Tag Archives: kernel

When The Kernel took over Brighton.

On Thursday April 14th, the beerilliant The Kernel took over the Craft Beer Co. in Brighton with 15 taps of deliciousness. It’s pretty well established that Kernel are one of the very best breweries in the UK right now, which is saying something considering the strength of competition. Excellent beer is turned out, one after another. And, of course, no two batches are the same. Different hops are used, and different brewers produce each set. I’ve had countless Kernel pale ales over the years, from a tiny village in Wales to one of the top restaurants in London. The consistent fantastic quality of them all are what sets them apart from the rest.

There are certain beer trends around at the moment -everyone seems to be dabbling in the beer du jour: the double or even triple IPA. I have no complaints whatsoever about this, naturally, but Kernel haven’t seemed to announce a similar brew. I got talking to one of the brewers about what to expect next, and I was amused to hear that no, they will continue to tread their own path as to what they brew and not base it on current trends. So, sadly, don’t expect a mindblowing Kernel DIPA coming any time soon. However, with the likes of Cloudwater and Kernel neighbours Brew By Numbers coming out with some of the best beers I’ve ever had in the form of their DIPAs, I’ll settle. Instead, Kernel will apparently be focusing on saisons, and judging what was on offer at the takeover, I have no problem with this whatsoever. Of course. We spoke briefly about their famous Table Beer, and how flavoursome it is for a beer with such a low ABV. I’m pretty sure I haven’t come across a beer like it that is so unanimously liked by everyone who tries it, and that in itself is something special.

Sadly, the beer that I first asked for, the Pale Ale Galaxy/Mosaic/Simcoe/Centennial had just gone. As anyone I’ve ever had a remote conversation about hops knows, I ❤ Mosaic. It’s just got a beautiful tropical fruit quality to it. No such luck, so I went for the IPA Citra/Nelson Sauvin/Galaxy instead. I wasn’t intending to go headfirst into a 7% beer before I’d had anything to eat, but this seems to be an unintentional trend of mine. Anyhow. Super hoppy, with a beautiful citrus flavour, obviously, from the Citra. It went down very easily.

That lead quickly onto the Biere de Saison Barrel #30. I was too busy talking while drinking it to note down much, but this was a lovely saison: lemony without being too tart. More of this from The Kernel is nothing to complain about.

They’re not only experts in producing beautiful pales, as proven by their Export India Porter. It’s a lovely beer: dark and rich with roasted coffee notes, but not heavy like a lot of dark beers. Exactly what you’d want from a porter.

I finished on an India Pale Ale Simcoe. It was outstanding, and I wish I didn’t have to down half of it to run down the road to make the bus home. 7.1% of hoppy, tropical fruit deliciousness.

To conclude? Kernel produce amazing beers. No surprises there. They will continue making pale ales that really set the standard for others, in my opinion. Everything about The Kernel is simplistic: the name itself -a kernel is a piece of barley, in a very simple sense; the label did just used to be a stamped piece of brown paper and now still looks the same; the pump clips were and I believe still are pieces of cork; and the head brewer/founder Evin O’Riordain doesn’t like the term “craft beer”, which is somewhat amusing for someone widely regarded as a purveyor/leader/guru (rightly, I’ll add) in the industry. But when you’re making beers this good, you don’t need to be anything else.

 

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A late, late review.

I’ve been crazy busy and haven’t had a chance to actually get something fully written and edited, so this is a lot later than I wanted it to be. The beers I’ve chosen to write about weren’t exclusive, so it’s not entirely redundant…

Last, last Thursday saw the opening of the annual Craft 100 festival at Craft Beer Co. Clapham in London. I’ve been a loyal attendee since its inception, so duly went along.

The premise is simple: a varied selection of 100 beers, both cask and keg, from all over the world. The rare or hard to find brews are the ones I home in on usually, but there are always a few (often festival exclusive) from some of the best breweries in the UK. There’s always some kind of food on offer as well, and this year saw the return of the ridiculously good Philly cheesesteaks from the Liberty Cheesesteak Company. I had a half hogie, and went back for a whole one about half an hour later. Eh, sue me. It’s always sunny.

So, to the beer. I’ll mention a couple of what I had, partly because I stopped checking in to Untappd after a while, and without a proper record of them, I probably wouldn’t be able to do them justice.

Unintentionally, although I should’ve known, I went straight in with the strongest (by some margin) beer on offer, with the Evil Twin x Lervig collaboration, Big Ass Money Stout. It’s a 17.5% imperial stout brewed with pizza. Yep. That sentence contains no typos. I don’t think I can better the actual description on Lervig’s site because it’s bloody brilliant, so a direct quote:

This bold 17,5% ABV Imperial stout was aged in two 3000L foeders. We mashed in with frozen pizza, and we dry money’d it to poke fun of modern Norwegian culture. The beer itself has a velvety smoothness easy drinking body despite its huge alcohol content. It’s got some ass, it’s got some stout, and it costs a lot of money.

Food pairings

Cohiba Behike cigars, Iranian Beluga caviar, Kobe beef, Foie gras, Grandiosa microwaveable pizzas.

Malts

Pale malt, Roasted malts.

Hops

Aurora, Chinook, Cascade.

Aroma

Warming chocolate, brandy nose and freshly minted bank notes.

Serve in

Gold chalice, or platinum-plated hand-crafted artisan-inspired crystal flute.

Regardless of what may or may not have gone in it, it’s a wonderfully intense stout to drink. You can smell the alcohol in it, which I don’t think comes through as much in the taste. It’s full bodied, warming, and rich. It’s definitely a sipper, and I enjoyed it. I think this was my personal highlight.

On recommendation, I then went for the Breakfast Sour by High Water Brewing. I love a good sour, and this one was excellent. It comes in at 6.5%, and looks lovely. It’s got wonderful lemon, grapefruit and lychee notes, with a dry finish. Total tart.

I’m not sure whether it was down to the intense flavours of what I’d been drinking, but the Kernel x Jester King collaboration of Farmhouse Table Beer (Tettnanger/Centennial) fell a little flat. I think if I’d started with this 4.3% saison I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more, as it was light and refreshing. Anything by Kernel is going to be good, and I hope to find this again to give another go.

I do regret not going to the Outside Bar a little earlier, as the Clwb Tropicana (the w is a little homage to their Welsh heritage, which I like) by Tiny Rebel went out as I was ordering one. It was the first barrel to finish of them all, and was certainly lauded by those who had sampled it. Unfortunately, it was down as a festival exclusive, but occasionally these things turn up again.

Overall, it was another great CBC, and lovely to see familiar faces.

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