Stevenage’s Bog Brew Beers named in Camra Good Beer Guide
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
A beer-brewing story that began next to a toilet bowl has bubbled into recognition from the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide.
Bog Brew Beers, run by former electrician Paul Clinton out of his home in Stevenage Old Town, is the only new Herts brewery in the 46th issue of the guide.
Paul, 54, told the Comet: “From being semi-retired, I’m now busier than ever.”
The lavatorial name comes from when Paul – who with his wife Marie owns and runs the On The Green restaurant in the High Street – was doing his very first practice Bicknor Brew about two years ago, and posted a picture of it on social media.
Someone pointed out that his gear was right next to and on top of a toilet, to which Paul and Marie responded that it was only practice and not for the public.
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A subsequent telephone conversation with Envrionmental Health was summed up by Paul as “one of the funniest conversations I have had in my life”, as he and Marie explained it was homebrew and not for sale in the restaurant.
Bicknor Brew duly became Bog Brew, with toilet humour reflected when naming the beers – which include Porter Potty, Bottoms Up and Golden Tinkler.
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Paul, who started with a 40-litre set-up, now works with 250 litres at any one time behind his house – creating six regular beers and two seasonal ones, all of which are bottled in the Old Town.
Paul said: “Out of that adversity of someone phoning Environmental Health to complain about us supposedly brewing beer in the toilet, we’ve got a positive spin on it.”
It all started when Paul got a homebrew kit for his birthday, and decided to see what would happen if he tried to brew beer for the restaurant.
After good results with friends and customers, he started to get Camra people come to see him and test the beers out.
“Camra have been very interested in what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re sending beer down to the St Albans Beer & Cider Festival to go up for Herts beer of the year.”
Paul said the highlights of the journey so far were getting an award for his Barking Spider brew in a competition judged by The Wine Society, and being able to experiment more as a brewer than as an electrician.
He added that he was firmly committed to the idea of keeping his beers in the area, saying: “Local businesses should be stocking local beers.”
Paul is just about to brew a 10-per-cent imperial stout with peanut butter – Pee-nut Stout.