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Lest there be any doubt about Grand Cru's superior ability to source excellent beer, a modest selection from The Kernel is now available in Ireland. Not having been to London for a while, I was behind on what the Bermondsey brewery has been up to, and was pleased to find they're still doing things very much their own way: no cans, no milkshake IPAs and no swirly colourful artwork. And how is the beer shaping up?

I started with London Brick, a red rye ale of 6.5% ABV, catching it just inside its four-month best-before window. It poured quite fizzily, forming a thick pillow of foam above the slightly swampy ochre body. It smells of candy and citrus; green Starburst and white lemonade. There's a brown-bread malt base, almost savoury, and then a marked contrast in the hoppy top-notes, which are light and fruity: cantaloupe, passionfruit and mango. Simcoe and Mosaic are the varieities employed, and I'm surprised by the former, there being none of its signature heavy dank. A mild balancing bitterness arrives in the finish, perhaps derived more from the rye than the hops. It's very enjoyable and a lot less serious than rye ales tend to be. You'd never guess the strength, either.

Next: a Brown Ale with Mandarina Bavaria? Was this going to taste like a Terry's Chocolate Orange? Yes. Yes it was. Not in any daft pastry-stout way; this is a pretty serious well-made brown ale to its core. It's 5.6% ABV and full-bodied with a gorgeous cask-like smoothness. Milky coffee and creamy milk chocolate form the base, the flavour's richness complementing the body perfectly. With all the dark malt effects, it shouldn't be a suitable jumping-off point for hop character but the Mandarina is very prominent, avoiding any interrupting bitterness but bringing bags of sweet orangey flavour. That does lessen the traditional feel of it in favour of a more modern construction. I'll take it, though. This is gorgeous stuff; different to anything I've had from The Kernel before but with absolutely the same high level of quality.

Kernel still got it.