Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Beers Of London Series 73. The Cronx Brewery - Standard

Beers Of London Series
73. The Cronx Brewery - Standard 3.8%

The Cronx are London brewery number 44 to feature in this series so far and one I have been trying to source beer from for a while without success, either just missing their beer on at pubs around town or finding that some shops have sold out. I really should have made the trek down to Croydon to source some locally but I found that even though I planned to make the journey on a good few occasions I found myself thwarted by circumstances beyond my control. Well maybe not completely beyond my control but enough to side-track me and keep me from my destination.

The Cronx Brewery were formed in 2011 when Mark Russell, a wholesaler of alcoholic drinks, met Simon Dale, a regulatory advisor for an asset management company in the City, and found they were both having a similar thought, that of establishing a new brewery in Croydon, the first since Page and Overton closed its doors for the last time in 1954. After some test brews, much planning and finding some commercial premises, their brewery equipment was delivered on 10th July 2012, they brewed for the first time on 18th July 2012 (coincidentally my birthday), with their first beer on sale in the pubs of Croydon on Wednesday 8th August 2012 (also coincidentally my wedding anniversary).

They have five permanent beers in their range, Standard - which is the beer I have here, Kotchin - a blonde ale brewed with Cascade, Nektar - a Pale Ale brewed with Polish Marynka hops, Entire - a traditional Porter, and Mad Ass Entire - a not-so-traditional Porter brewed with smoked chilli peppers from the Mad-Ass Chilli Sauce Co Ltd, as well as Single Hop Series, seasonal beers, specials and the occasional one-off. This particular beer I picked up from my good friends at Ales By Mail who have helped me out with a good many of the beers in this series.

The Standard pours a beautiful brown/orange akin to varnished rosewood, crowned with a dense and creamy beige head and it takes that creaminess with it as it passes over the tongue but with the addition of good prickle of carbonation that isn't at all apologetic and adds to the enjoyment of the taste. The aroma is full of sweet chocolate fudge with a little lactic bite that brings out some gooey dried papaya, syrup covered dates and rich suet pudding flavours, in fact the more it warms, the more it evolves in that respect with snatches of thyme and toffee apple in the mix as well. As you may expect with a beer of this low abv however it doesn't translate this aromatic complexity into the taste but it does bring a bitterness that balances very well with flavours of sweet caramel, fruity but understated date and raisin, and rather pleasingly some of that sticky stodgy suet pudding flavour I detected earlier. The finish too is rounded and long lasting with all those muted creamy pudding flavours coating the mouth and leaving a sherry-like resonance.

To be perfectly honest I really wasn't expecting this beer to be quite so good as it is. I must confess that when I picked up a bottle of 'Standard' then I thought I would be drinking a twiggy brown bitter much as you might find in any honest hostelry up and down the country, brewed by brewers sticking to time honoured recipes. Drinkable certainly but not remarkable. This is however, anything but standard, and actually their website describes it thus, but being the sceptic (or indeed cynic) that I am I tend to discount such frippery. On this occasion I was very very wrong and this is a very very good beer. I'll certainly be looking out for more beers from the Cronx to drink soon, and I suggest that you do too if you haven't already.

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