Ah Kew Gardens, one of the nicest outdoor spots you can visit in London. Sometimes visits to this green space can be gloriously relaxing, even invigorating. Other times you’re left stranded on the treetop walkway, trapped by a thousand strong throng of people as the platform sways with the weight of bodies, reminding you that the whole thing could collapse at any moment, plunging all of us to our deaths.
Most of the time it’s quite nice though. Experiences like this remind me a little of visiting the pub. Sometimes you want to walk into a crowded bar and party. But others times you just want a nice, quiet little corner and a strong enough Wi-Fi signal so that you can sit and continually refresh your preferred social media channel endlessly, without being disturbed.
The last time I visited Kew Gardens I was pleased to see Dave Scott of Kew Brewery slinging his beers at a busy Sunday market. The brewery, which was set up by Dave and his wife Rachel, hit the ground running when they launched in May 2015. The Scotts have long been local to Kew, so it was no surprise to discover that they donate 5p of every pint sold to the World Land Trust.
Kew’s beers are inspired by its locale, proudly featuring British ingredients and occasionally including a botanical twist. Botanic Amber, for example, features just a hint of juniper. The malted barley is satisfyingly prominent in this beer, providing a rounded, caramel sweetness, which is then framed by an almost strawberry-like note from First Gold hops. The juniper arrives in the finish, with a bitter snap that gently lifts this 3.8% ABV beer to the next level, adding another subtle dimension of flavour.
Whether you’re looking to party in the treetops, or just sit on your own and relax with merely the entire internet for company, Kew’s Botanic Amber makes an ideal accompaniment.
Music Pairing: Radiohead – There There (The Boney King of Nowhere)
Radiohead are perhaps the band that’s had the greatest influence on me musically and so, like all other Radiohead fans I lost my shit at the news of a new album the other week.
One of my all-time favourite ‘Head (Radio, not Talking – although that’s where the former got their name from) tracks comes from their 2003 long player Hail to the Thief. HTTF is my perfect summer album, with dark, rich tracks evoking fat, thunderstorm rain and trees heavy with leaves. So it seems the perfect track to pair with this beer from Kew. That and (spoiler alert) at the end of the video frontman Thom Yorke actually turns into a tree. Enjoy this one loud – this is Radiohead at their guitar infused best.
You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And you can get Kew Botanic Amber delivered to your door via our new online shop.