As last weekend’s sweltering heat began to wreak its reign of terror across London, I took shelter under the railway arches at London Fields brewery. Our goal was threefold. First, of course we wanted to support a worthy charitable cause (Hackney Winter Night Shelter). Oli wants a new favourite stout. And me? I want to try every last beer on the menu.
We certainly tried some very good stouts, but I’m unsure whether Oli found a new favourite. Likewise, I tried my damnedest, but failed in my mission to taste every beer on the menu. Hopefully you’ll agree from this haul that I made a valiant effort.
London Fields, Hackney Hopper
Good luck telling the colour with the pink lighting, I wrote to myself. Quite right too. I have no idea what this beer looks like from my own tinted photo. From others’ pictures, however, it looks golden and pale.
The Hopper hits first with aromas of passion fruit, with green, underripe fruit hiding beneath. On the tongue it’s raspberry, lemon, a slight sherbert fizz. There’s a herbaceous hint too, perhaps thyme. The finish is long and sweet, a wheaty film of passion fruit coating the mouth.
A decent start to proceedings, but we can do better. 2
East London brewing company, Pearly Queen
It looks a bit like a pearly Queen, with a thick, black body. I’m not convinced the head is entirely pearly, however.
This one smells and tastes like a lot of things that taste a big like chocolate. Cadbury’s options, Nutella. Helped along by a massive helping of hazelnuts.
Tasty, but a little too sweet for me. And not a smash hit for Olly sadly. 3
Solvay Society, Exotic Physics – Brett Edition
I have yet to discover the answer to the question on all our minds: who on earth is Brett?
Exotic Physics is a hazy amber IPA. Wheat and blackcurrant strike first on the nose. It’s clear this is going to be a very fruity ride indeed.
Then I take my first sip, and the world turns to Ribena. It’s intensely blackcurranty and sweet, with wheat rounding out the mouthfeel. Hops cut off the sweetness right before the finish.
It’s a very fruity beer with an abrupt, unsatisfying finish. 2
Brooklyn Brewery, Black Chocolate Stout
While I’m a snob for most things, that doesn’t extend to chocolate. While my friends will turn their noses up at anything below 85% cocoa solids, I’m happier with a large bar of Dairy Milk, preferably melted.
This beer may have convinced me to change my mind.
The aroma is rich, fruity and complex: blueberry, port, and soy sauce. The flavour begins with a big hit of salty, malty Marmite, tempered with the sweet sourness of cranberry sauce. An astringent, bitter chocolate finish rounds the experience off.
This is a very good beer. 4
We’ve had a wide range of beers today, from the excellent to the merely dull. But for me, there was one beer that stood head and shoulders above the rest. What beer was that, I hear you ask? You’ll just have to wait until my next post…