Sunday, 6 October 2013

Beers Of London Series: 58. Clarkshaws - Phoenix Rising 4.0%

Beers Of London Series
58. Clarkshaws - Phoenix Rising 4.0%

One of the pleasures that I take from writing about London beers (and beer in general for that matter), aside from the obvious advantage of actually drinking them, is coming across a beer from a new brewery when you're not expecting it. This was the case last Thursday when, on route to Belleville Brewing (of which much more at a later date) I dropped in at The Harp near Covent Garden as I had heard that there might be the possibility of some Kent Green Hop Beers there. This wasn't the case, however what I did find was a beer from a brewery that I had only discovered was in existence a few weeks before.
Clarkshaws, based in East Dulwich in South London, are the first in the capital to produce Vegetarian Society accredited beer, only using ingredients sourced in the UK and refraining from the use of isinglass (derived from fish) for beer clarification. Taking its name from its founders, Ian Clark and Lucy Grimshaw, they only started brewing at the beginning of September this year with the first two beers being Gorgons Alive (4.0%) a Golden Ale and Phoenix Rising (also 4.0%) which is the beer that I found in The Harp. Brewed with Phoenix hops it's described as an easy-drinking session ale with 'hints of chocolate and well balanced malt in the mouth'. Lets see.
It pours an orange tinged ruby red with a head like a light dusting of snow, and whereas you might expect it to be hazy due the lack of isinglass, this isn't the case at all and it's very clear. It has the aroma of lime, grapefruit pulp, mango and sage that is rather inviting, and this manages to get through to me in spite of the mouth-watering smell of The Harp's famous sausages around me, but I decide to move to a different part of the pub so that I can appreciate the beer properly. It's very bitter over the tongue, with a tingle of carbonation on the tongue and it's this bitterness, which to me is like Angostura bitters mixed with caramel, a little milk chocolate drizzled with pineapple juice, that is the dominant flavour here. The finish is soft caramel date-laced fudged, sweet and juicy, but this dries a little too quickly due to its bitterness leaving a light burnt sugar taste.
This is a good first offering, a properly 'bitter' bitter, from what is an unique brewery in London at the moment. It is packed full of flavour, which is something that I look for in a beer, and if the rest of their beers are as good as this then they are destined for great things. I shall be watching their progress with interest.


  1. This beers-of-London-series is truly inspiring. Having been introduced to Clarkshaws a week earlier (I went along to their open day in East Dulwich on 29 Sept, where Ian gave a bunch of us a very enjoyable and informative mini-tour) i beat you to The Harp and they still had both Phoenix and Gorgons on. drink like a vegan!

    1. Thank you, comments like that are a great encouragement to me. I'll be looking out for the Gorgon and the rest of their beers, they certainly look like a brewery to watch.