Talking London Craft Beer, COVID-19, and Pubs Re-Opening, with Three Sods Brewery

April 21, 2021

With pubs re-opening again, we sat down with our newest brewery partner, East London's Three Sods Brewery, who tell us all about the story behind the brewery, their delicious beers, and how they’ve adjusted to life during Covid-19.
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Wildsip (WS): Could you introduce Three Sods Brewery and briefly explain what your brewery is all about?

Three Sods Brewery (3SB): We’re a small, independent brewery from East London. Founded by 3 friends, Adam, Dave and Jordan (the Three Sods). They’d been homebrewing since 2011 and in 2014 they established the brewery’s first home in the cellar of the Bethnal Green Working Mens Club. Then, in 2020, we moved to our new site in London Fields. We’ve always focused, primarily, on Cask ale but have also established a Keg and Can range more recently.

WS: Three Sods is a fantastic name for a brewery. Where did the name come from? Is there a story behind it?

3SB: So the story goes, during the 1600s, in Ireland, Poitin (potato-based liquor) was prohibited, so home-brewers and bootleggers would paint a sod of peat white and leave it outside their door so people knew where to buy their moonshine.

WS: Some of your beers are inspired by different areas in London, as well as favourite albums and words in Afrikaans! How are you inspired by all of these things, and what beer would you say really stands out from the rest?

3SB: The Three founding Sods consist of a Yorkshireman, a Saffer (hence the Afrikaans) and an Irishman, but they all met in London. London has a wonderful history of brewing and the thriving pub scene has been our life-blood since day one. Couple that with the friendly and collaborative nature of the London brewing industry, we just think there’s a great deal to celebrate and be grateful for here in London. Our Session IPA is our most popular beer, but in my opinion, Rooi Kabouter is the one that stands out. IPA’s are ten-a-penny but Red ales are rarer and we think we’ve really nailed the style with our Rooi Kabouter.

WS: How has the world of beer changed since you opened in 2011? Do you make any beers now that you never would have considered making a decade ago?

3SB: When I moved to London in 2011, the “Bermondsey Beer mile” wasn’t even a thing! Now you have whole areas of London which are chockablock with breweries and taprooms. There are so many new styles and trends popping up all the time – with differing levels of popularity. We used to brew a Black IPA, for example, but enthusiasm for that style seems to have petered out. You’ve had White Stouts, Milkshake IPAs, NEIPAs and the new one seems to be Kvieks. And that’s without mentioning the weird and wonderful world of Sours! We’re not averse to trying new things but being anchored in cask ale means we do always keep one eye on the more traditional styles and recipes. We want to experiment more with our Keg range this year. We’d certainly love to try our hand at a sour – probably not in cask though!

WS: How has the past year been for Three Sods Brewery, as pubs were closed due to Covid-19? Did you have to make any big adjustments?

3SB: It has been tough, for sure. We moved to our new site in London Fields just over a year ago. Good timing! We bought a big new kit, opened our Taproom and then the country locked down. We used to sell entirely to pubs, so when they shut, we lost all our customers. It did give us the kick-up-the-arse we needed to get our online shop in order and establish a can range (we had dabbled with cans in the past but not seriously). We managed to sell lots of our stock in 5L minikegs but what little brewing we did do was all for the cans. Thankfully, they’ve taken off really well and we’ll now have the added revenue cushion from them as we start to feel our way back to normality. Hopefully we can reopen our Taproom in May.

WS: How has it been for you since the pubs have opened up again, and what are you looking forward to next?

3SB: If the last week is anything to go on, it will be a very busy summer. The weather has helped, of course, but it’s no surprise that the British people would miss their pubs so much! We’ve been so encouraged – and humbled – by the number of pubs who have wanted Three Sods as the beer they reopen their bars with. Cans and bottles – and even minikegs – are all well and good, but there’s just no substitute for a pint in a pub. Cask ale, especially, can only be enjoyed fully when it’s properly kept and served by a pub that knows what it’s doing. It’s awful that so many pubs without outdoor areas still can’t reopen but hopefully they’ll be able to bounce back with similar success in May. We’re looking forward to rediscovering the momentum we had at the beginning of 2020: selling to more pubs outside the M25, brewing new beers and reopening our Taproom.

We’re so pleased that Three Sods Brewery have joined us, and we hope that we can visit their taproom soon! If you want to try some of the delicious beers from Three Sods, then you can find them here!

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