James and Lizzie Brodie, who run our local brewery, kindly gave us a box of their beers last month, and we’re slowly working our way through the ones we haven’t tried before. The first thing to note is that either free beer tastes better or, across the board, Brodie’s beers have improved since they first launched. We enjoyed their Eat 17 IPA last year, and their Ho Ho Ho at Christmas, and the first of the new lot we’ve tasted were excellent too.
Old Hopper’s Ale is brewed with hops from East London (Cable Street, in fact) picked by residents in Tower Hamlets Community Housing. The beer gets its name from the fact that many of them spent summer holidays as children picking hops in Kent. It’s a nice story and a really impressive beer, with a good solid hop flavour that isn’t astringent or grassy.
Pink Pride is a light beer (3.4%) with a little raspberry in it and an excellent example of a refreshing and balanced fruit beer. The raspberry is there but not overpowering, perhaps adding just a little sourness. Grapefruity hops give it a crisp finish. It tastes and feels a lot like a cask ale, a great achievement for a microbrewed bottled beer.
It’s accompanying story is slightly more vague than Old Hop Picker’s. It was apparently made “with the help of London’s gay community”. We can’t work out if this is a brilliant marketing trick or an act of commercial suicide. However good the beer, a lot of blokes might feel a bit vulnerable shouting to the barman in a crowded pub: “Can I get a bottle of Pink Pride, please? Yes, that’s right, the gay beer. The one with raspberries in.”