Redchurch launch - glasses ready for the brew
I should probably have done a little research before writing this; I’d love to be able to tell you that East London is going through a brewing renaissance but not knowing what when before, renaissance might not be the correct word. Whatever the clichéd pre-amble, East London is seeing a massive expansion in the number of breweries. Last year we had just Brodies and Ha’penny. By the end of summer 4 new arrivals will have joined the scene – the first of these to launch is Redchurch of Bethnal Green.
This week I was lucky enough to find out about their preview launch at Mason & Taylor held on Wednesday 20th July which gave me amble opportunity for a chat with Gary Ward, Brewer.
Gary with Evin of Kernel Brewery
Just off Redchurch St (hence the name), Gary has a 10 barrel plant and plans for range of bottled beers primarily for a market in pub/bar and restaurants in East London. Given the recent fuss about Brewdog and GBBF, I asked about cask and keg – Redchurch will be supplying mostly bottles but with the occasional craft keg for special occasions, much along the Kernel model by the sounds of things.
The preview beer (bottle conditioned) was a proper Pale Ale, known as RB1.
A taster of the East End
With Galena and Citra hops, it’s quite a fruity nose. Citra is a bit of a ‘bandwagon hop’ if such a thing exists – but as Gary explained, the Galena hop brings a balance to the beer so it isn’t all in your face grapefruit. Nose-wise I found it difficult to pick out any particular flavours, though I was led towards pineapple by a helpful friend. Taste-wise, a balanced relatively easy to drink beer. A little hazy perhaps, but that is always going to happen with bottle conditioned craft beer – it’s a live product!
According to the brewery website there’s 30 days until the launch proper – so I reckon bottles should start to hit the shelves just before the August Bank Holiday.
For more information check out http://theredchurchbrewery.com/ and @redchurchbrewer
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As mentioned – there are several other breweries due to open this summer. Look out for news from @LdnFldsBrewery, @EastLondonBrew and @HackneyBrewery
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 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
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. 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!
Mason & Taylor - Bethnal Green Road, E1
Mason & Taylor is East London’s newest bar. Located just up Bethnal Green road from Shoreditch High St station in a former restaurant building, it is just into the east proper.
Fittingly for the times, the interior is quite austere, with wooden chairs that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1950s school. Neither is there a false ceiling, with all the building elements exposed inside it gives a very simple pleasing atmosphere. Of course, the real focus is the beer.
Beer - Darkstar Hophead
The house beer is Darkstar Hophead (£3.20 per pint) and for the opening the Thornstar hybrid along with a Pictish beer appeared on the remaining 2 or the 3 handpumps. To compliment the ales, there are 8 keg taps ranging from Bitburger German Pils to the local Camden brewery’s Helles beer (unavailable on Friday). Lastly a vast range of bottled beers are on offer – 40 featuring British Ales, Belgian, German, Dutch, American… Several London breweries are featuring including Camden, Kernel, Brodies and Meantime. Interestingly within the beer menu beers are not categorised by type but by style and taste – this could be a very good move for the less adventurous as the bitters and lagers are all mixed in together.
The Beer Menu
Prices range from £3.20 pp to £4.80 pp depending on the beer, with most bottles priced around £4. There is also a food menu…
Mason and Taylor opens on Monday 13 December.
Date of visit 10/12/2010
Since I wrote about the Euston Tap a few weeks ago, I’ve managed to find a several excuses to go back. (Despite the tube strike heading for Euston is actually quite a good move for me – the Victoria line seems to run fine!) Tonight I finally made it upstairs and found that’s quite nice too… the spiral staircase is a bit of a challenge but the bar staff will helpfully provide tray so you have one hand free for the rail!
Upstairs at the Euston Tap
Tonight’s beers – a pint of Thornbridge Wild Swan (OK, a bit light for my tastes in this weather) and a half of Marble Chocolate Stout which really hit the spot.
Thornbridge: Wild Swan
This week sees the return of Hackney beer festival – this time at the Round Chapel, more information on the ELAC website. Lastly next week sees the opening of Mason & Taylor’s in Bethnal Green. Good times!