“Tis the Saison to be jolly” or so it seems, my good friend Leigh wrote about a cracking Nettle & Ginger version from SWB just yesterday, you can read about it here and here I am now a day later doing the very same thing. Truth is warm summer days are perfect for them (Saisons that is) although some would say any day is equally so. Fresh, refreshing, clean and extremely tasty beers..
Saturday therefore was perfect, a bright, warm, sunny day in the capital and we were going to The Kernel Brewery, problem was we had to get there first.. We took the tube and headed across town to Borough Market, home of The Rake and their market shop “Uto Beer“. The market was bustling and the air filled with an almost kaleidoscopic swirling array of fantastic foodie aromas, fried duck, cajun prawns, spanish sausages, chocolate you name it, somebody was probably cooking it, uterly mesmerising.
Finding the Kernel wasn’t easy, we’d arranged to meet up with a few friends who’d all been there before, we were late and they were understandibly long gone. So we set off, two of us iPhones in hand iMap at the ready, greedily scrapping for 3G coverage and hoping that any reception found, lasted long enough to reach our goal. It did, but it didn’t help. It was a bit like geocaching, we had the coordinates, we could see our prize on the map, but could we find it, could we f….err no, we couldn’t.
After walking what seemed like miles but probably wasn’t I asked a bus driver, busily polishing his vintage open topped bus, “Kernel, yes mate”, he said in a flash, “it’s just around that corner, through the arches, turn back on yourself and your there”.
To say I was shocked on arrival would be a serious understatement, I was expecting a little brewery shop, tucked away around the back in an old musty room. What we got was a busy cobbled yard/road, trestle tables set out with benches full of extremely enthusiastic beer drinkers, there were stalls dripping with cheeses, dried sausages and fine italian meats, a wonderful sight for a weary (thirsty) beer lover.
Best of all though, there was a full range of Kernel brews on show many in bottles, plus two on draft. One of which was a Saison, a Kernel Saison, a beer style that I love and one I had no idea Kernel brewed, excited? Oh yes, much!
Decision made, beer ordered, I found a seat in the sunshine and set about the serious business of drinking. It poured a hazy amberish orange colour, a light lively fast dissapearing white head at it’s top. Aromas were of light spiced oranges, lemons and peppery hops.
The taste begins with a kind of woody yeastiness, it’s fresh and lemony, there are notes of orange or grapefruit marmalade, peppery spice, maybe a little nutmeg in the background on the hoppy finish. It’s light fresh, a little dry but very, very drinkable.
As we sat drinking our beers I looked around at the happy throng it was quite amazing to see quite how many influential beer folk had made their way to assemble in this one place to meet Evin the amazing brewer, swap stories and taste his creations.
We had brewers from all over the world, De Molen, Flying Dog, Summer Wine, Brodies, Firestone Walker and Sandstone to name but a few, there were some well known beer bloggers too all mingling with regular and passing beer tourists, even the helpful bus driver turned up!
As we supped the discussion turned to what your all time favourite beer was and it reminded me of a response I gave to Mark Dredge of Pencil & Spoon a while back. My favourite beer then was a quite cliched Westvleteren 12, being so not because of it’s notoriety, it was the moment, that excitable moment when I finally got to drink one at it’s source at St Sixtus Abbey. (I wrote about it here)
Today though it wasn’t Westvleteren, in the beautiful abbey grounds sat in the sweeping Belgian countryside, the moment was here, in a light refreshing Kernel Saison, brewed not by Trappist Monks, it was Evin in Bermondsey, SE1.
Do you have a favourite beer, is it a beer that stirs a memory of a particular moment, a person, a memory?
Perhaps it’s just a beer and this is just me…
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Very nice post mate. All that Kernel is making me drool. Will hunt that Saison down!
It’s definitely a goodie mate as you’d expect from Kernel, great place, I’d have stayed there all day if I could. Cheers for the comment.
Great write up mate. That vintage bus was a Routemaster for the Rate Beer European Summer Gathering. I was talking to the guys in your shot later but was talking to Bob and Simon on the left at the entrence I think when you took this shot. Beer of the moment for me was the first batch of the London Porter whcih he did or the Simcoe single hop stunner IPA.
Need to write more at the moment.
Now my pc has loaded the pics I’m in the top one, centre talkig to Simon about several things. I’m sorry we didn’t chat, I completely missed you although I was in visual line.
Like I said mate, curse of Twitter really and tiny pics, I knew I knew you but couldn’t tie it down, even my Mrs said you were familiar, were you at Magic Rock’s North Bar launch by any chance?
I did try a few more beers including one of my big faves, the Imperial Brown Stout, but not the porter, another time maybe…
I’m sure our paths will cross at some stage mate, cheers for the comments.
It’s not ‘just you’ – wrote something in a similar vein last week on our blog. Your blog sort of answers some of my questions 🙂
Thanks Tallulah, I see what you mean after reading your blog, http://www.alesela.co.uk/blog/?p=37 Cant see how to register, are you on Twitter??
Managed to miss this post sorry mate….I do remember you mentioning something about visiting the Kernel brewery though, as it put me in a bad mood as at the time I was in rainy Bradford cleaning dog-muck of a pram wheel! Where did it all go wrong!
I’ve tried a few of Kernel’s beers now (bottled) and am a huge fan, especially of the Imperial Brown Stout and Export Stout. Thanks for taking a few pics and sharing, its nice to see a little bit of a beery paradise from afar 😉
😀 I laughed my head off when I read your first paragraph, glad you didn’t share that at the time! Apparently they did have a beer on that was brewed with fresh vanilla and oak chips, no idea if that was a one off but gutted missed it. One to keep the peepers peeled for though.