Balance Brewing & Blending was founded by James Horrocks and Will Harris. They have been working in the Manchester brewing scene for several years with current day jobs at Squawk Brewing Co. and Track Brewing Co. respectively. By night they are building Balance Brewing & Blending, a mixed-culture, barrel fermentation project. Balance has existed embryonically ever since the two of us crossed paths working for a wild and sour focussed brewery in Manchester.
Will Harris, Co-Director at BB&B gave us the background story while visiting our farm during the 2021 harvest.
“Our shared love of mixed fermentation and spontaneously fermented beer led us to the conclusion that we needed to start up our own project. We want to be in control of all aspects, from recipe development to production to label design and everything in between.
Simple ingredients, complex flavours.
Through developing our ideas for recipes, future direction, and discussing what kind of company we wanted to run we arrived at Balance, a name that succinctly describes exactly what we’re setting out to achieve. We make thoughtfully considered, barrel fermented beers inspired by the traditions of the UK, Belgium, France and Germany amongst many others. Simple in their ingredients yet complex and constantly evolving in flavour, they are meant to be shared and enjoyed together.
One of our main focuses and something which we want to become a real representation and expression of who we are as a brewery and blendery is the British hopped Saison. Utilising the finest malt and hops we can and drawing from a range of barrels to create an ever-developing range of complex yet drinkable, balanced, approachable beers. British hops present unique characters which we feel lend themselves particularly well to tart, funky mixed fermentation beers. Aromatic, floral, spicy and fruity, we want to capture these qualities and showcase the best quality hops in the best way possible.
That’s where Brook House Hops come in. Having used their hops in our brewing careers over the past few years and with sustainability paramount in our brewing ethos, there was really only one choice for the quality of product we had in mind. We went to visit the farm during the 2021 harvest, and we were pretty blown away by the attention to detail and the focus on quality at all points in the process from growing to picking to processing to packing. The hop rubbing during our visit was brilliant and the first time that we’ve picked up the aromas of blackcurrant so distinctly in Bramling Cross. A beautifully aromatic example of this wonderful hop and one which we will definitely be using in our beers going forward.
Being able to be involved and see what happens in person on a thoroughly enjoyable and informative day at the farm really cemented Brook House as the place we want to get our hops from. As a brand new company, we felt incredibly welcome and really appreciate how personal and close to the team we feel, having met nearly everyone involved in person.
Sustainability with local sourcing are key
As the focus on ethical, environmentally minded choices within the beer industry becomes more poignant, we feel that the only way for us to continue doing what we do with peace of mind is to ensure that all of our practices and ingredients are the most sustainable and have the lowest environmental footprint possible. This means sourcing locally and developing our sustainability initiatives continually as we grow. Brewing is very energy and water intensive so there must be a focus on reducing the impacts of these aspects across the spectrum of breweries in the UK, from the smallest to the largest.
Sebastian Nielsen, Brook House Hops Sales and Marketing Director, gave them a tour of the farm during harvest. “We’re delighted that James and Will have chosen to use our hops. They are at the forefront of a new generation of highly skilled brewers and have developed a unique and exciting approach to brewing that expertly combines flavour and depth in a range of modern drinkable beers. We knew from the moment we met them on the hop walk that they also share an appreciation and passion for using the finest quality locally sourced ingredients. They simply couldn’t wait to get into the hop yards to get that unforgettable hop aroma experience first-hand! We look forward to working with them closely as they grow their business over the years as we know they’ll always get the very best from our lovingly grown hops.“