It’s not you, it’s me. Why we’re changing the recipe for Solaris.
Solaris is our biggest selling cask beer. We started brewing it not long after we opened way back in 2014. The recipe has remained unchanged for almost this entire time, bar a couple of tweaks to the hopping rate and the addition of hop oil. It has a loyal following, not just in our pubs but in a handful of pubs throughout London where people are attracted to its soft, fruity and approachable style.
But it needs to change.
As a brewery we have come a long way since we opened. Our initial output was hit and miss at best and while most of our early misses have been long since culled Solaris is one beer that has managed to sneak under the radar. Although labelled as a session pale from the outset, Solaris is technically a session bitter, brewed with Cascade and Centennial hops. It has quietly become a staple at our pubs, The Antelope alone selling anywhere between 5 to 8 casks a week. As most brewers will tell you, having a permanent line in a pub going through that sort of volume is the stuff of dreams, so why would we change it?
Well, we’ve changed. In the last year the focus of our business has been moving much more towards keg beer and we are very pleased with the hoppy pales and IPAs that we’ve been producing of late. We’ve ditched the complex malt bills that we used to brew with and replaced these with more simple, clean and refined combinations which allow the predominantly American hops that we use to shine.
This is where we see the future of our brewery. We still love cask ale and will continue to both brew it and support it in our pubs but we feel that to progress we need to examine every aspect of what we do and try to do it better.
There will be those of you who rightly ask why we don’t just brew something else and give it a different name? The truth of the matter is that we love the name Solaris and have spent considerable time and money on the branding of the beer and more recently have applied for the trademark for the name. These costs can be pretty scary for a small brewery with tight margins.
So, what’s the plan?
Over the next few months we’ll be trialling various iterations of Solaris with an eye to landing on a recipe that we, and more importantly you, will love. A version that we feel represents where we are at as a brewery and where we are heading.
The first of these is Version 2.0 which we launched today at our beer festival at The Antelope. We’re pretty happy with how it’s turned out but there are some changes that we are already planning for the next brew.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these new versions as they are released and we hope that those of you who love the old Solaris will one day learn to love the new one.