A trip down to London’s Bermondsey ‘Beer Mile’ is always a tantalising prospect, with some heavy hitters on the UK scene based along the stretch of railway arches providing some simply stunning beers. On this occasion, the trip was one with more of a focus on industry than imbibing. An early start for us from Reading’s Earley station, a connection at Waterloo and then on via the tube to Bermondsey meant the slightly cloudy head from the night before took some management.
The narrow but well managed space at Anspach & Hobday is one of the more ‘snug’ arrangements the Beer Collective have brewed in; space is at a premium in this city, but the work around is quite sleek. The sleekness is on the layout of the mash tun, kettle and hot liquor tank was impressive; for those of a certain age who can remember the late 1980’s computer game ‘Pipe Dream’, there was a piece of kit perfect for managing the transfers in the form of a junction plate/exchanger.
Headroom was also something not exactly in abundance on the premises; pouring the malt into the mash tun was a fairly awkward activity; heavy sacks full of grain being lifted whilst simultaneously avoiding cracking your head on a girder was an interesting sport. The mix of malts used in this beer were designed to give maximum colour and crispness and provide a bedrock for the hop combination to really sing for our collaboration beer. Late addition of darker malts to the sparge meant some deeper colour without too much of the roasted character which was less desirable in this brew.
During the mash and the boil, we indulged in some of the wonderful beer fresh from the tanks at the brewery; the lager, pale ale and a recent Gose brewed for Harry Potter themed bars all went down very easily indeed and were a stark reminder just how solid and enjoyable the beers brewed by Anspach & Hobday really are. We were also invited to try another brewery collaboration tradition, with some Irish whisky added to the wort it was a rather sweet, fortifying but ultimately delicious combination, albeit unusual for breakfast time! The wort upon transfer was given various additions of big new world hops for both bittering and aroma, Chinook and Columbus used mainly, with some dry hopping to follow using two other excellently juicy varieties of hop.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Anspach & Hobday and the Liverpool Beer Collective give you:
Cygnus X – a Black IPA
Angela Cottrell and Pedro.