Meet the team: Ardern
What's your role at Hexad?
We share a lot of roles in Hexad and so I suppose the main part of what I work on is research and engaging with potential customers.
What's your favourite part about working at Hexad?
Oh, the potential to do lots of different things and really explore what we can do with beer. Engaging with customers shows the potential for that because you start getting customers asking seemingly obvious questions that then have potentially really interesting avenues of recipe exploration.
What got you into brewing beer?
My crazy wife! And being a PhD student who was no longer getting paid. Maeve suggested that we try brewing our own beer and it just went from there.
What's your favourite style of beer and why?
These days I'm really trying to experiment with strong IPAs with lactose in them. Milk IPAs. If you get it right, with the really strong ones, you get a huge amount of hop aroma and this underlying sweetness that complements the small amount of bitter that comes in from the dry hops. So you get this very, very aromatic sweet and hoppy beer.
What's your favourite aspect of brewing?
I like flame-out. You just get this explosion of aroma from the hot liquid as the hops hit it. [What exactly is flame-out?] At the very, very end of the boil process for hoppy beers, you usually put in a lot of hops that you don't want to add bitterness. The idea is that some of the less pleasant flavours that can be in hops easily evaporate, so they evaporate when they hit the boiling liquid, but you don't lose all of other aromatic flavours because the liquid is beginning to cool at this point. I love that explosion of aroma when you add flame-out hops.
What makes a beer great?
It really depends on context. If you go for a big day of tasting different beers, you want something that really stands out and is really impressive. But then day-to-day, something that's sessionable and complements what you're eating, or something that just goes along in the background. That's important too. So it really depends on context.