'You can get excited about the future. The past won’t mind' - Hillary DePiano
As the year draws to a close our minds move from the day-to-day towards a mixture of relief, relaxation, celebration and reflection. Relief that the festive period is finally here and we get a little time off, or if not at least a good bit of time with family and friends. Relaxation as we inhale that fourth mince pie before it’s even midday, nestled in the sofa with a glass of bubble in the other hand. Celebration as maybe we raise a glass to a departed family member or the first Christmas of a brand new one, or time with loved ones that becomes so difficult during the year. And reflection, as we look back at the year and try to make sense of it all. It’s all so difficult to do these things when life is coming at you at 100mph and, as we sit here during that odd lul between Christmas and NYE, we’re reminded of all the good times, and the bad, and allow us to get a little bit excited for what’s to come!
Writing these ‘end of year’ blogs is much like the above, with a dash of dread added in. It’s not until, as we said above, you do get a bit of rest that your mind opens up and you really do get to remember and make sense. Every year at UnBarred you can audibly hear the groans as that dreaded email lands in people’s inbox, ‘... so what were your highlights of 2023?’. But as everywon winds down and it becomes clear and, as the replies start flowing in, it’s impossible not to smile and be nostalgic at the same time and excited for the next 12 months. So here is 2023, through the eyes of the lovely team at UnBarred, with a little peak into 2024 for good measure!
2023 at UnBarred…
We asked the team what their beer of the year was (maybe you agree?!) and for their professional highlight of 2023. It’s fair to say there were some cracking beers and the team have excelled over the last 12 months, getting stuck into some pretty exciting projects.
Jordan Mower - Head Brewer, Founder and Big Cheese at UnBarred
‘Limoncello was my beer of the year. Using our base Berliner Weisse, the basis for some of my favourite beers, it was a real showcase of the authentic flavours of Amalfi lemons, which we used for the natural touch. Making a Limoncello from scratch and infusing the beer with it was a magical moment. Professionally, I was invited to talk at Brewers Congress about brand. It’s a subject that has huge importance to me in everything that we do here, so to be able to passionately explain what makes us UnBarred at the event was a brilliant moment.
Brendan Salmon - Brewer
‘Cold Pressed Summer Stout is 100% the beer of the year for me. So many layers of flavour coming from fantastic ingredients that are normally discarded. Sustainability is such an important part of this beer, and it shows how it can be done to great affect. I also completed my first solo brew, which was a huge moment for me. 2023 has been a massive year for me professionally as much as it has been for UnBarred and I’m excited for 2024!
Brett Preston - Marketing Manager
‘The highlight for me in 2023 was Cherry Garsour. Not just the beer, which was incredible, but the project as a whole. Being able to collaborate with a brewery as iconic as Amundsen to create a beer as tasty and technically brilliant was incredible. We had great fun with the artwork, pulling inspiration from the past, and got to launch the beer not once, not twice, but three times in a week! Getting the Amundsen team to Brighton was great fun, showing them what we’re all about and how amazing Brighton is. We also launched the beer at the iconic Mother Kelly’s in London with a toads competition and then showcased the beer at London Craft Beer Festival.
And the beer of the year goes to… So what was the overall ‘Beer of the Year’ for Team UnBarred? The Whiskey Chaser, our collab with Scottish royalty Fierce Beer that came out on top after all votes were counted. ‘The challenge of nitrogenating a beer, the first time we’ve done this at UnBarred, while also achieving that balance of flavour was something very exciting’ Russ, one of our brewers said. It was a close call, with both Charry Garsour and Limoncello in close joint second, but it’s the beer that we drank over half a keg during QC that takes the crown (we had to check the nitrogenation thoroughly!!!!)
Looking towards 2024…
We also asked them what they’re most looking forward to in 2024. We had to redact a few spoilers, but you’ll find those out in good time! It’s safe to say though that a busy 2023 has done nothing to dent their spirits, they’re more excited than ever for what’s to come!
Gemma Watson - Sales Manager
‘UnBarred turns 10 in 2024, so we’ve got some BIG plans which include the return of some classics. I can’t go into any more detail right now, all will be revealed in good time, but let’s just say some of the beers are synonymous with UnBarred and, up until now, Jordan said he probably wouldn’t brew them again! The brewers cannot wait to get their teeth stuck into these recipes!’
Gary Brandon - Lead Brewer
‘2023 was fantastic for us in terms of production. Joosy was super consistent thanks to the hard work of the brew team and the introduction of the centrifuge, which also allowed us to increase our production volumes and get more beer out into people's hands! 2024 promises much more of the same, expansion being key for our continued success. As well as keeping people's pints full of Joosy and Casual, some amazing specials and old school beers will keep us busy. I’m also going to get to continue to guide Brenden through his apprenticeship completion as well as working closely with both Russ and Ben to continue making consistent and tasty beer!’
Cameron - Taproom Assistant Manager
‘2023 was a big year for me, becoming Assistant Manager of the Taproom and being a key part of its success throughout the year. It’s such a satisfying job, seeing the smiles on customers' faces as they try the newest beers or settle down with a good ol’ pint of Joosy (my favourite beer!). Talking about flavour profiles and inspiration with both customers and the team, always stretching our knowledge and understating is a great feeling, and I’m excited to carry that into 2024. We’ve got a great team here who are always striving to go the extra mile for the customer and for their own understanding of beer, too.’
So, we’re leaving a huge year at UnBarred behind that’s seen us brew 43 different beers, attend 16 festivals and events, brewed more litres of beer than ever and released some of our team's favourite beer to date. It’s been a wild ride and we couldn’t have done it without the whole UnBarred team pulling in the same direction. From the brewers Jordan, Gary, Russ, Brenden and Ben who make the beer, to Gemma and Jaymee in sales and Owen who delivers delicious beer to your favourite pubs and bottle shops. And of course not forgetting those faces you’re likely more familiar with, the Taproom team. Felipe, our Taproom Manager, Cameron the AM and Dan, Hamish, Kevin and Tony who sling your pints to keep your thirst quenched! And lastly, raise a glass to yourselves, our biggest fans. Thanks for all your support this year, we couldn’t do it without you! As the saying goes though, onwards and upwards. You can get excited about the future, the past won’t mind.