We first met Logan Plant some years back when he was still with the UK-based band Sons of Albion and they were touring the states in support of their first US release. And even though that band was making some great music together at that time – nothing would ever have prepared us for Plant’s next act as the founder of Beavertown Brewery – one of London’s most exciting and innovative craft breweries!
As busy as he is managing Beavertown’s incredible growth, Logan graciously agreed to give us his time. And we repaid that kindness by asking him…5 STUPID QUESTIONS.
1. Beavertown Brewery is clearly making waves in the UK and its reputation has already jumped the pond. You recently came out to California to be part of Firestone Walker’s prestigious Invitational – the only UK brewery invited to attend. With so much going on, you could be talking with any number of “credible” journalists. So, why in the world would you ever have agreed to be profiled by a sketchy operation like us? What were you thinking?
Plant: I love you 🙂
2. One of the stories that we heard about you is that you were first introduced to the American craft beer scene by a fan who took you out drinking when you were touring the states with your last band Sons of Albion. Any truth to that…or do we have all this entirely wrong?
Plant: Yeah! I’d just come off stage at the Knitting Factory on Metropolitan in Brooklyn and I was ravenous, starving! So the girl who was looking after us directed me across the road to a little place that had recently opened in an old mechanics yard called Fette Sau. She told me to get a few ‘Sliders.’ At this point, I’d never tried a ‘Slider.’ I walked in and BOOM. SMOKE! and huge jugs of beer!!! At this point, I nearly started crying, no joke. I loved beer for many years, to the point of obsession, a proud geek! Then came the meat! Beautiful tender, smoked pork, dressed in chili vinaigrette, washed down with an awesomely juicy US IPA. I’d found Nirvana. So, that was it, I left the band within the week, cut my hair, had a shave, and started homebrewing! I’ve never looked back.
3. You founded the Beavertown Brewery, thought by many to be one of the UK’s most cutting-edge craft breweries. That’s heady stuff. Can you give us some history? How did this all come about…Where are you guys at currently with production and distribution…And where do you see Beavertown going in the future?
Plant: I’m a Black Country man! Born and bred. In the West Midlands, we have some of the best, family-run, small breweries in the UK, brewing a particular style of moreish ‘Best Bitter.’ This is where it all began. The pub is seen as an extension to every man’s castle, we all live in castles in England, right!? Every night you go to the pub, to drink, chat, argue, laugh, cry, and be merry. So as a boy, I was dragged to many a beer garden. By the age of 18, I was actually starting to understand what my dad was talking about. Beer! I would travel to particular local pubs, to drink certain types of beer, by a certain local brewery, and it was all fresh! My friends and I were like pilgrims. Dreams of starting a brewery started to be etched down on the back of cigarette packs. Imagine starting a little brewery on the side of a mountain in Wales!! Well that was put aside for about 10 years, until that moment at Fette Sau in Brooklyn. I started to homebrew for about 15 months, sharing my wares with my mates and chatting through the concept of Duke’s Brew and Que and Beavertown Brewery – a US-style BBQ joint/brewpub. Traditional southern US BBQ paired with big, pulsating ‘Craft’ beers.
I began to brew to the menu. We specialize in Beef and Pork ribs, [so] what should I brew to serve side by side with these dishes to complement them? A Smoked Porter, the ‘Smog Rocket’ for the Beef ribs, packed with molasses, char, and smoked undertones and a spicy, juicy Rye IPA known as the ‘8 Ball’ to pair alongside the Pork ribs. I was off! I started brewing 25ltr in my kitchen then moved to the 7hl traditional two vessel British kit in Duke’s kitchen where I brewed once a week to begin with opposite our two big smokers. Within a few months, we bought two more FV’s and moved the fermentation out of the cellar to a local ‘lock-up.’ So we brewed in the restaurant and drove the wort 1 mile across town to our lock-up where we fermented and bottled everything by hand and bottle-conditioned the beers to carbonate naturally. This allowed us to start selling a little further afield outside the bar and start to build a reputation. I experimented to my heart’s content. Styles, yeasts, bacteria, hops, malts, barrels. Everything was being tested and pushed. Nothing held me back. Was this beer!
We moved within a few months to a bigger warehouse in East London, where we brewed on our kit 7-8 a week, about 3000ltr in total production. Again pushing the beer further around the city. Within a year, we had been voted London and the UK’s best new brewery on Ratebeer, I was flying!
I really wanted to improve our surroundings and the conditions we brewed in and to control the beer far more! So we pushed all revenue from Duke’s into the brew, raised finance against our reputation and Duke’s success, and went to the bank to help out. It was a hell of a journey but we made it.
Big Beaver, our 50hl brewhouse, came on line in June 2014 with 20,000 liter a week capacity. ‘Little Beaver’ and the Beaverettes sits right next to her big sister and produces all our experimental ‘Alpha Series.’ With the move I took all our core beers into cans too. A ballsy move in the UK because the can holds a heavy stigma around its neck connected to cheap, pissy lager. I drank Surly ‘Furious’ IPA 2 years before and knew my hop-forward beers had to live in a can. Stability and freshness. Two things I had never been able to achieve for any length of time whilst hand bottling and bottle-conditioning. I can’t tell you how happy I am to of made the move!! Now cans are 95% of small pack sales and the hop-forward beers like Gamma Ray APA, Neck Oil Session IPA, 8 Ball Rye IPA, and Black Betty Black IPA are very happy beers! The future? We have just ordered an extra 50,000ltr of capacity, a kegging line, and are constantly upgrading our lab. We are keen to always push quality and consistency.
We have upped our distribution around London, this is our town. We all live and breathe this city. We adore it. It is the epicenter for ‘Craft’ beer in the UK with an amazing new drinker who is so passionate about beer. We also send our beer further afield around the UK and are starting to export a little too.
4. We know you must get this question a lot – don’t be pissed at us. How did you come up with the name “Beavertown” for your brewery? You must understand that the word “beaver” is used as slang for all kinds of things in the states…so please be as honest as you can.
Plant: I love those furry little things….with their big teeth and funny flappy tails. Hahahaha…Seriously, I was thinking about names for ages. All sorts from Alchemy to Boadicea?! Then one day I was telling a friend about the project and that we were opening the brewpub in De Beauvoir Town, Hackney. He said “Nah, I used to live there! De Beauvoir is too posh for the East End locals, so they called it ‘Beavertown’!” I dropped to my knees and ran off leaping for joy. It rang so true to me. Slight innuendo and a wink to our roots and local area! Perfect.
5. Tell us about your beers. What are your most popular? Does Beavertown brew seasonals or one-offs….what about collaborations with other brewers?
Plant: We have 5 core beers: Gamma Ray APA 5.4%, Neck Oil Session IPA 4.3%, Smog Rocket Smoked Porter 5.4%, 8 Ball Rye IPA 6.2%, and Black Betty Black IPA 7.4%. Our hero beer is Gamma Ray. It’s a kind of juvenile beer!? I wanted to create an almost ‘Tropicana’ of a beer. Loads of fleshy, orange stone fruits. Huge juicy aromas of mangoes, oranges, and grapefruits all blended and served sparkling and chilled at 5.4%. The new Neck Oil Session IPA is one we have been working for 4 months now and it’s becoming undeniable!! An all day, go to, easy every day beer. That’s what I was brought up on but the Neck Oil is packed with spiky, citrus hops from the north west of the US and Australia. Pungent, crisp, and extra pale. It’s catching the Gamma up! We built our whole ethos on experimenting, so we have seasonals: Bloody ‘Ell Blood Orange IPA, Stingy Jack Spiced Pumpkin, Quelle Dry Hopped Saison, Appelation Bramley Apple Saison, Heavy Water Sour Cherry, and Sea Salt Imperial Stout, the sour Phantom series, Imperial ‘Lord Smog Almighty’ Smoked Porter, Holy Cowbell India Stout…..the list goes on and on…..and won’t stop!
We love collaboration. You live and learn!! What better way to do it over a few beers, with like-minded people for the benefit of all! We collaborate not only with brewers but bread makers, foragers, distillers, bands etc.
We don’t want to get you in trouble with your friends over here in the states – but we’ve got to ask – who are some of your favorite American craft breweries? C’mon, we know you must have some – so give them up!
Plant: They all inspire me!! They took our tradition and turned it upside down and inside out!! I’ve been lucky enough to call some of them my friends and serve my beers at events like Firestone’s Invitational and the CBC. It’s a great industry to be part of, one that doesn’t have many boundaries and is manned by great people!