Tap tales: Rebecca Pate, Five Points Brewing Co

Rebecca, or Bex for short, has been living in London since 2006 and is now based in Stratford, East London. After spending enough time in taprooms across the capital and meeting other passionate drinkers, she began writing about her experiences. She is the founder and editor of Brewing East, an East London beer blog. She became an accredited Beer Sommelier in October 2018, judged in the Beer Masters run by the drinks business this year, and is currently working as the events and marketing coordinator at The Five Points Brewing Company. Here she talks about her love of wheat beer, her favourite English hop, and why porter and blue cheese are the ultimate pairing.

When did you first get into beer?

I started writing and blogging about beer after moving to East London in 2013. My blog, Brewing East (www.brewingeast.com), gave me the excuse to spend most of my free time in local taprooms. Through osmosis, I became as passionate about good beer as the people who surrounded me.

Which brew sparked your love of beer?

Magic Rock’s Salty Kiss was the first beer that converted me. An accessible Gose is a fantastic way to get into beer because it’s simultaneously interesting and thirst-quenching.

What would you be as a beer?

I want to say a wheat beer, but that’s because I’ve always been a fan. Maybe a Wit, with interesting aromas of orange peel and coriander and a rounded, effervescent body. I think I mean to say that I suppose I’m mildly complex, but mostly pretty easy-going!

What is your favourite hop variety and why?

After enjoying a number of green-hopped beers this year, I’m appreciating some traditional English hops. Recently, I’ve been loving Bramling Cross with its nuances of blackcurrant and citrus.

Who is your inspiration in the beer world?

All of the great women who are making their presence felt in the industry have spurred me on; this naturally includes journalist Melissa Cole and some of my colleagues and fellow beer sommeliers, Natalya Watson and Francesca Slattery.

Where are you happiest?

Travelling to any beer destination. I finally got around to visiting Pilsen, Czech Republic, this year and absolutely loved it.

What is your greatest vice?

Occasionally sticking to the old favourites when I should be trying what’s new on the taps. I often get palate fatigue.

What are the best and worst things about the beer industry?

The best thing about the beer industry is undoubtedly the people in it and their passion for the product that they make, sell or market. I have met so many friends for life during my own beer journey.

The worst thing is that I find it difficult to keep up with hype and trends; with so many breweries opening and launching new beers or bars around London, I struggle to keep up!

What is your proudest achievement in beer?

Becoming an accredited beer sommelier. It was a lot of work, blind tastings and off-flavours training, but it gave me such an invaluable overview of many traditional styles that I’d never encountered.

What is your ultimate beer and food pairing?

Right now? A robust porter and blue cheese works a treat. The beautiful roasted malts of the porter offer a bitterness that cuts through the creamy blue cheese. It really works! A kriek and dark chocolate gets me every time as well. But there’s nothing better than beer and cheese, that’s a fact.

Which beer style do you find it impossible to get along with?

Maybe an Irish Red, but that’s because I had one that threw me during my sommelier assessment. I’m sure that I can still be converted, though.

If you weren’t working in beer, what would you be doing?

I’ve already career-transitioned from working in the City to working in beer, so I hope that I’ve finally found what I’m looking for!

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