Here with the second instalment, we’re chatting to another festival first-timer, Reunion
Tell us about your brewery and who you are.
I’m Francis Smedley, the founder and Head Brewer at Reunion. Based in West London, we specialise in brewing well-balanced session beers – beers which drinkers can easily get their heads and palates around.
Can you describe Reunion in three words?
Modern session beers.
What are your personal favourite styles of beer?
There are too many of us to have a single favourite. Part of the attraction of the brewing scene in the UK is the breadth of what’s on offer, and we love to go on beer safari!
Which of your beers is the biggest fan favourite/most popular?
‘Opening Gambit’ is the clear cask favourite. From our unfined, unfiltered, vegan-friendly can range, our craft lager and session IPA have been huge hits.
Which of your beers would you recommend to a first-timer at your bar?
There can’t be one answer. We’ll talk to you about your drinking preferences and then try to take you somewhere you might not normally go. With ‘Pia’ and ‘Beardtongue’, we’ve converted many a “pale only” beer drinker.
Best beer snack?
Biltong. Every time. Particularly if it’s highly spiced.
If you could get one music artist/celebrity to represent Reunion, who would best fit your business and ethos?
Helen Mirren. Not just for being a great actress and fabulous person but for being so consistently good at what she does for so long. We hope the same will be said of Reunion in years to come!
If you could make a beer using any flavours, and guarantee that it be delicious, which flavours would you love to use?
In principle, we’re open to using any ingredient provided that the outcome is beer and can, hand-on-heart, be described as sessionable. But I think you’re asking us to imagine a world in which even the most obscure ingredient would work in beer. In that fantasy scenario, I’d love to see a beer which captured the taste delight and culinary simplicity that is chips and gravy.
What are you looking forward to at the Great British Beer Festival this summer?
Mixing it up with the general public. We love nothing more than sharing the fruits of our labour with the outside world – drinking beer together and sharing the story of how we came to brew them.
What makes the Great British Beer Festival special, and what has motivated you to come this year?
The Great British Beer Festival is a British institution for cask drinkers. Everyone knows about it and, as brewers, we’d struggle to get our heads around not being involved in some capacity.
What exciting things does Reunion have coming up?
We have a new range of beers in the pipeline and that’s a hugely exciting point of focus for us. Watch this space!
Sounds good? Get your tickets to the festival today.