Another Wednesday, another Meet the Brewer in our Balham shop. These will never get old! This time we were lucky to get Brick Brewery to come down from Peckham Rye, and they bought plenty of treats with them. Joining us were Ian, the founder, and Aidan, the head of sales who joined in April. Having been founded in December 2013, we’d known about these guys for a while but it wasn’t until a few months ago when they began taking on new accounts that we were finally able to get their beers in. It was definitely worth the wait, as they proved a big success with you all. We were then obviously delighted when the opportunity to get them into the shop and have a Meet the Brewer came around.
To kick things off, we began with the Sir Thomas Gardyner, a 3.8% American Pale Ale. “But wait”, I hear you say, “isn’t that exclusively a cask beer, and your highly successful and amazing cask beer festival is now sadly over”. You’d be right, except this batch of Sir Thomas Gardyner is what makes these events so exciting – it’s an *exclusive*. Just for us, they put this beer into a keg and brought it along.
We are very glad that they did! I have never tried this beer on cask, not having seen it around this area – but I’m going to now seek it out. In keg it is wonderfully light, with a prominent citrus hop character that never intrudes too greatly. This is a beer that you’ll happily drink all night, and it won’t leave you debating whether or not a greasy kebab from under the railway arch is a good idea.
We then learnt a bit about the history of the brewery – namely, its name and the names of its beers. Whilst some breweries name themselves after the area they are in, Ian wanted to avoid that, and also to keep it simple. So, having moved into the railway arch that is their brewery, he took one look around, and named the brewery after the thing he saw most of – bricks.
Thus Brick Brewery was born. In terms of the beers name, the botanical historians amongst you (it’s a niche market we’re trying very hard to hit) may have noticed that the first beer we had is named after the prominent 17th century orchard owner, Sir Thomas Gardyner. If you know anything about this man, then you’ll know that he operated in Peckham (don’t believe me? Here’s his family tree). All of their beers are named after things associated with Peckham! This then became the perfect segue into the next beer.
Their Peckham Pils, a 4.8% pilsner, is not just named after something associated with Peckham, but the whole place. This pilsner is the perfect example of why this style became so popular, before mass production completely destroyed this style. Using German noble hops, hops with low bitterness and complex aromas, they have created a very easy drinking pils that is slightly dry and spicy on the finish, leaving you wanting more. This hop profile is also perfectly balanced by slight caramel sweetness from the malts.
We stayed in Europe for the next beer, with the eponymously titled Hefeweizen. This beers name can be broken into the “hefe-” prefix, meaning “with yeast”, and the weizen part, meaning wheat beer. As a result, this style has a cloudy appearance because of its unfiltered nature. Ian told us that the yeast can impart different flavours upon the beer depending on fermentation temperatures – at the hotter end, banana, whilst at the cooler end, cloves. Disliking both those flavours, Ian stuck firmly to his fence, and fermented it straight down the middle.
Unfortunately for him, this led to both those flavours being subtly present. What this caused was this cool little blend of the flavours, the sweetness of the banana flavour interacting nicely with the pleasant clove spiciness. It made this beer both very refreshing, but also slightly warming. This all came together to make a beer that was perfect for the days capricious weather. Both a brilliant summers day drink, and one to have when watching a deluge of rain through a window.
With that, we came to the final beer of the night, their Pioneer IPA. At 5.9%, this is a bit lowish for what is expected of IPAs, but to be honest, it hits a great middle ground. With most breweries looking at around 6.5% to 7.5% for their IPAs, and around 4.5% for their session IPAs, this ABV is perhaps a less well trodden territory. What it means is that this beer still manages to get that body of the high alcohol IPAs, but if you’re willing to have a slightly sore head in the morning, you can session this beer. It has all of the usual, juicy, high hoppy notes that you’d want from any IPA. There is a sweet, caramel backbone that backs up the brighter grapefruit and pithy bitterness perfectly.
As we were finishing up, the rain started to come down in Biblical proportions, forcing us to all stay in a bit longer. Unfortunately, this meant more drinking and more chatting. It became obvious that Aidan and Ian were both particularly proud of what they had built up in Peckham, but still had some awesome plans! What’s particularly exciting is the Tap Room exclusives that they brew on Ian’s 100 litre kit. If you’re a “tapper”, make sure to get down to their tap room on a Friday or Saturday to get some stuff that you won’t find anywhere else.
*the tone of this blog is in no way altered by the fact that I am wearing a Brick Brewery t-shirt