Chatting with the Mad Yank
For our next spotlight post, we thought it would only be fitting to chat with our good friends at Mad Yank Brewery from over in Pinner! We’ve been stocking their brilliant beers here since our August Bank Holiday Beer Bash last year, and plenty of our good friends in the local area are also massive champions of their work.
We had Larissa & Grant visit us a few weeks back for a collab day on our pilot kit for an absolutely ridiculous brew, and spent a brilliant day drinking imperial stouts, eating burgers, talking rubbish and listening to Queen. We really love these guys, and we want you to love them too – so we sat them down and quizzed them on the really important stuff.
Give us some backstory on Mad Yank, why you two do what you do and what you enjoy most about being in the beer industry!
Larissa: After Grant's less-than-successful attempts at starting a new trend of soup-flavoured sandwiches, I suggested he turn his beer-brewing hobby into a business.
Grant: I'd taken brewing up as a hobby because at the time not a lot of breweries were interested in taking risks on beer concepts that didn't fit the style guides. I was pretty much just making for myself, but then people started asking me to supply their parties and various gatherings.
L: He'd also broken every promise he made regarding the equipment he needed, going from a couple of pots and a small conical to an entire quarter of the ground floor filled with what looked like Frankenstein's lab.
G: [smiling] That was probably inevitable due to my engineering background - a lot of the small-scale brewing equipment is geared towards more traditional methods, so I tinkered with pretty much everything, looking for ways to get better efficiencies without it costing me an arm and a leg.
L: I absolutely LOVE witnessing how much people enjoy our beer.
G: I think the best part about the job is how excited people get to talk about the product - there's a story behind every process and every design and a lot of folks are eager to hear about all the behind-the-scenes stuff that leads to a particular beer.
What's the beer you're most proud of/has been most popular, and what makes it so bloody good?
Grant: As far as a personal favourite, I'd go with Boomstick. It's a super-limited release lambic, if you get your hands on it we've either gifted it or you sent us a large sack of untraceable bills.
Larissa: Ooooh, that's a tough one. I'm quite partial to nearly all our beers, for obvious reasons. Do I have to choose?! - George, because it's got my most favourite coffee in the whole world in it and that stout brought me to the 'dark side' but I'd also have to say 'Passion of the Duck' because I'm obsessed with Passion Fruit.
Grant: Yeah, the Duck Duck series [Goses] have been very popular. Our first Lager, Jiu Jitsu Shih Tzu, destroyed all previous sales records as far as how fast it flew out the door, though.
What's been your most enjoyable milestone so far?
Grant: My face on the cover of Time Magazine (was that not a hypothetical question?!)
Larissa: Overhearing our 7-year-old's sales pitch to her bestie: "You know your dad likes our beer, and I saw your fridge didn't have any more beer, so you should tell him to call my mom"
What are you most looking forward to in Mad Yank's future?
Grant: Paid vacation - seriously though, getting our tap room open and holding a few pre-release launch parties, plus finding willing volunteers for our beer and food pairing experiments.
Larissa: Definitely getting our tap room open and being able to see first-hand the reactions to someone's first sip of the newest Mad Yank instalment of a beer.
Can you tell us why you guys and Alex chose to brew this collab beer in particular?
Alex said he'd take the blame if it didn't work out. [Just kidding. Or are they?] So we decided to go so deep down into tradition and brew a beer that even traditionalists are afraid to go there. Then we coerced gently nudged Alex to double down on the ABV.
What's your favourite place in the world to be for a pint? (Bonus, which pint is it, and what are you snacking on while you drink?)
Grant: Duck Foot Brewery in San Diego, 'Coconut Contender', bacon wrapped dates.
Larissa: Alvarado Street Brewing in Monterey, 'Half Time Treat', fresh Bavarian pretzel (clearly no logistical issues here).
How many jars of marmite do you think you can fit in your bag?
Grant: How many you got?
Larissa: I don't believe in bags or marmite.
What's your karaoke song of choice?
Grant: "I will always love you" by Celine Dion, but using my death metal voice.
Larissa: "Build me up Buttercup" because that's the only song I strangely know all the lyrics to.
What kind of meat would you choose to feed a wolf?
And finally. Did someone say... beer?
Grant: (bewildered stare)
Larissa: "Where's my glass??"
Stay tuned to find out more about the collab beer we've put together - we'll be releasing the beast soon and we can't wait to share it with all of you. In the meantime, be sure to go and give Larissa and Grant some love and keep an eye on what they're up to!