A few weekends ago, Kamala and I decided it was time to visit some London craft breweries. We have been to quite a number on various (mostly derby-related) trips abroad, and thought it was frankly shameful that we hadn’t seen any of what London had to offer. As it turned out, London had quite a lot to offer, so we had to split it into segments.
It began with North London. I had a big part in making this decision, as North London is my side of town, but we also had an engagement party to attend later in the day (with a very understanding friend who didn’t mind us showing up already half-cut) in Stoke Newington, so it made geographical sense.
Our first stop was the Camden Town Brewery, which is actually situated in Kentish Town, and soon have much of its brewing operations relocated to Enfield due to lack of space. As it was a Saturday, we were able to enjoy a short free tour of the brewery before getting down to the real business of the day: tasting. We tried a tasting flight of five beers, with some assistance from the bartender in making our choices.
Julie: Although this began light and drinkable it had quite a strong aftertaste which made it difficult to imagine drinking too much. 6/10
Kamala: Very hoppy bitter aftertaste lets it down. 6/10
J: This is Camden’s best-known export, and is very light and drinkable. However, there’s not too much flavour and though I could drink easily drink a full pint (or six), it’s not the most exciting beer. 7/10
K: Good to have with a burger, but very bland and a bit meh. Good to take up a mountain instead of Budweiser (any A-Camp veterans will understand that reference). 5/10
J: This is a limited-edition beer using a new type of hops, and I eagerly sought out the notes of tropical fruit which the bartender advertised. I think I got some pineapple coming through, though that may just be the power of suggestion. Either way it was a bit more interesting and full-flavoured than the Camden Hells, also a little more bitter but still very drinkable. 8/10
K: Light, smooth and almost fruity but not too sweet. 8/10
J: I think stouts have grown on me since Kamala and I took our grand beer-tasting trip up the American Pacific Coast (more on that to follow), and this one is nicely smoky. I still couldn’t drink too much as after a few sips it starts to feel heavy, but really rather enjoyable. 5/10
K: I think I could drink a pint (this is a testament to how much we disliked stouts before, or is this just a non stout lovers’ stout?) 7/10
Indian Hells Lager
J: Very good impression on the first mouthful, but unfortunately the rest of it just doesn’t live up to that moment. It begins with a full fruity flavour, but has a very bitter aftertaste which ends up spoiling it. 4/10
K: It tastes almost like dishwasher powder. Very tart, very bitter, I couldn’t drink a pint. 4/10
The Brewery Bar has a great hipster vibe and decor, and the bartender was very knowledgeable about the beer which is always a bonus. However, there are no menus to allow you to read about it for yourself (remember we’re dealing with introverted Brits here). The pay-what-you-can tour is also a big winner, we just need to visit again for food to get the full experience. 8/10
For more information on the Camden Town Brewery, go to http://www.camdentownbrewery.com/. Drop-in tours run on a first-come, first-served basis every Saturday at 1pm and 2pm.
Next time on Beers and Bouts, the North London Brewery Crawl continues with Brew Dog, Camden.