Fyne Folk – Pawel Nowak, Head of Origins Brewing
Welcome to this week’s Fyne Folk, our blog introducing Fyne Ales team members and talking to them about their experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we welcome more of our team back in the glen, we want to share their stories from lockdown, how they’ve been coping and what their hopes are for a post-pandemic brewery and world.
This week’s blog feature Pawel Nowak, who you may have recently seen starring alongside Fyne Ales MD Jamie in our Exploring Origins tasting videos over on Youtube! Pawel joined the Fyne Ales team in late December 2019, moving from sunny Lisbon to less sunny Glen Fyne to take over our Origins Brewing project – we caught up to him to find out how he’s adjusted to life in rural Scotland and life in lockdown.
You didn’t get a lot of time to adapt to living in Glen Fyne before everything started changing due to the pandemic – how has your experience been over the past seven months?
Before I moved, I was really looking forward to escaping to the middle of nowhere and getting closer to nature and the pandemic has allowed me plenty of time to get used to the pace of rural life.
I feel lucky to live here, as part of a small, close community – despite the anxiety in the air around the pandemic, everyone was very supportive of each other – and I definitely made the most of the time and sunny and dry weather to explore Glen Fyne; We did lots with lots of long hikes and bird watching sessions.
As well as social distancing, I opted to do some media distancing and cut myself off from the constant news cycle as much as possible – I believe it helped me avoid all the contradictory stories and conspiracy theories and headaches that come with them.
So you’ve been using your time in the glen well and keeping busy?
To be honest, out of the two months I spent at home I can’t really recall one single boring day.
The highlights were mastering some new baking skills as well as some new fruit and veg fermentations – I made some tepache, sauerkraut and fermented some foraged wild garlic. The most satisfying thing is that it became my tasty routine. Also it was a good opportunity to finally set up my workbench for little DIY projects. I can’t remember drilling so many holes in my life!
Hopefully, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I tried to squeeze out of it as much as I could.
You mention you’ve been eating well – what about drinking?
I got to know the Fyne Ales beers and Origins Brewing beers really well, but also spent some time exploring a little bit of British craft beer scene. I enjoyed some really good brews from Thornbridge, Cloudwater and London Beer Factory – I’m looking forward to trying more!
How are you feeling as we’re slowly coming out of lockdown and starting to establish a new normal?
I really hope we won’t forget about the virus quickly and continue respecting the safety rules we put in place – we all need to acquire new habits and be prepared if something similar happens again. I hope that we all will be able to work together, be sensible and respect each other.
I understand that some people will be a little hesitant about going back to bars and pubs, but I hope they continue to buy beer online and support local and independent breweries as much as they can, as it’s been tough for so many over the last few months.
And what are you looking forward to in terms of moving forward at Fyne Ales and with Origins Brewing?
I think as a brewery we will come out of this better organised, and hopefully in as strong a position as we can – we’ve been working hard and had lots of support, so I’m feeling okay about things.
I do hope that our customers will still be thirsty for our beers – we had so many people buying beer online during lockdown and I hope they want more – we really appreciate it, thank you to everyone who ordered.
I had a lot of time to think about new Origins beers and discover lots of fun things that we can forage from the glen for them over the last few months – so you can expect some amazing brews coming out soon!