If you’ve visited Billy’s on the Beach even once, you can’t fail to notice how passionate we are about the food and drink that we create and serve. So it’s always a pleasure when we come across someone else who is just as fanatical as we are about crafting something truly special, like our friend Mark Wolfram Lehmann, the man behind Goldmark Brewery.
Mark’s dad once told him that if he found a job he loved, it would never feel like work, but although he was into home-brewing from the age of 18, he never imagined it would become his business. “I started out brewing my own beer just from a need to have alcohol: I was going to university and couldn’t afford beer,” Mark laughs. “What I made at the time was quite awful, but by the time I was 21 I was cloning beers from Arundel Brewery – I would take them to the head brewer and he was shocked I’d brewed them at home.”
From there, Mark became a member of the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) group, and any time there was a party he’d be there with a keg of his home brew. But it was a chance appearance at Worthing Beer Festival in 2013 that led to the formation of Goldmark Brewery, when the local CAMRA chairman asked Mark to supply a barrel when another brewery let the Festival down at the last minute. “He labelled the barrel as Goldmark Brewery, because that was my nickname, and said it was a local Sussex brewer even though it was just a garage brew!” Mark says. “Then my beer sold out before all the others, and the pressure was on to start brewing commercially. It was weird!”
I like really bold flavours so we use a ludicrous amount of ingredients. The English make beer like they make love…
So what is it about Goldmark Brewery beers that hits the spot? Mark takes cues from his love of German beers, after spending time visiting German breweries to learn about their style. “I like really bold flavours so we use a ludicrous amount of ingredients,” Mark explains. Like German breweries, Goldmark gives the fermentation process a bit longer to ensure the ales have a really crisp taste that even lager drinkers love. “You know, the UK makes beer quicker than anywhere else in the world – as a girlfriend once said to me, ‘The English make beer like they make love’,” he adds with a chuckle.
Although it’s now his full-time job Mark is still determined to have fun, which is why alongside the regular roster of popular beers, there’s always a monthly Goldmark special brew. The Choc Ice chocolate stout has gone down a treat here at Billy’s, along with Strawberries & Cream in July, just in time for Wimbledon. For August, Mark brewed a Rhubarb & Custard ale – almost certainly a first for even the most seasoned beer drinker!
We were first introduced to Goldmark Brewery through Mark’s ‘beer friend’ and brewery investor Nik Hart, who lives locally. “He came to me one day and said, ‘Mark, I need to have Liquid Gold in a place around the corner’,” Mark recalls. Two Sussex businesses with a focus on quality ingredients and real enthusiasm for what they do? Well, it was a natural fit – and you’ve all been enjoying Goldmark’s beers ever since. “We love working with Billy’s,” he adds. “They have the same passion we do; we know everyone’s names and we’ve all become friends.”
And that’s why we’re teaming up with Goldmark and our fishmonger Something Fishy to bring you our first ever Beer & Batter event in October – a chance to enjoy delicious fish and seafood dishes and an extended range of Goldmark brews. Mark’s looking forward to it just as much as we are, and says he may even brew something special just for us. “Well,” he says, “it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?”