The brewing of beer in China has changed over the years, yes it still encompasses the mega breweries but increasingly there are smaller breweries popping up all over the country.
This has increased the demand for knowledge and expertise and into this field has stepped Neil Playfoot.
Neil is a brewer and brewing consultant with many years experience in this field.
His current project is a 20HL brewery in Kunming China.
Neil is a British trained brewer and has been brewing beer since he was 17; (so he was making beer he couldn’t legally drink).
His first job in London was working for Freedom, at the time the UK’s only lager microbrewery.
He spent 3 years there; where he learnt to make traditional lager beer according to the Reinheitsgebot purity laws of 1516.
It was quite usual at that time for a British brewer to have lager as a specialty.
He later went on to make traditional ales working for Scottish and Newcastle running the brewing operation for the two brewpubs in London.
While there he held the wonderful title of Head Brewer Scottish and Newcastle (as all their beer for their pub estate were made by Courage).
When he first headed overseas he went on to brew in a number of countries; travelling in-between jobs.
His first gig outside the UK was with Frogpubs in Paris making beer for their four brewpubs in the city.
They were British style brewpubs making real ales so a natural continuation of his career and an easy transition for his first position outside the UK.
He was there two years.
After that he went to Bermuda.
In Bermuda it’s very seasonal with 85% of all beer sold during the cruise ship season (May to November).
I was brewing beer to be sold to US clientele coming off the ships.
So, for instance making US style IPA’s with higher IBU’s than previously for my English IPA’s.
This introduced him to new styles like Amber Ale and making wheat beers in volume for the first time.
After 4 years in Bermuda he felt like he needed a new challenge.
Asia was this mystical place he had always wanted to see.
It was then that an opportunity presented itself to brew for a small brewery called Bad Monkey in Dali…naturally he jumped at the chance to have an Asian adventure.
This article is the first in a series on the man himself and a dive into his background and experience.
We hope that you enjoy this series where we will attempt to bring the human side as well as the professional side to the subjects of our articles.
Yours in brewing,