Beer brings people together. Whether it be putting the world to rights round an antique wooden table in a centuries old country pub or talking hops and tasting notes in the more modern setting of an internet forum, beer is all about community, and one man who knows this more than most is Alexis Jones.
The man behind the UK Craft Beer Network website and Facebook page, which has seen nearly 1,300 beer lovers, homebrewers and professional brewers alike come together to talk all things beer, is also on the cusp of launching his own Cwmbran based craft brewery; Mad Dog Brewing Co.
Although officially open for business on the 1st of October, the Cwmbran craft brewery’s beers have already been enjoyed from Birmingham to Putney and although it has taken nine months of hard graft to set up, Alexis embarked on his beer adventure nearly four years ago.
“I first started brewing in November of 2010 after being bored one day and randomly watching a YouTube video on how to start homebrewing,” Alexis explained. “I bought a complete extract kit with buckets included and made a Young’s Harvest bitter kit, which I was very impressed with,” he continued.
Alexis didn’t solely find instruction and inspiration on the video sharing website however, as his newfound hobby led him to joining homebrew forums, which in turn led him on to all grain brewing, before sharing his own brews with his newly found craft community.
“I tried many experiments with my brewing and started to document my beers on YouTube,” he said and after three years of testing out recipes, he took the plunge and finally decided to go pro. “I got myself on a brewing microbiology course at Brew Lab in Sunderland,” he explained, and so the former crime scene cleaner took his first brewing job with The Celt Experience.
It was at his time at Celt that Alexis founded the UK Craft Beer Network that only fed the fire burning inside him and he ultimately left the Caerphilly craft brewery to pursue his own dream and so Mad Dog was born.
While the setting of his brewing has changed over the years however, his mantra has remained the same.
“I believe in creating fantastic beer using the best ingredients possible and plenty of them!” he said, and he isn’t averse to experimenting with his ingredients. “I don’t believe in brewing beer which is bland and tasteless,” he continued, and this is evident in his current range.
“It’s craft beer with real character and depth of flavor,” he stated, and he’s not wrong. Featuring brews such as Twisted Cyclops, an American Pale Ale that stars five different hops as well as lychees, mangos and lime, Martian Apocalypse stuffed full of strawberries, melons and oranges, not to mention Submissable Anarchy, a winter IPA brewed with gin soaked juniper berries and honey, Alexis’ arsenal of beer not only lives up to his brewing motto, but also to Mad Dog’s slogan of ‘Arty Crafty Messed up Beer.’
With his beers, full of fruity flavours and packed with passion, Alexis and Mad Dog is set to set Wales’ taste buds alight and their launch can’t come any sooner.
Want a taster of Mad Dog’s brews before the launch? Check out these bad boys: