Bath-based nano brewery Hubris Id was 10-years in the making before Johnny Clayton, the self-styled Tony Stark of Brewing, launched it officially in January 2016. He prides himself on the company’s “varied and often experimental” beers. He is currently working on a core range, including several different IPAs and pale ales, under the Hubris Id concept of ‘doing what you desire and doing it well’.
Johnny: “Quite a few years ago I was sat at my desk job (in finance at the time) and I quite literally Googled: how do you make beer. It went from there really. I’ve always wanted to combine the scientific with the creative in my work. Hubris Id officially started in January 2016, but the idea had been in the back of my mind for a while, probably about 10 years, when I made my first awful ginger wine. I’m glad to say things have come a very long way since those days.”
Johnny was taken on as a brewer at Somerset’s Wild Beer Co in 2012, which gave him the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed to run a steadily growing brewery.
Johnny: “I always wanted my work to have both a creative and scientific side to it and I think it’s most brewers dream to own their own brewery – to have their own creative control over the product. So after several years in the industry and when the opportunity arose I went for it. Currently I run the entire operation myself, from conceptual ideas, brewing and sales to packaging the final product. I do the lot myself, except for the design work which is done by Adam Dale.”
As well as Hubris Id’s core range of beers, Johnny said that the company is becoming really known for its unusual creations. These include: Cream Soda, a 6% pale ale, which tastes exactly like its namesake; Danko Bananko, a banana and chocolate sundae stout; Dirty Little Secret, a 7% American Pale Ale with flavours of apricot, orange, marshmallow, toffee, pine, and pink pepper; and SCNCBW, a 9.2% sour cherry barley wine and Johnny’s personal favourite, which tastes just like a “dessert in a glass”.
Johnny: “None of them can be mediocre, there’s just no room for poor beer in the market now. People have tasted good beer and want it more than ever, the breweries which are producing sub standard quality will soon fall by the wayside. I make all the brews in my tiny brewery at home in Bath. I have two kits which can produce 25-litres and 100-litres respectively. Although due to space constraints I tend to favour the smaller kit at the moment. There’s a lot involved in upscaling and there’s more options available these day such as cuckoo brewing where you don’t need to buy a new premises and all the gear – you simply use someone else’s.”
Despite his curious and interesting flavours, Johnny prides himself on the need to use high quality ingredients, instead of flavoured essences. It’s the only way that he can guarantee that his beers “taste amazing, without exception”. And, he admits, that the company’s name is also quite unusual.
Johnny: “Hubris is excessive pride or self-confidence, and Id (not ID as many people seem to think) is the part of the mind associated with instinctual desires. So in a nutshell Hubris Id was born of confidence and desire, but it’s more than just a name. It’s a sign of self belief as well as a reminder to strive to be humble and be passionately creative in a totally unconstrained manner. It’s about doing what you love, standing up for yourself, and sticking two fingers up to the people who say you can’t.”
Johnny’s love of beer is clear, but why does he love Somerset?
Johnny: “Somerset has treated me very well. It’s where I met my wife and where I found my vocation. The beer scene is incredible here and it also has some of the most amazing people in the world living here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”