Quick and Not-Particularly-Good Booze Reviews

by Steve

Three bottles of beer

A night in with some craft beer and I figured I’d record a few thoughts whilst still under the influence. Obviously, I am a sensible drinker, so this isn’t as reckless as you might think. I am well aware that heavy drinking and posting stuff on the internet is not a great mix. I’m sure none of you need me getting all tired and emotional on you all, telling you I love you and miss you all very much.

Anyway, there is a place on my way home from work that is stocking an increasing range of craft beer, and specifically craft beer brewed in London. While London has a great brewing tradition, it feels like the growth of microbreweries/craft beer beyond the usual suspects is a reasonably new thing.

My beer selection criteria was to:

1. Choose a couple of beers from the Kernel Brewery as I *heart* their beers very much

2. Avoid any beer with an awful London-referencing name, as I don’t want to be cringing while I drink my beer and look at some odd tourist-baiting label/name.

So, here goes…

Kernel Cascade

As mentioned, here and in previous posts long ago, I think Kernel produce some of the best beer in the UK right now. They tend to stick to variations on pale ales, along with a few darker beers. The pale ales/IPAs aren’t widely different, but feel like variations on a theme and seem a good way to educate the palate on the subtleties of various hop varieties. Their Cascade is a good gateway beer for Kernel. The vaguely tropical aroma, super-hoppy taste and biscuit-y finish are all there, but aren’t massively overpowering. This one left me with a slightly dry mouth from all the hops, which I took as a cue to open another beer.

Kernel Mosaic

This one was a new one for me. Much like the one before, just with everything TURNED UP. Great aroma when opening the bottle (opening a fresh bottle of Kernel is one of life’s little joys) and an almost grapefruit sourness followed by a big, solid hoppy bitterness. A really good beer in that there is enough going to keep the interest of a beer geek, yet it is straightforward enough to just plain enjoy without worrying about making tasting notes.

Brüpond Tip Top Hop

This is from a pretty new brewery on the scene that I know very little about. It was the last bottle in the store, so I’m presuming they have already attracted a fair amount of interest. This beer has been ‘continually hopped’ – I will leave you to your own internet research to explore this term at your leisure, as I am lazy, but the label explains something about, well, continually adding hops into the boiling wort rather than in stages. It certainly makes the beer distinctive. The initial smell is less alluring that the Kernels, but feels more authentically beer-y, like a whiff of homebrew or something you might catch as the cellar door opens in an old pub. It is not altogether unpleasant, but it doesn’t make for an immediately approachable beer. The taste is fairly uncompromising too. There is a certain harshness that makes for a robust drink. It tastes like a deeper, darker beer somehow, even though it is pale in appearance. The booze is pretty apparent along with the bitterness of the hops.

It worked well as a pale ale with some guts, ideal for a degree of refreshment but also some warmth during this terrible weather. So, a brewery to keep an eye on, and perhaps a bit of a rough diamond.

Cheers! Etc.