5 Foodie Minutes With … James Godman (Wilderness Brewery)

Now and then we are going to hang out with some of the cool foodie folk we get to work with or who we have bumped into along the way to find out a little bit more about what makes them tick, both on the ‘shop floor‘ and in life more generally.

We call the series “5 Food Minutes With

James Godman (Wilderness Brewery) started brewing his seasonal and barrel-aged beers locally just last year. He wandered in one day last April clutching some of his beers to taste. There’s most definitely some taste testing that just cannot be left to our dear customers so Mr Deli took full responsibility. The very next day we ordered our first delivery. Notwithstanding a slight pause for his own ‘first delivery’ (a baby arrived in the Autumn) James’ beers have been ever-present, much enjoyed at home and in the Secret Garden. We were delighted to hang out for #5FoodieMinutesWith James to see what inspires him.


Hi, who are you and what foodie mischief do you get up to in your day job?

Hi, I’m James Godman and I’m the head brewer at Wilderness Brewery in Newtown. We’re a tiny little brewery focused on seasonal, mixed fermentation and barrel aged beers. Which means in practice that we produce beer in two forms: either as fresh as possible, with in season ingredients (particularly hops), or barrel aged and soured using a range of yeast and bacteria; this involves ageing beer in Bordeaux red wine barrels, American Oak bourbon barrels or even Sherry barrels for 6 – 18 months (it’s ready when it’s ready!).

Where in the world do you get to hang out doing your foodie thing? Can you tell us a little of what inspires you and what is so special to you about ‘place’?

We’re based in gorgeous mid-Wales. We’re very lucky in this area, as the more you start to look, the more enthusiastic small local food producers you find. It’s been a thrill to met more people who are also motivated to just make the nicest things they can, the quality being more important than profit. I’m hoping to collaborate with a few this year to make some interesting new beers (we hear that James’ beer is now used in our local baker’s Ale Sourdough, the perfect food story hook-up for our deli).

I’m taking advantage of the beautiful countryside to build up a collection of house microbes, blends of wild yeast and bacteria which are unique to this area, so I’m really excited to start producing some truly local beer over the next couple of years.

Which 3 food (or drink) producers should the foodie world know more about?

My favourite cider maker is Oliver’s Cider in Herefordshire. Along with a few other small producers, they are really raising the bar in British cider. In fact, we planned our wedding reception in a cafe in Ludlow to make sure I could have some Oliver’s cider with my lunch! The At The Hop range in particular.

I met the lovely Pete and Lynne at an event recently. They raise Dexter beef and Welsh lamb on their farm, and sell the meat themselves.

I have a casual swap organised with Andy of Andy’s Bread fame – beer for bread! He recently chucked in a couple of Chelsea buns, my wife tells me they were fantastic – she scoffed the lot before I had a chance to tuck in.

What is your favourite meal?

I love Lebanese food, so maybe a nice fresh salad with rice pilaf and some grilled meat; that would sort me right out. Or a really greasy pizza (check out Andy’s sourdough pizzas, James … you’ll never look at those greasy ones again!).

Most comforting ‘comfort food’?

Rice, lots of rice!

Favourite food writer?

Recipe books wise, Allegra McEvedy’s oddball book about her knives (‘Bought, Borrowed and Stolen’) has a spectacular mish-mash of recipes from around the world, so I recommend that.

Even when I have time off, I can’t really switch off from work, so when I’m pretending to relax, I pick through the first book by Michael Tonsmiere (American Sour Beers). It’s essentially chronicling of a new brewing tradition emerging from the independent experiments of hundreds of different brewers, amateur and professional.

You have £30 in your wallet/purse and an open mind about supper – where do you head to locally and what do you buy?

Arggh, that’s a tough one. Perhaps pop to Bank Cottage in Newtown for some tapas, or if I feel like cooking maybe some spicy sausage and some nice pasta. I hear there’s a nice deli somewhere around here (very lovely of you to say, James).


Brilliant to get to know James a little more. We love his beers and the fact they take their own time to age to a point that they’re ready for our customers. We’re excited to work with James as the year progresses … beer and sourdough pizza, anyone?