We’re unashamedly sentimental types here at the BeerCast, particularly when it comes to celebrating an anniversary*. Recently we managed to acquire a bottle of India Pale Ale 100 (10.1%) – the centenary release from London’s Kernel brewery. Since appearing on the beer scene in early 2010 (has it really only been that long?), Evin O’Riordain has well and truly made a name for himself amongst the bloggerati – and now the wider, keyboard-challenged drinking public.
A combination of factors have seen Kernel beers gain more and more plaudits, which have recently included being featured in the national press and winning SIBA’s Champion Bottled Beer award (for their Export Stout). The first of these factors is the sheer approachability of Evin and his team – on my first visit there, moments after stepping through the door we were sipping a Kernel IPA C.S.C. and chatting about his philosophy.
Hosting community open days at the brewery on Saturday is a great idea, pooling the foodie talent of their neighbours – Neil’s Yard, Borough Cheese Co and others (full list here). It helps elevate well-thought, well-made beer into the same bracket as other artisanal products.** Having a regular stock list of which Kernel products are available each Saturday (same link) means you can stock up when you get there. If we were based in London, it would be a regular BeerCast trip, no question.
Another thing Kernel do well is their nod to history, concentrating on local styles such as porters and stouts. Their 6% Imperial Mild was fantastic, for example, and their flagship beer is fast becoming the aforementioned Export Stout, based on an old recipe from the defunct Truman brewery. Evin is still at the stage where he can simply brew what interests him, knowing that the run is enough for all the bottles to be taken off his hands – hence the dizzying array of strong Pale Ales and IPA’s.
Recently, collaboration has become more of a part of the Kernel’s outlook – joining forces as part of the London Brewer’s Alliance, as well as one-offs with other city brewers such as Redemption and Brew Wharf. Producing these specials gives everyone involved a chance to go all out and formulate something unique. Having the freedom to be able to brew something just to see if it works must be great fun.
Kernel have come from nothing to be one of the most-written about new brewers within twelve months. We’ve featured them a few times, but so has (deep breath) Knut Albert, Mark at Beer.Birra.Bier, Neil at Eating isn’t Cheating, Mark Dredge, Arn at Blood Stout and Tears, The Guest Ale, Dave Lozman, Rob at The Hopzine, Beer Reviews Andy, Kenny the Beer Monkey, and Robbie at I might have a Glass of Beer (who did a brew day with Evin and the team, the bugger). So clearly it’s not just us that feel what’s coming out of that railway arch is worth writing about. Letting the beer do the talking, the Kernel are gaining a huge reputation very quickly. As we said, this is down to their attitude, friendliness, and brewing ethos – but it also comes down to their skill. This is certainly evident in the IPA 100…
…a hazy deep orange, with that trademark Kernel slug of sediment in the bottom of the bottle, the aromas are fantastic – sweet orange syrup, alcohol warmth, rich fruity notes. Quite syrupy on the palate, the flavours are really powerful – the alcohol comes through as a jamlike, marmalade finish. There’s a touch of treacle in there too, along with the Centennial hop that fights back with a slight dryness. The booze wins out though, at a nudge over 10% this is a perfect sipper.
Congratulations on the centenary from all at the BeerCast – let’s hope there are plenty more to come (including my suggestion of a black pepper stout)…
Kernel Brewery website
*or two – this is our 300th post
**Apologies for writing that sentence