My life in beer: Neil Morrissey

In the Nineties, Neil Morrissey became a lager-swilling icon in Men Behaving Badly, now he's brewing his own ale


Have you always been a real ale drinker? If not how and when were you converted?

My first ever pint was in Stoke and it was a Marston's Pedigree, so I've always drunk real ale. There are quality lagers though, like Pilsner Urquell and Budvar. I'm often tempted to have one of these on a hot day.

How did you and Richard meet?

We met via Hugo Speer at Virgin Radio's first birthday party and we quickly realised we shared a passion for real ale and gastronomy. We haven't looked back – it's been over a decade now.

Why did you decide to get yourself involved in brewing?

Love of beer and English gastronomy. It started with a recipe idea for what we think of as the perfect beer that we previously had trouble finding.

Did you originally decide just to do some homebrew – or did you aim big from the start?

We always aimed big. But we decided to do our testing and flavour profiling in the safety of our own kitchen with a home brew.

Were any people surprised in light of your lager drinking alter ego in Men Behaving Badly?

Hopefully, your average Independent reader can discern between a television character and a real person.

How many ales do you produce?

Our flagship ale is the Blonde ale and we do several seasonal beers – Aussie IPA, Spooky for Halloween, Mulled Ale for Christmas – and the Brunette – which is a traditional English bitter.

What's your favourite Morrissey Fox ale – and why?

It depends on what I'm eating, where I am and the mood I'm in. In sum, all of them, at different times – otherwise I wouldn't put my name behind them.

What lessons about brewing have you learned along the way?

The importance of accurate sparging! This is the process of sprinkling water over the mash. Also, cleanliness – it takes more water to clean down than it takes to brew. Brewing is a very complex process and there are lots of pernickety things to master.

A lot of chefs are pairing food and ale – any suggestions on the perfect accompaniment to your beers?

The normal rules of food and drink matching apply to our beers. For example, our blonde ale – which is a fragrant, citrusy, light coloured ale – would be great with light fresh fish dishes and summery salads as well as fish and chips. As opposed to the Aussie IPA – which is a hoppy, more complex beer, but still with the signature Morrissey Fox citrus notes. Its subtle effervescence cuts through meats such as pork and duck – from burgers to boar.

Are you planning on brewing any seasonal ales this year?

Yes! We're in development for several seasonal beers – Christmas, Halloween – and a new English lager.

Have you met any other celebrity brewers out there – and how does their beer compare to yours?

We haven't met any "celebrity" brewers but we think all great brewers deserve to have celebrity recognition as masters of great recipes – just like great chefs.

Apart from your own ales – what's your favourite pint?

When in Yorkshire, the Rooster Brewery puts out many excellent ales. In the Midlands, the Blue Monkey Brewery. It depends on where you are in the world – in Belgium, the great Trappist ales.

What is it about cask ale that sets it apart from other beers?

It's a live, unpasteurised product. It only has a certain shelf life, so drink it when it is at its peak and it cannot be beaten.

Have you found it hard to convert your mates to real ale?

No. For those few resisting its beauty, I used Derren Brown techniques. For the more stubborn, a gun.

Does your partner like a pint now and again?

Yes. Of wine. And she enjoys our Mulled Ale.

What is your idea of an ideal Sunday?

Going to my local farmers' market to pick up ingredients, stopping in a local pub for a pint, and then cooking up a Sunday lunch for my friends and family.

Neil Morrissey and Richard Fox will be bringing a taste of Britain to the World Cup in South Africa 2010. They are taking a truckload of their beers, and those of other microbreweries, on a trip through Africa, finishing at the World Cup. 'Men Brewing Badly' will be on ITV4 later this year

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot