Thursday, 22 October 2015

Beers of South-East London

Ever since I visited Meantime to look at their brewery, I've been thinking about the veritable treasure trove of beer brewing that goes on these days. There are so many wonderful, small-scale producers out there who are creating innovative and boundary-pushing beers. So much so, that the big-boy beer companies are now starting to acquire these companies to try and cash in on this emerging market (again, see Meantime). Let's hope that this doesn't result in any reduction in quality or creativity of expression.

With this in mind, I thought that it would be remiss of me as a drink-buff and a proud South-East Londoner (adopted home, I will always be a Brummie at heart...) not to do a bit of research on my local beer producers. You can imagine how pleased I was then, when I discovered that a hitherto unremarkable-looking corner shop in my area was actually stocking a rather excellent supply of beers from local producers. The beers practically fell off the shelves, into my arms, into my fridge and into my mouth.

So, here's my round-up of the best of what South-East London has to offer beer-wise...

Brick Brewery (Peckham)

Brick Hefeweizen: This was the best wheat beer that I have tried in a long time (I'll admit to not being their biggest fan). It had a more restrained aroma than most of the banana-bombs that you smell, this time it was more like pineapple. On the mouth it.was bright and, importantly, not too sweet; quite refreshing in fact. 7.0/10.0

Peckham Pils: This had a slightly unexpectedly sweet nose to it. The taste was a nice balanced one with decent maltiness paired nicely with a slightly citrus, hoppy note. This was a beer made in a classic Czech style and I thought it was excellent; a beer you could stay on for longer than you should. 8.5/10.0

American Pale Ale: Characteristic citrus / watermelon nose without assaulting your nose (which some APAs certainly can do...). On tasting it was not bitter or astringent, two common faults in APAs and was instead pleasantly bright and fresh. A thoroughly decent beer. 8.0/10.0

Brew By Numbers (Bermondsey)

Each BBN beer has a set of numbers on the front of the bottle. The first number describes the beer's style (stout, porter, wheat beer, etc.), whereas the second number tells you about how they made the beer (the recipe, hop types, etc.). This allows the real beer geeks to get very excited...! 

Golden Ale (Pacifica and Wai-iti): A nice citrussy, grapefruity, hoppy aroma on the nose. On tasting I found it a little sourer than I was expecting. I wasn't overly impressed with this beer. 6.0/10.0

Grisette (Mittelfrüh recipe): This was a new style of beer for me and is described as a light Belgian-style farmhouse ale. I thought that there was some slight banana notes to the nose. On the mouth it was nice and fresh, it made me think of a sophisticated, yet refined wheat beer. I liked this a lot. 8.5/10.0

Session Pale Ale (Amarillo, Single Hop recipe): A citrussy, hoppy smell with a slightly sour taste. Decent, if unspectacular. 6.5/10.0     

Brockley Brewery (Brockley, duh....)

Summer Ale: As you would expect this has a rather lovely lightly hopped, citrussy kind of aroma. When tasting there was a faint hint of malt but this was rather soft, which had the effect of keeping the beer light. This was a pleasingly simple, light and bright, easy-drinking kind of ale. 7.0/10.0

Red Ale: There was a definite toasty and maltiness to this beer that reminded me of the Meantime Yakima Red, which was accompanied by a slight caramel note. On the mouth the malty characteristics were balanced out with a slight bitterness that reminded me of coffee. This was another thoroughly decent beer. 7.0/10.0

Partizan Brewery (Bermondsey, again...)

Stout: On the nose this beer was a rather intriguing one with notes of cocoa, coffee and a touch of licorice coming through. On tasting it had a little malt to it and was couple by a nice smooth mouth-coating texture. There was a hint of chocolate flavour to it too. This was a beer that I enjoyed a lot more at the start than I did at its finish as I thought it was just a touch too sweet for my liking; others may go for it but it didn't quite do it for me. 7.0/10.0

Porter: When smelling this, I knew we were in for a winner as I got a pleasing noseful of smoke emanating pleasantly from the beer. There were some additional semi-sweet cocoa aromas to accompany it, which helped greatly. On the mouth it was seductively smooth with full and slightly sexy chocolate notes to it. This was a really, really excellent beer. Not one you could drink all night, but one worth pouring for yourself after dinner following a particularly stressful day at work. 8.5/10.0     


There you have it, four excellent producers all a stone's throw away from me. What's not to love about that?

Does your area have strong craft beer production going on? What producers have you discovered recently that are you getting excited about?  

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