At June’s meeting our speaker was Vicky Helsby from Bristol brewers Wiper & True.

Drawn to work at Wiper & True by their simple and elegant branding Vicky has been part of the team for the last 3 years and can be found in the Tap Room most Saturdays talking all things brewing.

In the past 5 years Wiper & True has gone from being home-brewed and sold at local Bristol markets to being stocked in Waitrose nationally. During that time they have collaborated with lots of other brewers by renting equipment and sharing space, all the while tweaking their processes and recipes to achieve the ultimate goal: great tasting beer! The recipes still vary slightly with each brew and for that reason the batch number is always printed on their labels.

Alewives were the original brewers who brewed for their household. When they had an excess they would sell it on. Broomsticks indicated they had beer to sell but unfortunately played a part in driving them out of the industry because of links made to witchcraft. With brewing carried out in cauldrons, cats kept to keep mice off their grains, pointy hats worn so they could easily be spotted when selling at markets and the side effects of the botanicals used in their brews said to be bewitching, brewing became man’s work.

Wiper & True currently employ equal numbers of men and women and are actively encouraging women into the industry and to drink beer. Every bottle of their beer demonstrates this as the branding is intentionally kept simple, accessible and gender neutral. This year the brewery also marked International Women’s Day by releasing XX, a beer created by the women at Wiper & True.

Vicky talked about the 4 key ingredients: water, malt, hops, yeast. We nibbled grains of malt and had a good sniff of some hops then tested our pallets on two different beers. First up was best selling tropical pale ale Bristol Crush, inspired by grapefruit flavours of the Caribbean drink Ting. The second was milk stout called Milk Shake since the idea for it came from that very thing and you can definitely taste the vanilla and cacao shining through.

There are a selection of photos from the evening below.