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!
The Kernel is one of the new stream of London brewers of which there are now around 15 forming the London Brewers Alliance. Every Saturday there’s a brewery tap and off sales shop, in the entrance to their premises on Druid St, Bermondsey. Since learning of this…I have yearned to go – finally, last Saturday I managed to pop in. The results were excellent!
Pale vs Porter
The majority of The Kernel’s beer is bottled – in fact I’m told they don’t put any into cask unless it’s part of a collaboration. It is still very much real ale – all bottle conditioned and often showing off it’s ‘living’ credentials. With many of the beers being towards the darker, stronger, varieties typically these are sold in 330ml bottles.
As usual, I failed to write any tasting notes at all. But I did really enjoy the beers I sampled (it’s best to go halves with a friend if you want to try them all!) and brought a few home for further tasting. Over the course of a couple of hours there was a brisk trade in people calling in to pick up a few bottles – and not just the stereotypical CAMRA types like myself, but a normal cross section of South London.
This is Bermondsey
It is very much a ‘whilst stocks last’ kind of enterprise – the chalk board lost the citra IPA not long after we arrived, leaving only the Pale Ale South as a light option! At £2.50 / bottle, this is a very cost effective way to pick up some quality London brews.
The Kernel is open every Saturday with an ever changing menu – check their website for details.
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).
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.
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.
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
London Collaborative Porter
So, to end quite a beery week, I was lucky enough to have been given a bottle of the London Collaborative Porter to try recently by Mr Abbott in exchange for some Marble and Bathams . This beer is the first (hopefully of many) from the London Brewers Alliance, a group of some of the now numerous brewers across London. For more in depth tasting notes, check out blogobeer’s review my simplistic tasting extends as far as this:
Nose – sweet, malty, definitely some chocolate malts in there.
Taste – deceptively light but spicy with the sort of sweet spices you might find in a chocolate orange.
It’s a nice small bottle too. Which means I don’t feel *too* guilty about drinking it! -Sadly limited run, I’m not sure if it’s due to come back sometime soon…