I first heard about The Kernel Brewery through Chunk who has since posted about it here. Then, when I went up to drink jugs of Saints and Sinners’ Hoptimum at Brew Wharf, Evin O’Riordain, the guy who runs the Kernel, was there. “I need to try some of your beers.” I told him. He then reached under the table, presumably into a magic sack, and pulled out a couple of smart looking bottles and slid them across the table to me.
I opened the Centennial Pale Ale first. It’s no secret that I’d put Centennials into every single beer in the world if I could, so I always like to see it in a single-hop brew. This is 5.7% and pours an awesome flame gold colour with a bold white head – it inspired me to write the word ‘sexy’ in my notes. The aroma is bread and marmalade followed by the distinctively floral and orangey Centennial. The mouthfeel is the winner here and it’s full-bodied, smooth and clean without being loaded with sickly sweetness. It’s toasty and bready with just a hint of sweetness before the hops come through, intensely floral and deliciously bitter with a great orange pith finish. I finished it within minutes and loved every mouthful. It’s lacking sweetness, not in a bad way, and could handle a few more hops for the insatiable lupulin lover like me, but these are quibbles (and incidentally the same notes as Chunk made) – the beer is absolutely spot on.
The Porter is 5.9% and pours a dark brown with a good looking tan head. There’s chocolate, a waft of smoke, some phenols and lots of roasty malt – a classic nose. It’s another wonderfully smooth mouthful, roasty, dry, chocolatey and just a hint of roasted fruit sharpness which adds a great balance to a porter. There’s a long-lasting roast finish, it’s smooth, very drinkable and has a perfect balance of flavour. Fantastic – both beers seriously impressed me.
Inspired by the US craft scene, Evin is brewing once a week beneath the train arches of Tower Bridge, not far from London’s Borough Market. He’s on a small batch plant and bottling and then labeling everything by hand, with love. If you want to try his beers then go along and find him on Saturday’s from 9-4 and he’ll happily sell you a few of his bottles. A few more brews will be available soon and hopefully there will be some casks in the future. If you are in the market, jumping between Utobeer, the Market Porter, The Rake and Brew Wharf then take a bag and make an extra stop to see Evin – the Kernel Brewery is another exciting addition to the ever-growing London beer scene.