Hinano Tahiti

Because today I’d rather be sunning myself on a beach somewhere…

Hinano Tahiti

Suke Quto Coffee IPA II at Mason & Taylor

Kernel Coffee IPA at Mason & Taylor

Tasting the Coffee IPA at Mason & Taylor

This Wednesday saw the launch of the Suke Quto Coffee IPA from Kernel Brewery and Square Mile Coffee at Mason & Taylor. A very different event to the Brewdog tasting I found myself at last year, nonetheless an enjoyable experience.

Kernel Coffee IPA

Lively!

Kernel beers are always bottled conditioned, meaning there is still yeast in there, happily creating alcohol and co2. This does mean they tend to be a bit lively! Small samples of both the first and second batch were handed out in M&Ts branded 1/3rd pint glasses.

Ready for tasting

Ready for tasting

So what of the beers?

Batch one – obviously hoppy, paler in colour compared with the second batch. Nothing much I could pick out on the smell, but on taste there was definitely more than a hint of burnt toast.

Batch two – again, as you would expect from an IPA, a really hoppy nose. But on the taste the coffee really came through.  If you’ve ever been addicted to coffee (and not even necessarily the good stuff) you might identify with this – for me, it felt a bit like a warming coffee ‘hug’. The coffee bitterness is something I enjoyed and I would definitely give a similarly flavoured beer a go if I saw one available. Our table agreed that batch two was an improvement over the first.

Beer. Always better inside.

Beer. Always better inside. Especially when it is raining outside...

Mason & Taylor had bottles available at £4.50 each. They probably still do, but ask them (via twitter?) if you are going to be disappointed if they have run out!

Southampton Arms, NW5

The Southampton Arms is one of those pubs I’ve been meaning to get along to for ages. It’s not particularly hard to get to but isn’t really in any of my normal haunts so it took an extra special cycling trip to get me over there.

Multi-modal outside the arms

The Southampton Arms, NW5

Located on Highgate Road, NW5 a short walk from Gospel Oak station it has a small unassuming entrance. Inside you find a wooden bar, a fairly traditional décor and a lot of choice.

Many pumps

Many pumps

We counted 10 ales and 8 ciders, with two keg taps hidden on the right serve Camden brewery’s lager and red for those who prefer their beer pasteurised. It was reasonably quiet at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon, but it isn’t a gastropub meal place – so it isn’t going attract the hordes of families looking for a Sunday roast.  I was certainly happy to grab some pie with my pint though!

Pie and Pint

Pie and Pint - a specialism!

I chose Truman’s Runner to accompany my pie. It was in really good condition, but I still haven’t clicked with the runner. Not sure what it is but it doesn’t grab me.  The Buntingford brewery ‘spalt select‘ was rather nice.  Warm weather isn’t far away (at least I hope not), so now is a good time for dark beers to give way for light.  Given the large number and variety of cider on offer I’m sure I’ll be back later in the year for some appley goodness.  The Southampton Arms is a must visit if you happen to be in NW5 – or maybe if you’ve just been to the top of Parliament Hill and back.

Kernel Redemption Collaboration Mild

The Dean Swift

The Dean Swift

Mondays are crap aren’t they? All work and so far away from play.  That is, until someone decides to  launch a new beer at 6pm. On Monday, in the Dean Swift (SE1).

Pumps

1755 - access denied - no Mild until 6pm!

Yes they really did wait until 6pm, hence the soda and Blackcurrant hastily bought (because I can’t sit in a pub without some kind of drink). So to the beer. Well this is where my knowledge let me down immensely. I’d always assumed that Mild meant by ABV, so I was expecting a nice gentle 3%er, which I could follow with the Darkstar M&M Porter. It was only after I’d got my beer (two halves admittedly, it is Monday rememeber!) that I went in to check out the label.  At 6.1% it really wasn’t mild in ABV. However and kind gent at the bar went on to explain that actually mild only means mildly hopped – this makes a lot of sense, hops are a preservative so I guess is you went far enough back in time anything mildly hopped would need to be bloody strong to keep without going off.

Guess the difference?

Porter Mild - can you tell the difference?

So what of the beer? On the nose there isn’t really much at all.  The very faintest hint of chocolate which as you taste develops and becomes more bitter by the after taste.  It’s slightly warming and spicy, a really nice winter beer. Very enjoyable, I hope there are bottles!

Onto the second – the Darkstar M&M special porter.  This is, as you might expect, rather different.  The smoked notes are very obvious on the nose and taste – to me it actually smells a little like a smoky whisky! (As I’ll readily admit, I still have some way to go on this verbalising lark).  As the beer warmed it started to go a little more sour towards a really hard cheese.  The condition seemed fine so I guess this was towards what it should taste like.  Other tasting notes suggest meaty, like chorizo so I guess I can’t be far off.

To round off – a little about the pub. This was my first visit to the Dean Swift and I was quite impressed. It’s comfortable, the beer was in good nick, the surroundings modern without feeling too much like a gastropub and it has some atmosphere without being wedged.  It did feel like it was a long way down a really dark side street, I walked from Bermondsey tube but once inside it felt safe and light.  Beer around £3.30 per pint wasn’t too bad either. The website is still TBC but I’d recommend popping in if you are in the area.  You could probably even make a nice little crawl taking in the Draft House, Bridge House and the Anchor Tap all within a few seconds stumbling.

This corner of SE1 certainly seems to be on the up.

Brodies Ginger

Brodies Ginger

Brodies Ginger

This weekend saw Brodies bring out a Ginger Beer at the William IV. As I happened to need to pass though, I thought it was worth popping in and giving it a go.

Verdict – you could very much taste root ginger. It’s quite a light drink with the bitterness being noticably ‘hoppy’, not really knowing, I’d guess towards the Amerilla variety. Very fresh and tasty – I’d say probably more of a spring / summer drink actually, I think it could be a great refresher for a hot summers day!

As the cask went on today (05/02/2011), I’d say it will still be around tomorrow and maybe Monday. £2/pint.