There has been a certain buzz about “The Kernel” for a while around the beer and beer blogging world, Tweets on Twitter, Facebookers posts etc, all singing the praises of a small craft brewery based somewhere in the arches of South East London.
I made contact with Evin the brewer a while back, asking who if anyone stocked his beer in the Midlands and further north and his answer was almost no one, not because of a desire to keep this for those lucky southerners only, purely down to the ability to meet demand. (There are a few exceptions, listed later)
So, before I go on to talk about the wonderful beer (as you can tell, I liked it), take a look at this short video, it’s short and simple but still manages to give you a clear insight into a true craft brewery. The love care and attention to detail involved in getting something special in your glass, even down to the hand stamped and placed labelling, in short someone passionate about what they produce.
The name Suke Quto Coffee IPA, is based a on coffee cooperative hailing from the Ethiopian district of Oromia, this beer being born out of a collaboration between The Kernel Brewery and Square Mile Coffee Roasters.
As a concept, coffee in an IPA is an interesting one and not something that I have come across personally before, coffee and beer together I’d normally expect being associated with stouts and porters. Nevertheless something about this idea intrigued me enough to choose this to be my first experience of ever tasting a Kernel beer..
Appearance wise, first off I love the bottle branding, it’s simple and instantly recognisable, I love it more after seeing how it is hand produced bottle by bottle..
When pouring the beer you get the first smell of the lovely hops to come, I personally did not get any real sense of coffee here although others before me have, in the glass it is a hazy orange brown with a lazy bubbling head. Taking another good sniff the result again is all hops for me, like brushing past fresh nettles, a lovely spicy herb smell.
Tasting brings more surprises as the subtle coffee notes sneak up on you in three distinct stages..
The first mouthful, hmmm nice quality IPA as you’d expect but where’s the coffee, quick swirl around the mouth, oh there it is understated with hops battling for attention, then swallow and WHOOSH, you get the big roasted bitter coffee finish with length that leaves you with an aftertaste of expresso and spicy hops long after you’ve finished drinking.
Verdict, it’s subtle but complex too, in short, bloody marvellous, I can’t wait to try more…
You can get in touch or learn more about the other fantastic sounding beers currently in The Kernel Brewery range on their website, Facebook and Twitter pages:
The Kernel Brewery Facebook page
Finally, I sourced the Kernel beers from Beer Merchants (who also have Facebook and Twitter pages), they are also available at the brewery on Saturdays and at the variuos outlets here.