Meet the Producer: Anspach & Hobday
Paul Anspach and Jack Hobday met each other in kindergarten and have been friends ever since. They went to school together, they have been flat mates, and they now run a brewery together that bears both of their names.
Their shared obsession with beer luckily did not start at kindergarten, but at the time of university, where Paul started working part-time in a wine and beer shop. At the same time, one of Jack’s professors suggested that he try a home-brewing kit “to save some cash and make some good beer” Paul says, “well, make some beer”.
At this point they were still mostly drinking lager like any other students, and their first experiences of craft beer did not immediately win them over. At some point however “your palate adjusts and your mind opens” Jack says, and once that happens “there is a little craft beer moment”. For him it was trying a Great Divide Titan for the first time at the Euston Tap, which left vivid flavour memories of fresh hoppiness. Paul had the same experience finding himself at The Cask Pub and Kitchen in Pimlico sipping on a Mikkeller Exotic Punch.
Jack soon started working at the The Cask, before moving before down to the Craft Beer Co in Brixton. The home brewing kit was soon upgraded to an all grain kit, and the two continued with their experiments in their London flat. “It looked very different then” says Jack, but “the core values of what we believe in are the same - I am happy that we do not produce a beer that I do not love”. In fact, “the Porter recipe is still the same”, Paul says, “it was the third brew we ever did” with the all grain home brew kit. “It is the way of brewing, that sometimes you just hit it, and nothing else needs to be done from there”.
Paul and Jack still summarise their mission simply as "to create a better beer experience”. The idea is to "brew the best beer we can” says Jack, “and reduce the distance between the brewer and the customer”. This is reflected in the fact that the recipes are based on traditional London beers but brewed with modern technology and after the brewers’ personal taste. The decision to open the brewery to the public on weekends has also allowed them to serve and meet their customers in person.
Underneath the ambition to create a better beer experience lies a greater vision of connecting to the history of London as a great brewing city. Two centuries ago "London was the brewing capital in the world”, Paul says. “We really enjoy to look at the heritage of brewing, bring it up to date, and present it to a modern audience". For example, Stronger Porters were called "Stout Porters" when exported from London, a name which was later abbreviated simply to “Stouts”. “Our next beer will be a stronger version of the Porter which we will call a ‘Stout Porter’”, Jack says, “a name which has not been used in London for a very long time”.
Down the line, Paul and Jack’s expression of this vision is to build a cathedral for beer in the form of a beer hall, where people can come together to enjoy the best brews of London by the barrel. “It is obviously a grand project” Jack says, “and it is obviously about more than Anspach & Hobday”. However, it is clear that their search for a better beer experience combines the desire to introduce more people to craft beer with a competitive edge. “There will always be a demand for the best, and hopefully that will be us”.