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Real ale enthusiasts resurrect Truman's, Brick Lane's long lost beer

PUBLISHED: 16:15 21 July 2010 | UPDATED: 16:16 05 October 2010

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AFTER more than two decades without producing a single drop, the world famous Truman Brewery in Brick Lane has begun making beer again. Real ale enthusiasts Michael-George Hemus and James Morgan, based in Spitalfields Elder Street, acquired the Truman s

AFTER more than two decades without producing a single drop, the world famous Truman Brewery in Brick Lane has begun making beer again.

Real ale enthusiasts Michael-George Hemus and James Morgan, based in Spitalfields' Elder Street, acquired the Truman's name earlier this year and now the first barrels have rolled off the production line and are ready to drink.

Truman's, which started life in Brick Lane in 1666, was once the world's biggest brewery but the growing popularity in continental style lagers meant the brewery was closed in 1989.

But CAMRA members James and Michael-George, fascinated by the brewery's history, spent two years in negotiations with Truman's owners Courage and Heineken before they were able to start brewing.

Michael-George said: "It took a really long time for us to get hold of the name because Truman's owners Courage were bought by Heineken last year. It held things up a lot but things have finally got going."

The pair's first beer, Truman's Runner, is now available in a handful of East End pubs.

"It's a bit tricky getting our beer into pubs because most of them are tied to pub companies," explained James.

"But we're on as a guest ale in some and we're on permanently in a few."

James, who already works in the beverage industry, and product designer Michael-George spent hours poring over Truman's history in the London Metropolitan Archives.

They carried out extensive research into old recipes, have found the original foundations on which they plan to build their business, and are in touch with former brewers.

"We've got a great starting point with the old recipes," said Michael-George. "And it would be very easy for us to look back but what we want is for Truman's to be a beer for the 21st century, not a historical beer."

Truman's no longer has a brewery to call its own after the Black Eagle Brewery was sold in 1989, but friends of James and Michael-George at Nethergate brewery in Suffolk have turned over part of their operation to the production of Truman's Runner.

But the plan is to rebuild Truman's in its heartland, firstly by supplying pubs in the capital and then by building a new brewery in east London.

James said: "Our dream is to eventually bring Truman's back to east London where it belongs, to the people it belongs to.


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