ONE of the most critically-acclaimed new beers to have been brewed in the country this year was created in Southsea – by a dad in a garage.
Homebrewer Pierre Adedze scooped the top prize in a national competition for his lager called BlockStart, a simple Munich Helles, however his friends and family have lapped up the drink and he now only has one bottle of it left.
The 47-year-old, from Parkstone Avenue, got into homebrewing when his brother got a kit for Christmas one year, and Pierre’s love of science and gadgets led to his hobby growing, finally entering the UK National Homebrew Competition earlier this year.
He said: ‘Like most homebrewers, I entered to get the feedback from the acclaimed judges. I didn’t think much of my chances of winning.
‘But then, I got a text message to say that I had won and I couldn’t believe it. My beer was crowned best in show out of 402 beers.
‘People think that lager is bland. Hoppy IPAs are trendy right now and lager has a bad reputation, but when it is brewed properly, lager takes a lot of skill as there’s no flavours to mask the taste. There’s nowhere to hide.
‘I think my lager won because it is a simple, clear, crisp example of the style. It’s not masked by complicated flavours.’
BlockStart won the Pale Lagers and Hybrids category in the UK National Homebrew Competition, and then went on to win Best in Show.
Pierre, who is a physicist in his day job, also entered a Belgian Blond Ale called FreeWheelBlond, which also won its category – Belgian Ales.
He said he spends hours tinkering in his garage after his family moved him out of the kitchen due to the yeasty smell. And he reckons his award-winning lager cost just 30p per pint to make.
Dad-of-two Pierre, who is a member of the Portsmouth Homebrew Club, won a brewing system called a Braumeister worth £1,200, and a conical fermenter worth £500, plus £200 in vouchers.
Gill Thompson, who runs GetBrewing.uk, in Elm Grove, Southsea, where Pierre buys his supplies, said she was proud to see one of her customers, and a fellow member of Portsmouth Homebrewing Club, do so well.
‘It is enormous for Pierre to win this national award,’ she said. ‘Winning it is kind of like winning Bake Off for a home brewer.’
For Pierre it’s back to the garage, where he is working on some new beers.
‘I like brewing, I like the science and art of it. Having beer is just a happy by-product,’ he said.