Camden Town Brewery@PSBH

Last night saw a Southern invader take the helm for the latest meet the brewer evening at Port St Beer House. Jasper, from Camden Town Brewery, had come a long way. Although Camden does seem like the other side of the world, Jasper origins actually lie in the land down under and this was his first visit to Manchester. Hopefully, having seen the good life, his return to Camden won’t be too depressing.

The proceedings went very well; just the right amount of information and not too much waffle. And when he praised the use of sparklers, it became clear that the lad knew what he was talking about.

This is their 4.6% signature dish. The idea is quite clever; match up two of their favourite beer styles. So you have the dry backbone of a Pilsner and the gentle hopping of a Helles. They consider it the perfect drink for London. I’m not sure what it says about London but-with one dissenter-we found it, dare I say, rather dull.

This is a classic 5% Hefeweizen: made in an open fermenter with German yeast, it’s unfiltered and hazy. There’s bubblegum, banana and a little toffee. You’d be hard pressed to tell that this wasn’t German.

Gentleman’s Wit
Now this one had the room buzzing. It’s a 4.3% Belgian-style wit beer made with roasted lemons and bergamot. Hazy gold in colour, it’s very clean and refreshing with lots of lemon and floral notes and a good dry finish.

Even Stockport’s very own Belgium beer sage John Clarke-who usually prefers his beer to have been sieved through a Belgium cyclist’s underpants, twice- was impressed.

Pale Ale
This one proved very interesting. Before the tasting, some people were complaining that it was rather dull. My own experience of it had been more positive, but I didn’t consider it outstanding. And yet others were raving about it.

The mystery was soon resolved. By Jasper’s own admission, it was the one beer that the brewery had struggled with the longest. In attempting to recreate their own version of an American Pale Ale, they had begun with three hops and then tweaked the recipe several times. All credit to them for not resting until they had got it nailed.

And nailed it, they certainly have. Through utilising seven hops and a judicious use of crystal malt-yes, really-they have produced an excellent beer with both body and a bagful of hop flavour. Terrific. And all under 5%. The Brewdog crew who were present could only conge in admiration.

The best of the rest:

Hop: This is the impressive debut beer brewed by Richard; the owner of the GBG listed First Chop in Ramsbottom. A zesty, crisp, hop-led golden session beer. And I’m not just saying that as one of his regular customers...But if there is any free beer going...

Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA: This 9.5% monster came in a manly Mancunian size-660ml and was £12. It was described as “intense” and the bottle dutifully details all the hop processes that go into it. Forget about that and just let the citrus, pine and herbal flavours get up your nose and down your throat. Good stuff.


Bailey said…
Interesting point about Hells: it's not an exciting beer but, in commercial terms, it's genius. We've got several friends who drink, by default, the 'premiumest' lager on offer (e.g. Peroni) and who think real ale is weird and smelly. As they see it, Camden Hells is 'normal lager', but it's also nicely packaged *and* local. It sells in bucketloads.

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