When looking across the craft beer landscape, one could argue that there is a sense of familiarity across the board. Rightly or wrongly, we have become wrapped in the safety blanket that is the haze craze, with big, hoppy and juicy beers the order of play for the last couple of years. But that’s not quite the case for Pig Love, run by Venezuelan duo Marcos and Jesus, they do things differently.
Initially launching with their Phantasticum series, they wanted to make beers that reflected their heritage and traditions from South America. It’s worth mentioning that even their name is an English translation of the Venezuelan phrase ‘cochino amor’, used to describe a passion so strong it becomes dirty like a pig in mud. They started life cuckoo brewing at Quirky Ales in Garforth, but things have come along since then as Marcos explained, “It has been a crazy, busy year for us, since we now have our own brewing equipment, we basically haven’t stopped brewing which is amazing.”
“We have also opened our second venue at the Climate Innovation District in Leeds which has helped us to reach more customers. Also, we have been working since February on the new Qaawa series; running trials, experimenting with new ingredients and beer styles,” he went on to explain. Their newly launched Qaawa series (pronounced ka-wa) once again showcases their heritage, following the Mayan holistic approach, which was a complex blend of mind, body, religion, ritual and science.
Each beer in this series follows the steps the Mayans use/d to treat mental health; Hypermnesia (Intuition), Spirits Arise (Realisation) and Cosmovision (Acknowledgement). All three beers feature a core ingredient, the spice Achiote (a symbol of divinity and power), with their preceeding series’ also using a central ingredient. But using unusual ingredients isn’t always an easy task as Marcos tells me, “We started working on the series’ concept in February this year; sourcing ingredients, beer styles and new brewing technology. We brewed each beer at least 3 times (on a small scale) until we got to the flavour profile we were looking for.”
Despite the world still partially in meltdown, the Pig Love pair haven’t been blighted by shortages of ingredients, even those from the other side of the world. “Fortunately we haven’t suffered that much due to the fact that we still brew on a reasonably small scale, the problem has been with the prices of ingredients which sometimes can be much more expensive than we anticipated,” Marcos advised.
Whilst some breweries do things differently for the sake of being different, it’s refreshing to see Pig Love adding their unique twist to established styles to add to the experience, rather than creating a gimmick. They are, however, looking to tick the barrel-ageing box after experimenting with the stout Phantasticum Limbus, “We are working on setting up our barrel ageing program at the brewery from next year, so definitely we will try to barrel age and cask brew from this new series,” says Marcos.
The craft beer scene may have an air of familiarity about it, but Pig Love break the status quo and prove there’s space for something new and creative within it. After a quiet few months, I’m sure this new series from Marcos and Jesus will get people excited given their previous successes.