London Living with an Alternative Twist!

Meet the Brewer – Hans Oelofse – Chelmsford Brew Co.

Back with round three in the ‘Meet the Brewer’ series with a far shorter wait this time around!

Today, it’s time to chat with Hans Oelofse from Chelmsford Brew Co. in, yes you guessed it, Chelmsford!

How did you become a brewer?

I’ve always been curious about how things work, I like to take things apart and understand them. Brewing was something I was curious about so I made my first homebrew end the rest is history. I volunteered at a brewery as well to see how it’s done, the mechanical side was something I wanted to see.

What’s unique about your beer?

We have absolutely no regard for what is trending, we brew what we find interesting and hopefully, others will agree. We use traditional techniques as well as more contemporary ones to maximise the beers. You have to learn by doing and be brave.

What efforts do you make to be environmentally friendly?

The brewing process is sadly not very environmentally friendly. Lots of water is used, and the carbon footprint is still a concern for not just this industry, but we try to do what we can.

We try to maximise efficient use of water, and any spare water is used on the next brew or cleaning.  We are an electric brewery and 100% of our electricity is from renewable sources.
There is so much more to do, but the whole chain needs to up their game and make changes; packagers and distributors included.

How do you feel the internet has changed the way the craft brewing industry operates, if it has at all?

Yes it has changed, it’s become more accessible for sure. That leads to good and bad things. Sometimes it feels like a popularity contest and the actual beer is forgotten.

Also, 20 years ago when craft beer was already a thing, but very niche, beers were so hard to come by and you would travel far to beer festivals, wholesalers and shops. But it was appreciated so much more; people didn’t drink it to rate it.
Curating beer lists for venues led me to very good contacts and like-minded people. However, it’s now become saturated with profiteers.

How do you choose which styles of beer to brew? Do you just do the types that interest you personally, or do you try to fill some roles that are underrepresented in the craft beer scene?

We choose our beers based on what we find interesting and if it goes against the trend then it’s a bonus. There are subtleties in brewing that not many people can pick up on but as a brewer, this is what gives us goosebumps when it’s right.

What are the biggest problems you run into in producing beer?

Producing beer is the fun bit, selling beer is not a concern for us as we are brewing to capacity. The only bit that slows us down is getting kegs/casks back to fill. Our whole fleet seems to be in and out constantly.

What has been your favourite beer you’ve brewed to date?

Port Jackson; a smooth and malty black ale with a light and silky mouthfeel.

If there were a beer that you could brew with no regards to cost or production or sales, what would it be and why?


If you could collab with any other brewery/brewer with money/distance being no issue, who would it be and why?

Leigh-on-Sea Brewery locally or Skinners in Truro, Cornwall.

One tip you would give most homebrewers to make better beer.

Clean EVERYTHING, then sterilise EVERYTHING, then do it again.
Honestly, I would say it’s not a popularity contest, don’t be afraid to have fun; there are too many DDH and NEIPA anyway.
There is beauty in the subtleties like I said before, and by keeping it simple and doing what you are doing very, very well you might surprise yourself.!

Keep up to date with Hans & Chelmsford Brew Co. on Facebook and Instagram.

I'm Squibb Vicious, better known as Haydy!
Happiest with a craft beer in hand, eating til my heart is content or exploring somewhere new.
Here you can read about my adventures!