemption also produces an excellent darker ale, known as Urban Dusk, but as a more wintery brew this is not in evidence during our visit. Andy mentions that he has been considering producing a third ale to tie in with the Redemption’s home, speculatively named ‘Tottenham Hop Spur’. With puns like that, it’s quite clear that Andy is also Redemption’s head of marketing.
Redemption’s first ever brew was produced almost exactly six months ago. Before that there were several months of construction to install the necessary drainage, cooling and hygiene arrangements to turn the industrial unit into a brewery – a process that is documented on the brewery’s now-dormant blog. Now that the space is filled with arcane containers and odd equipment it has become, whilst certainly not ‘messy’, about as ‘busy’ as you might imagine a one-man brewing operation could be. Empty casks, measuring jugs, hydrometers, thermometers, fearsome-looking tools and ladies’ tights filled with spent malt are liberally distributed around the area.
A couple of years ago, Andy’s job was a very different one – working for a bank in the City. When asked about his change in career direction, he talks about his love for beer, recognition of what he calls “the beer renaissance” (where properly-crafted beers are becoming ever more popular) and his desire to “actually make something”. He notes that there are few (if any) independent brewers in north London, effectively leaving the door open for him to do his thing in Tottenham. As we look around the stainless steel vats, the tools, the casks, the pipes, the bags of malt and the boxes of hops, we start to suspect that we are looking at Andy’s dream.
Redemption currently produces about 2,800 pints of ale every week, most of which are dispatched to various pubs around London. We would certainly recommend trying Redemption’s beers if you ever come across them.
If you’re interested in hunting down a pint of Redemption ale, they regularly supply The Pineapple (Kentish Town), The Charles Lamb (Islington), The Bree Louise (Euston) and various other pubs that serve independently-brewed beer.