beer festivals london

A Brief Bashing of the Bunny

Brodie's Brewery window sign.

We can’t claim to have really ‘done’ the Brodie’s Brewery ‘Bunny Basher’ festival, but here are a few observations based on popping in twice over the weekend.

The beer was never less than interesting, and the atmosphere was brilliant. Like the Blue Anchor in Helston, the pub is both a tourist attraction and a local boozer. People are there to drink and have a good time; some do it with Foster’s lager and football, while others sit alone with their third of kegged Belgian-style sour and write code on a laptop. No-one cares what anyone else is doing.

Brodie’s seem to be better at pale beers than dark. Apart from one dry-hopped with Motueka which smelled just a tiny bit too much like freshly-expressed urine, the yellow’n’hoppy ales were all at least good, and most were excellent. (But regular brew Citra at 3.1% is still our favourite.)

Cinnamon still doesn’t work in beer. Is there a market for a patented Beer Ruiner? If so, here’s the recipe: some cinnamon. (Coffee optional.)

We found the much-vaunted Elizabethan Ale (22% ABV) undrinkable. HP Sauce? We didn’t persevere past a couple of sips each, to be fair, and perhaps we need to get in training, c.12% being really the upper limit of our experience with strong beer.

We will certainly try to be in town if/when the Bunny Basher is on next year.

Matt ‘Total Ales’ Curtis’s take on the festival is also worth a read.

beer reviews bottled beer

Community beers

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.”