Sunday, 21 April 2013
Beers Of London Series
20. Camden Town Brewery - Camden Pale Ale 4.0%
Here's another 'brewery under the railway arches', in fact this is such a common theme that perhaps a series of 'underneath the arches' beers is due from somebody. Around the country and further afield there's probably enough breweries to fill a good-sized book about 'sub-rail ales' (you read it here first!).
Camden Town Brewery proper dates back to 2010, when a brewery producing 'Mac's beer' (from Mclaughlin - Patricia McLaughlin inherited a brewery in Australia in the 1960s, but sold it as she was unable to run it. One of her children, Jasper Cuppaidge moved to London and re-created the beer in his pub for his mum's 50th birthday) moved from the cellar of the Horseshoe Pub in Hampstead to an above-ground location in Camden. The brewery bar itself opened in March 2012 and has become a bit of a must-visit venue for those that like to take a tour London's breweries, or just those in search of a decent beer.
Camden Pale Ale is brewed with Cascade, Columbus, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra hops, three different malts and wheat but has a lower abv than you might associate with other American-style Pale Ales. It pours the colour of spun gold with nearly-white carbonated head. There's an aroma of sugary sweet pineapple and mango chewy sweets, but with hints of crisp apple and lemon juice too. It glides over the tongue with the faintest prickle of carbonation, with little flavour dabs of lemon zest and grapefruit peel but these are faint, wishy-washy and brief, as in rolls a big crushing wave of Rich Tea biscuit maltiness, showing who's boss and dominating the palate. The finish is nicely dry and sweet, tingling with more biscuit crumbs and draws you back to the beer for another gulp.
This is a very good beer but can't help feeling that there's been a compromise flavour-wise (certainly where the hops are concerned) to keep the abv down. This isn't an old brewery by any standards but I feel that the 'core' beers are starting to taste a little tired due to the sheer volume and quality of competition out there now, particularly in London. Having said that though, their beers certainly well worth drinking and if you wanted to introduce someone to the merits of good, tasty beer then this would be bang on the money.