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Having tried these new beers from East London in the spring, I admit I’m a little late in posting this up. Fitting, perhaps, that we pay a little more attention to all things brewed in London in the upcoming weeks. God knows the independent beer scene – be it pubs, bars or breweries in the capital are going to have a rough time of it in the run-up to the Olympics. There’s plenty of shameful examples of how the major sponsors are using their reach to ensure visitors to the city have their experience cosseted as much as possible, going home with a sanitised version of London in their memories and nothing but dust in their wallets.
Still, with new breweries in London popping up at a rate of knots – and a firm, established ‘new wave’ of the likes of Brodies, Camden and Kernel producing consistently excellent beers and ales, we all know there’s plenty to go at. Redchurch’s beers are simply packaged and simple in taste – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Just solid, tasty beers that provide a good stepping-on point for any curious visitor wanting to taste something local and new.
Bethnal Pale Ale (5.5%abv) pours sunrise-amber and has an enticing aroma packed with Pine-needle and that same spicy oiliness that fresh Sierra Nevada Pale Ale carries. The mouthfeel is surprisingly thick, with an initial biting sharpness that mellows out as waves of hard-candy sweetness arrives. The end picks up with a decent rolling bitterness that just lifts that sweetness off the tongue, and wraps it all up in a Grapefruit-led finish. It’s an interpretation of that archetypal US Pale Ale flavour profile – but one well done. A satisfying Pale Ale.
The majestically – titled Great Eastern India Pale Ale (7.4%abv) ploughs much the same furrow, flavour-wise, as the Pale Ale; lots of rounded, sweet malt and a tropical-fruit, sharp bitterness – but adds a noticeably warming hit of alcohol on the way down. I did think that the nose was a little dull – particularly for an IPA – but I would rather put this down to the bottle or the batch. I’ll be trying this again; and I’m sure I read a tweet recently saying that the recipe had been tweaked.
Hoxton Stout (6.4%abv) is a fruitier style of Stout. The nose is dominated by Brambles and Earthy spice (Soil? In a good way?) with a slightly phenolic note – again, in a good way. It’s light, and has a decent amount of carbonation adding to that perceived lightness, with more spiky blackcurrant mixing with drying coffee and roasted malt. The beer finishes juicy and fruity, with only a faintly drying edge. Not what I expected, but a pleasant surprise. If you prefer Black IPA’s to Stouts, maybe this is one for you to try – not too dry, not too harsh.
S0 – A belated welcome from me, Redchurch Brewery! If you want a comprehensive run-down of London’s new breweries, you’ll find it hard to beat Des De Moor’s excellent list here.