Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Beers Of London Series: 62. Brixton Brewery - Reliance Pale Ale 4.2%

Beers Of London Series
62. Brixton Brewery - Reliance Pale Ale 4.2%

This is the second Brixton Brewery beer in a row that I've reviewed, and there's a very good reason for that. As I was writing about the Electric IPA I requested a bit more information from Jez and although it arrived a little too late for that one I felt I'd really like to let you know more about this brewery as soon as possible. Well, that ... and I was anxious to try more of their beer.
I mentioned in the previous review that Jez and Mike were avid home brewers but what I didn't realise at the time is that they were also friends and neighbours since 2006, on Saltoun Road if you know the area. It was in 2009 however that Jez had his personal epiphany when a friend who lived in Borough persuaded him to come along to visit a new brewery that had opened in nearby Bermondsey. That brewery was The Kernel, and on meeting Evin O'Riordain and tasting the beer that they were producing Jez says "I was staggered about what could be achieved and that was definitely one thing that majorly inspired me to be part of the London brewing scene."

They draw a lot of parallels with New York's  Brooklyn Brewery too where the founders were home brewing neighbours in an area with a rich brewing heritage and wanted to give something to the local community.

American style beers are a particular favourite and they want to continue making beers in that style for a while before venturing into more 'extreme' territory, but they do have a stout and a brown ale in the works that they hope to add to the three core beers in the range in the not too distant future.
Before I move on to the beer I must make a quick reference to the artist who designed those graphically appealing colour-saturated beer labels as I know there is an interest in good design amongst many of you. Emma Scott-Child is a local graphic designer based at Bird Seed Studios near Coldharbour Lane and here is a link if you wish to see more of her work.

Reliance Pale Ale is named after one of the covered arcades that radiate from Brixton Market where local cobblers and tailors still practice there craft, an artisan beer named for an area of artisan workman. They currently bottle most of their beer with the occasional casked versions available and kegging is planned in the near future, but as it's the bottled version I have tonight it's time to get it open and see what it's like.

Pouring a rather delicious shade of autumn sunset orange and with a relatively thin off-white head, it has the aroma of satsuma juice and a touch of elderflower mixed with one or two drops of pineapple juice, tangy and floral and maybe a little coriander seed in there too. It slips smoothly down the throat before the carbonation kicks in at the roof of the palate and the tip of the tongue simultaneously with a fizzing buzzy bitterness. There's a big wash of pithy orange flavour, both juicy and bitter at the same time but this is quite clipped, followed by a wheaty malty biscuit caramel which is rather nice. This dries quickly into an zesty orange peel-like flavour which fills the mouth with an acidic citrus bitterness which becomes quite intense in the centre of the tongue and although this doesn't last for an eternity as the flavour of the Electric IPA seemed to it does seem to leave a ghostly imprint to remind you of what was once there.

I really like this beer, especially the bitterness of it, but I know it might be a little too much for some as it truly is all about bitter pithy oranginess all the way through. Brixton Brewery have designed their beers to go with food and I can see this working rather well with roast chicken or panna cotta where it would work rather well as a counterpoint, however it may well be lost in stronger flavoured dishes. Give it a try.

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