We headed down to the Junction in Harborne, Birmingham for the Tiny Rebel “Meet the Brewer” event, with Co-founder Bradley Cummings. Tiny Rebel has exploded onto the scene since they started commercially brewing in Newport, Wales back in 2012. They are currently both the youngest and only Welsh brewery to win Champion Beer of Britain, holding a ridiculous amount of awards! We had the pleasure of visiting both their taproom and brewery in Newport and their other taproom in Cardiff back in August, which was EPIC, so we could not wait!
Brad kicked things off by handing out Dutty, their Vermont Session IPA, a classic go-to brew for us. A super juicy brew, with a low bitterness making it easily drinkable! He then gave us the lo-down on Tiny Rebel’s history…
Brad was involved in industrial air conditioning, he had a passion for beer but was fed up with the bland brews that were in the pub. He then met Gazz and they started home brewing together around 2008. Gazz’s Grandfather was an avid home brewer and taught him to home brew, he then passed this knowledge onto Brad. They then spent the next couple of years brewing over the weekends.
At first they produced a lot of cask beer, as this is what they tended to drink. Then in 2009 many pubs started to close down, the UK was well in recession, so they both spent a couple of hundred towards some grain from Germany to start brewing with some decent kit, until going full-time and commercial in 2012.
When talking about the name Tiny Rebel, Brad said, “It comes from wanting to be small and different.” After coming across a designer in Swindon (still with them to this day), their legendary logo was created.
We then cracked open Cwtch (meaning cuddle in Welsh), the first Welsh Champion Beer of Britain.
“We wanted [Cwtch] to be a modern bitter, blending traditional style bitters like Brains The Rev James, with the more modern citra styles of Oakham Ales. It’s a classic example of Gazz’s traditional view on beer mixed in with my hop-forward thinking. It was designed for cask over keg, but it works in both,” he said, reminiscing.
When talking about Cwtch picking up the award Brad said “We didn’t realise until the last minute that we were up for it.” He continued with a cheeky grin on his face “To the point, we booked a limo down because it was cheaper than train tickets… we got a free bottle of bubbly too!”
Things were going peachy, until a random shopper in Cumbria made a complaint to the Portman Group after comparing the artwork to a can of pop.
“The main reason for us setting up a brewery was to show our personality and Cwtch is inspired by Austin Powers’ psychedelic feel.”
Unfortunately they lost the court battle and had to change the artwork.
Next up was Clwb Tropicana, an incredibly easy going IPA, with a blast of tropical fruit, it smells and tastes gorgeous!
When talking about this fantastic creation Brad said “Brewing a beer can start with a name, ingredient, there’s no hidden formula and to be fair, some of our best beers are off the cuff! The idea from this came from our childhood, we always drank Lilt, so our mission with this one was how can we make Lilt like a beer. It took a lot of time experimenting with different fruits but we got there in the end!”
Our opinion…mission accomplished indeed guys!
The final brew of the night was not one to miss. Stay Puft, is a Ghostbusters inspired brew that is a marshmallow porter where they throw in vanilla to replicate marshmallow…yum, the perfect dessert!
Wrapping up on the evening and talking about his vision for Tiny Rebel, Brad said that they still have a long way to go but they intend to grow organically. He’s had to take a back seat on brewing so he can run the company that now has over 100 employees. One thing’s for sure though, Tiny Rebel are going to continue to grow and become a powerful influence on the UK’s beer scene!