Not even April showers could dampen spirits at the inaugural London Brewers’ Market of 2016. Held in partnership with the Independent Label Market on the 4 April, Old Spitalfields Market was occupied by 26 independent brewers from across the capital. Attracting a steady stream of pundits for one afternoon, drinkers and breweries came together to exalt great beer. Brewers eagerly showcased a range of styles, representing the innovative spirit behind London’s growing brewing scene.
With such a dizzying selection on offer, it was a defensible act to overlook a stall. It was equally pardonable if- instead of pushing the boat out- you were tempted by an old favourite. The cold, harsh reality is that it was impossible to try everything on offer.
With that acknowledgement of our individual limitations — whether attributable to time or ABVs — I’ve compiled a list of five beers that were proffered at LBM. These are representative of the spectrum of styles currently in demand in the city.
• The Five Points Brewing Company: Vito’s Brown Ale (Now known as Brick Field Brown)
The most recent version of this brown ale was unveiled at LBM. Although it pours an opaque black, its high carbonation and dry finish made it a highly sessionable choice. It delivered warm malty notes with hints of dark chocolate. Deliciously moreish and undoubtedly one to track down again.
• Hackney Brewery: Kiwi Thunder
A solid IPA with a clout of antipodean flavours. The New Zealand hops gave it aromas of juicy grapefruit, orange peel and other tropical notes- the taste also delivered the same citrusy punch, balanced with light sweetness from the malt. A zesty IPA that’s worth revisiting.
• Rocky Head Brewery: Pale Ale
An American pale ale from a small brewery based in Southfields, this was a flavoursome and balanced pale ale. Golden, unfiltered and using new world hops, this smooth-drinking pint had aromas of citrus and pine. A hint of sweetness from the malt and a clean finish make this a fruity and pleasant choice.
• One Mile End: Blood Orange Wheat DIPA
With an ABV of 7.4%, this packed a punch. A complex aroma of marmalade, pepper and citrus, this dark golden beer was intensely citrusy at first sip. The bitter hops then kicked in and the alcohol lent a warming finish. It grew on me, but I didn’t dare go back for a second so early in the afternoon.
• Anspach & Hobday: The Sour Dry Hop
A sour/wild ale that was outstanding. It carried an aroma of acidic lemon and followed through with lip-puckering tartness. It finished with a dry crispness and screamed out for an afternoon session in the sun.
This is by far a non-exhaustive list, but it highlights the varied tastes catered for at LBM and across London more generally. It will be fascinating to see what styles prevail at the next LBM-yet to be confirmed-but we hopefully won’t be kept on tenterhooks for too long.
Originally published at londonbrewersmarket.com on May 9, 2016.