North-East brewery S43 has appointed senior craft brewer Alex Rattray to diversify its offering, with a range of progressive new beers yielded from an American craft beer style.

The award-winning brewery, currently best known for English cask ales, has recently rebranded, evolving from Sonnet 43 Brew House to simply S43.

Alex Rattray Sonnet 43Although the brewery has always believed in non-conformity and deviation, Alex’s blend of quirky inventiveness through American craft is set to radically change S43’s beer releases.

While S43’s current range of English cask and keg ales will be managed by head brewer Michael Harker, Alex (pictured) will explore beer styles ranging from intensely dry-hopped IPAs to barrel-aged imperial stouts and sours.

Alex has acquired more than ten years’ experience of craft brewing in San Antonio, Texas. To ensure his techniques filter through to the new beer profiles, S43 has brought all kegging and canning in house to control every step of the production process.

Alex Rattray will be working with innovative and experimental ingredients and processes, such as hybrid hops and new liquid yeast strains.

S43’s brewery manager, Alan Brown, said: “Alex’s ingenuity is something that we can’t wait to embrace. He has self-titled himself the ‘yeast-wrangler’ because he loves nothing more than delving into the mad science of the recipe to ensure the ingredients perfectly complement the chosen character of the beer. Every beer is a hand-crafted masterpiece to Alex!”

The new senior brewer is set to make his first mark with the release two craft beers in the early months of 2019: a double IPA with an ABV of about 8.5%, and a New England IPA at 6.5%.

The brewery has made a substantial financial investment in its plant, allowing Alex access to the tools he will need. The investment includes bright beer tanks that will facilitate kegging on site, plus modifications that incorporate a whirlpool system, providing a better utilisation of modern hop formats.


‘Modern techniques and bold flavours’


Alex said: “I’m extremely excited for this adventure, not just in my career, but in my personal life, too. My family and I have relocated here from Texas, which is something we’ve always wanted to do.

“I first admired English cask ales when I visited London at the age of 18, however, I’m very eager to introduce the modern techniques and bold flavours of American craft brewing to S43.

“The biggest pull for me was that S43 are so keen to embrace this exciting new trend in the market. I would lose my sanity working on the same beer profiles day in and day out. I enjoy trying new things all of the time, and I know I have the creative freedom to do that at S43.”

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