GUAVA HAVE FAITH
It was a Friday afternoon in late September, the sun was shining, and desk beers were flowing. The mood in the office was upbeat. After working from home and having nothing but a skeleton crew on-site for months, there was more of us in than there had been for some time.
Grace put a question to the office, “Has anyone heard of any issues with Guava Have Faith?” The answer was no, the beer had been enjoyed by everyone who had tried it internally, but to be on the safe side, our Production Manager Ben went to speak to our Technical Manager Fraser, and check the QC stock. From the QC cans analysed, there was a slight sediment issue in one of the cans. We were a little concerned, but most of the QC stock was fine, the reviews coming through were positive, and we hadn’t found any issues when drinking it ourselves.
As the weeks went on, issues with sediment became increasingly frequent, and with each one our collective hearts sank. We had brewed Guava Have Faith before, and it was great at first, but in time, it developed issues with sediment too.
Since we brewed that first batch, and to try and rectify our mistakes for the second batch, we changed our process for fruit additions, and tweaked the recipe. We had positive results adding fruit earlier in fermentation, allowing any enzymatic reactions and flocculation to occur in the controlled environment of the brewery if it needed to. We had a base recipe for the style that we trusted, and our QC procedures had improved greatly since the first iteration of the beer, with force-ferments, twice daily pH checks, and pre- and post-pack checks all indicating that we had an in-specification product.
Obviously, those changes were not enough. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and again but expecting different results. Here we were…
Whilst we were still getting positive reviews, and it was clear that the issue had not affected every can, we made the decision to get the ball rolling with a recall. As such, Guava Have Faith is no longer available to purchase. Anyone who contacted us with an issue has been offered a credit. Innovation is at the heart of Northern Monk, and with that comes an increased potential for error. However, quality is also at the core of our business – and in this instance we let you down. We want to apologise for that.
In 2015 we had four brewers, Brian, Ads, Ben and Fraser. They had a collective sum of 0 years commercial brewing experience. That founding brew team remains with us now, leading our brewing today. This team has now brewed on our kit over 2,000 times, creating more than 200 unique beers, and clocking up ~40,000 hours between them. (To be fair – Brian rarely gets on the brew kit these days).
There is a principle that any discipline takes 10,000 hours for you to truly master. Whilst we would certainly never claim to be masters (in our internal tasting panels we have a 5/5 score deemed Mythical, if we ever hit that, we’re all going to retire), on the whole we feel that our beer is tasting better than it ever has. Whether it’s the innovation coming out of the Old Flax Store, the latest Patrons Project drop, or the consistency of Faith, we’re incredibly proud of what the team has achieved in the last few months. In two recent blind tastings, Faith beat out 30 beers in New England, Hazy Pale or IPA categories – these were from breweries both across the UK and cold shipped from the US. These batches were rated 3.75 or 4 in our internal tastings. We’ve always felt Faith on form was a truly special beer, we’re really excited for it to consistently shine in the way we know it can.
From humble backgrounds, and with little experience, we set out to try and create some of the best beer experiences in the world. We are human, we are committed to beer in all its forms, and we’re not afraid of experimenting with different adjuncts and ingredients. This does mean that sometimes things won’t go exactly to plan. However, we’re doing everything that we can to ensure that our levels of quality and consistency remain high.
We’re confident that the liquid going into can now is some of the best we’ve ever made, and our best is yet to come.
Thanks for keeping the Faith in us.