Camden Town

Matthew Curtis's No More Heroes IX – Camden Town Brewery Beer 2015

By now it’s likely you’ve heard the news that last week Camden Town Brewery sold to AB-InBev, the largest drinks company in the world, who produce beers such as Stella Artois and Budweiser.

As a local to the brewery and a supporter of small, independent producers, I struggled to hide my disappointment at the news. I collected a few of my thoughts about the takeover on my own blog here. But despite my disappointment, it’s important to remember that Camden still produces some of the best beers in the country and that they’re spearheading a lager revolution in the UK.

Lager is the most popular style of beer in the world, accounting for about 70% of all beer consumed across the globe. With its Unfiltered Hells, Pils and India Hells Lager, Camden are producing three of the most interesting and flavourful riffs on the lager style you’ll find. It’s important to remember that the change in ownership won’t instantly reduce the quality of the beers fermenting away under the arches at its Kentish Town brewery.

Camden also do a lot more experimentation than people realise, which includes a small yet tasteful barrel ageing program that’s been running for a couple of years. The most recent release from this stable is Beer 2015, the third in a series of beers produced to mark the end of the year.

Beer 2015 is a strong lager that’s been aged in second fill whisky, tequila and rum barrels. As these barrels have already been used to age beer in before the flavours absorbed by the beer are less intense but are by no means less complex. What you’ll find is a slightly sweet beer with a flavour reminiscent of an Oloroso sherry. This is followed by a sharp, tannic bite, almost like black tea, which is rounded out with just a hint of oak as the finish dies.

It’s a special beer, and shows what Camden is capable of producing. Beers in big bottles like this are ideal for sharing on New Year's Eve, I know I’ll be cracking one open. Here’s a happy new year from me, and a toast to all the great beer yet to be discovered in 2016.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. 

New stuff in store, 3 December

It's December, so it's officially approved to use the C-word. It's OK to mention Christmas too. Here's what's new and coming at you this week.

FESTIVE BEERS:

Joining Brewdog Hoppy Christmas IPA, Weird Beard Black Christmas Cranberry Stout, Struisse Tjeeses Reserva 2013 and Mikkeller Hoppy Lovin' Xmas in the festive line-up, we have:

  • Camden Beer 2015 - a malty bock lager aged in bourbon, tequila, rum and cognac barrels. Festivity in a bottle.
  • Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper - a Belgian strong dark ale aged in tequila barrels. That's the Christmas spirit!
  • Mikkeller Fra Til Via - a porter with Christmas spices. Handily includes a gift tag on the label for gift giving made easy.
  • Mikkeller Nelson Sauvignon. A 750ml sharer that's been fermented with champagne yeast, brettanomyces and enzymes, then aged in Chardonnay white wine casks. One to pop for the New Year's celebrations? Regardless, you need this in your life. 
  • Pressure Drop India Rubber Ball - the juicy banger to end all juicy bangers, crammed full of Citra hops and clementines. We are ridiculously in love with this beer and we're not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

Also:

  • Two new beers from the glorious Buxton Brewery that we're beyond excited about. Trolltunga Gooseberry Sour IPA is everything you want from an autumnal sour - delightfully tart - and The Living End Imperial Stout is probably the best bourbon-aged stout you'll drink all year.
  • Two new big 750ml sharers from Wild Beer. The Blend Winter 2015 Beyond Modus II is a limited edition special release based around their flagship Modus Operandi sour, blended with other barrel-aged beers from their library. Try it against the Summer Blend for an study in compare and contrast. Squashed Grapes is the beer that had Glenn blathering on for days after trying (and loving) it at Taste of London. It pretty much does what it says on the tin - it's like red and white grapes got funky. Exquisite.
  • Two new darks from our South Eastern friends Fourpure and Orbit - Fourpure's Morning Star Vanilla Porter is a luxurious chocolate number fermented with French oak chips and matured with whole Madagascan Vanilla beans. And Orbit's Seven Double Stout makes its return for 2015 - we'll be launching it at the shop on Friday, where you'll be able to try it against last year's Seven which we cunningly aged for the past year because we loved it so much.
  • And finally some returns. Magic Rock cans! Cannonball, High Wire Grapefruit, Salty Kiss - come get some. And the always popular Marble Manchester Bitter is back. Happy days.