V sklopu pokušin britanskih craft piv nas je v mesecu Velike Britanije v Mercator Šiška obiskala priznana britanska somelierka za pivo Jane Peyton. Nastal je simpatičen intervju v angleškem jeziku.
So, Queen of beer they call you. Please introduce yourself, who are you, where are you from and how did you become the Queen?
Good day. My name is Jane Peyton. I was born in Skipton, North Yorkshire (England) where the water is perfect for making English-style ales. I have always loved beer and so when I had the chance to start my own business I chose to work in an industry that gave me pleasure and would not feel like work. My friends call me Queen Beer as a joke because I have won several awards for my work in beer and also because I look good in a crown!
What is so special about beer?
Beer is the world’s favourite alcoholic drink. It has a magical ability to unite people even if they do not speak the same language or have the same culture. It makes people happy. It is the drink that we turn to for so many reasons. If is hot weather we drink beer. If we are celebrating something we drink beer. If we are watching sport we drink beer. Beer is also full of nutrition and water. There are proven health benefits to a moderate consumption of beer.
How do you recognize a good beer? What does it need to have?
A good beer depends on who is drinking it. What I consider to be a good beer may not be what my neighbour considers to be a good beer. I would say a good beer needs to be well-made, and it should give the drinker pleasure.
So a beer sommelier – how do you become that?
To be a beer sommelier I passed four training courses with the Beer & Cider Academy. The final part of the training was the blind tasting. I had to taste and describe the beers and identify what style they were. I also had to identify faults in beer. I had to compile a beer and food matching menu. I passed all those elements and that is how I became an accredited beer sommelier. A year later I entered a competition and won it to become Britain’s First Beer Sommelier of the Year.
Is there a special historic moment in beer, that you think is crucial for the industry and the whole culture of drinking this beautiful beverage?
The most important period for the modern beer industry was when it became legal to brew beer at home in the USA. This was in the late 1980s. Those home brewers were inspired by the beers brewed in Europe – especially those from Britain (e.g. India Pale Ale, Porter and Stout) and they started brewing their own versions of the beers with the big powerful hops that grow in the USA, They also experimented by adding other ingredients such as coffee, and by creating hybrid styles. Some home brewers established commercial breweries such as Sierra Nevada, Anchor, O’Dells. This was the start of the Craft Beer Revolution that has now spread around the world. Now we have small independent breweries everywhere in the world creating big flavoured beers and there is huge enthusiasm for beers made on a small scale by local brewers. I think this is the best time to be a beer drinker because we have so much choice. There are fantastic independent beer shops offering a diverse range of beers, there is even a burger bar near Mercator Šiška that serves delicious local beers with the equally delicious burgers. That would not be possible without the revolution that started in the USA. Without that revolution the beer scene would still be dominated by the international brewing corporations that brew lightly flavoured pale lagers.
You work with a lot of people, breweries. Would you mind telling us, what's your favorite experience so far?
I have two favourites. One is that I hosted the World’s Largest Beer Tasting Tutorial (1,236 people) and broke the Guinness World Record. The other favourite is the pub tours that I host for overseas visitors to London. We have such fun getting to know each other and learning about each other’s cultures. We start as strangers and after the first beer we are friends. That’s is the magic of beer!
If it's not too intrusive, what is your favorite beer and why?
I do not have a favourite because it depends on the weather, the location, and the people I am with. To me, beer tastes better when consumed in company and if we are having a great time together then the beer tastes great too. There is one beer that I dream about regularly. It is called Duchesse de Bourgogne. It is brewed in Belgium and is a sour beer aged in oak barrels. It is incredibly complex with intense sour fruit, pepper, Balsamic vinegar, and Sherry flavours, It is an extraordinary beer and is the one that I use to convert people who say they do not drink beer. The Duchesse de Bourgogne is a bridge that leads wine and cider drinkers to beer.
In May, you visited Ljubljana and our Mercator Šiška market, where we had beer tasting. How did you like the collection of beers we offer to our customers?
The British beers at Mercator Šiška market include some of Britain’s best loved brands from the traditional family brewers and large brewing companies. The range showed off some of the best-known British styles too – Stout, India Pale Ale, Bitter. Those brands and styles are the safe choice for a big company like Mercator because they are the beers that the company knows will sell!
What's your perception of beer drinking in Slovenia – what conclusions can you give us?
I have visited Slovenia twice and met many beer drinkers! I have also tasted some excellent beers brewed by local independent breweries. Each beer I tried was high flavoured and was high alcohol. The local brewers are definitely inspired by American craft brewing. My impression is that because the Slovenian beer market is dominated by the brewing giants that brew light flavoured pale lager, the independent brewers are giving customers a choice by brewing beers (ales) that are highly flavoured.
How did you like Slovenia, and what's your favorite Slovenian beer?
I really like Slovenia. The wine is fantastic. I really like the architecture in the old city of Llubjiana. The food is fabulous. Everyone I have met has been hospitable and friendly. And everything is so clean! The air, the streets, the countryside look and feel clean and natural. I really enjoyed the beers I drank from Barut Brewery and also Bevog Brewery. Does Bevog count as a Slovenian brewery even though it is in Austria?
What would you recommend to young beer enthusiasts?
Drink many different styles of beer from around the world. Read the blogs and books of the veteran beer experts because they know what they are talking about. Have respect for the traditional breweries that have been in business for decades/centuries. Just because those breweries are not brewing ‘craft’ beer does not make them boring.
Minister za zdravje opozarja: Uživanje alkohola lahko škoduje.