More Monk Than Punk with Northern Monk's founder, Russell Bisset

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Hailing from Leeds, sometimes referred to as the ‘London of the North’, Northern Monk began underground in a damp cellar with little more than £5000 – a gift from founder Russell Bisset’s grandparents – and an adventurous northern spirit.

Since those heady days of reinvesting the profits into a sesh on the beers , Bisset and head brewer Brian Dickson quickly pulled ahead in the British beer scene, embracing a wide variety of beer styles, all brewed to exceeding high standards.

In addition core range beers such as Heathen – a resinous tropical IPA – and the soft, smoothing juiciness of its smaller counterpart, Faith, Northern Monk deliver a wide range of beers from light 2.8% Striding Edge – a beer that carries an immense amount of flavour for a beer so small – to colossal Imperial Stouts left to mature in bourbon barrels and Triple IPAs bursting with sticky hoppiness.

Their striving for creative perfection doesn’t stop there: the Patreon’s Project fosters a collaboration between the brewery, artists and athletes across the North of England.

Cross pollinating ideas with creatives, each project is treated in the same way that you’d approach buying a vinyl record: the anticipation of collecting it from the record store and sitting with the artwork – in this case a peel-and-reveal label containing information on the collaboration – and devouring the contents in a thoughtful, reflective manner.

if that wasn’t enough, Northern Monk have host two of the most revered beer festivals in the annual calendar. Hop City in spring and Dark City in the autumn celebrate the very best in hop-forward or dark and wild beers with a huge array of national and international brewers pouring across sessions at their respective festivals.

If you’ve never experienced these events for yourself, hosted at The Refectory above The Old Flax Store, then you truly haven’t lived.

Northern Monk have established themselves well beyond the confines of this small but arguably great nation and are sold in no less than 23 countries across the world. Not bad considering the brewery, a mere 7 years old this year, started in a damp cellar in Leeds.

But Northern Monk still have plenty of tricks left up their sleeve even with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

In this episode, recorded on a snowy January day, Russell joins me to talk about everything monk: the quaint beginnings and stories from yesteryear, their unlikely pilgrimage up a mountain to brew a high ABV beer at even higher altitudes, how the business has had to adapt over the years, and the various creative endeavours that these pioneering free spirits have brought to the craft beer scene.


This Week’s Episode is Sponsored By…

Support for this episode comes from Lallemand Brewing.

Lallemand Brewing, a division of Lallemand Inc., a global producer of yeast and bacteria, is helping breweries achieve their growth and quality goals by offering products, services, and education.

Lallemand Brewing’s premium brewing yeasts and bacteria deliver unmatched consistency, reliability, and purity, allowing brewers to take full control of the brewing process.

At the forefront of innovation, Lallemand Brewing recently launched several dry yeast products: LalBrew Voss, LalBrew Verdant IPA, and WilBrew Philly Sour.

For more information about Lallemand products in the UK please contact our local representative Andrew Paterson, global contacts details for the UK and other territories can be found via our website www.lallemandbrewing.com