Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years you’ll be more than aware that London alehouses now fight for the limited barrels produced by the world’s hottest microbreweries, tiny operations that unleash magnificent beer in gold-dust quantities. We visited the Rose and Crown on Torriano Avenue to listen to co-owner Theo Caudell talk us through some of his favourite craft beers of the moment.
Beavertown: Neck Oil (London)
Beavertown is four or five years old, making it almost ancient in terms of the craft beer movement. At the time of its formation there were around 15 breweries in London; now there are nearly 90. They began in Duke’s in Haggerston with beer being brewed in the kitchen, before they needed to move to a bigger premises. A session IPA, Neck Oil is relatively new for Beavertown having been first produced around a year ago: it has a floral nose, citrus with an almost an orange peel twang, it’s well-balanced and goes down very smoothly – that’s what gives it its name.
Titanic: Titanic Stout (Stoke)
The Titanic brewery in Stoke was named after the infamous ship’s captain who hailed from the northern city. They are immensely proficient in their dark ales, and also produce a plum porter and a vanilla stout. This ale was introduced to the Rose & Crown as a permanent fixture in lieu of the more typical Guinness. It has a smoky nose with creamy, coffee and chocolatey notes – without being too bitter.
The Kernel: Pale Mosaic Citra (London)
This London brewery is all about producing in-your-face beer that makes you take note and consider what you’re drinking. A favourite here, this has a distinctive hoppy nose with orange cordial notes; it’s not a particularly lively-looking beer and sports an unfiltered colour with little to no head. Yet it dances all over your tongue with a peppery, citrus flavour, mildly carbonated and so dangerously drinkable.
Mondo Brewery: Kemosabe (London)
Mondo Brewery is the project of two former home-brewing friends, newish kids on the block with their first brew being in April 2015. This is a solid IPA, nicely rounded and punchy. It’s bitter, dry and hoppy which makes it not as session-able as others; but its appeal lies in how accomplished it is in terms of its youth. A very promising offer from a wonderkind brewery.
Wiper and True: Coriolis (Bristol)
I rank Wiper and True as the second best new brewery in the country and the Coriolis is testament to this. It has an English summer fruits nose of rhubarb and strawberry, but a hoppy taste with a tropical fruit punch. Wiper and True are also known for their innovative minimalist artwork.
Cloudwater: Autumn Red Ale (Manchester)
My top new arrival in the UK is Cloudwater. This Mancunian brewery has a season-centric approach to brewing as they produce summer, winter and autumn ranges. Their Autumn Red Ale is bouncy with pine and toffee hints, tasting more like a pale ale than its hazy dark appearance would indicate.
Pina Colada – Tiny Rebel (Newport) and Dugges (Sweden)
The spawn of a collaboration between a Welsh and Swedish brewery, this pale ale attempts to provide a twist on the Copacabana favourite – and it does fantastically well. It is a triumph, pale and wheaty with pineapple notes and hints of coconut. You could say this creation is the craft beer movement incarnate: bold, unusual, experimental and ultimately bloody brilliant.