Beer of the Moment: The Kernel Brewery, London

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Mar 14th, 2012
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Your new plans for Saturday

Cancel your plans. Drop everything. Whatever it is on your schedule, you can always do it later. Do you not understand how to procrastinate?  Wikipedia defines procrastination as the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one derives enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.

So maybe it’s not procrastination after all. Let’s just say that you will derive enjoyment from a visit to The Kernel.  But who is to say that such enjoyment should not be your priority? You owe it to yourself …  you’ve earned it … what would the Kernel do?

Saturday, you need to reward yourself with a visit to The Kernel Brewery in Bermondsey.

The Kernel was undoubtedly the highlight of last weekend’s WDT London Spring Beer Weekend 2012.

Their single hop series of IPAs and double IPAs are outstanding. Bottle aged, with an impressive yeast sediment, these beers have more depth and body than your typical IPA. And consider this this comment is coming from a fan of US west coast IPAs such as Stone, Sculpin and Green Flash … not to mention the Pizza Port brewpubs.

Kernel Double Citra IPA: A Tasty Experiment in Nuclear Fission

The focus on a single hop series of bottle conditioned beers certainly draws comparisons to Mikkeller. The Mikkeller series is great, but while The Kernel does not have nearly as broad of a range (yet), to me they have more of a small batch charm.

During our visit to the Kernel (and other bars that served Kernel beers), we enjoyed their Columbus (taste is more upfront, the GTG says it’s “A shot of malty vanilla followed by a baseball bat of hops”), Galaxy (more of a slow burn on the back of the throat), Nelson Sauvin (fruitier, almost like a hint of white grape), and Chinook (similar to Nelson, but lighter). We also enjoyed stronger double IPAs … the double Citra was like sunshine in a bottle, bright and excellently balanced … a 9.8% strength beer full of flavour … maybe a hint of lemon, vanilla, peach … or quite possibly active nuclear fission, as it seemed to have the power of the sun … and I’ve never tasted nuclear fission before so it’s hard to compare … so let’s just call it brilliant … and glowing. The aged double Centennial was also excellent, if not quite as memorable (or glowing) as the Citra, although it did have quite the yeasty sediment.

Liquid bread

They also had an Export Stout available … smoky and rich … would probably go quite well with the sausages and cheeses available in the market area around The Kernel. However, after the IPAs, it is hard to switch gears to the stout.

The Kernel is open Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. They are surrounded by a market of food vendors, so it’s a great way to spend your Saturday midday, even if you’re not on a liquid diet.  You can find more information at

In a few weeks time (March 31), The Kernel will be moving to a new location several blocks away. Presently they are about equidistant from London Bridge and Bermondsey tube stops (10 minute walk or so), but the new location looks closer to Bermondsey.

If for some reason you can’t make it out midday Saturday (it is a rather long journey for some of us), try their beers at the Euston Tap (an excellent bar right outside Euston Station) or the Cask Pub & Kitchen in Pimlico.

WDT London Spring Beer Weekend 2012

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Mar 7th, 2012
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Featured Beer for WDT London Spring Beer Weekend 2012
A Special Supplement from The Greytown Gazette
Kernel Brewery India Pale Ale (Columbus)
A Baseball Bat of Hops
This weekend, the World Drinking Tour is teaming up with The Grey Town Gazette for a London pub crawl/economic stimulus program.  Enjoy this taster note for one of the weekend’s featured beverages, which was originally published in the GTG.  Be sure click the “More” button for more from the GTG!

Man's Best Friend

Vital Statistics:

Creator: The Kernel Brewery, Bermondsey
Style: Strong IPA with Columbus Hops
Strength: 7.1% ABV
AI Value:* Initial results question the speed of light but final confirmation awaits peer review
Killer App: Strips the grease off fish and chips in 30 seconds flat
Medicinal Qualities: A no-nonsense Matron who slaps you in the face and tells you to stop being a sissy
Tasting notes: A shot of malty vanilla followed by a baseball bat of hops
Grey Scale Rating:** Platinum
Wt Relativity Index*** 9.1


Brewvival 2012 – Charleston, SC

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Feb 26th, 2012
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I’ve got to hand it to the folks at Coast Brewing Company.  They know how to throw a beer festival.

Yes, it was crowded.  (I’m guessing 2,500 people, but I really have no idea.)

Yes, the lines were too long … we waited in line for somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes to get in … and some of the lines at particular brewery tents were just way too long.

But what made up for all that was the number of unique and quality beers available.  This is not your typical beer festival, where craft brewers trot out their core product line.  The allure of this festival is that brewers tend to bring their more unique and experimental offerings.

To give you an idea, I’m including my beer log from Brewvival 2012.

Before we get to the full list, a few highlights:

Weyerbacher Riserva was an outstanding sour American Wild Ale … it reminded me a lot of Oerbier Reserve.

Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels was delicious, particularly on such a cold windy day.

Funky Buddha’s No Crusts sounded disgusting (liquid peanut butter and jelly), but was delicious.

Holy City’s Imperial Pilsner and Bacon Porter were both fantastic.

I was also reminded of how much I like  Foothills Sexual Chocolate … I wish they had better distribution in my area.


Tripel + Dubbel = Trubbel

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Dec 29th, 2011
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Featured Beverage
A great drink to enjoy with friends
Tripel + Dubbel = Trubbel
Pimp my Dubbel : playing with perfection isn’t always wrong!

Article originally published in GTG Nov 2011

Applied Maths

Vital Statistics:

Creator: Cafe Trappisten Westmalle
Style: Whatever you want it to be
Strength: 7.5-8% ABV depending on mix
AI Value:* 8
Killer App: Causes spontaneous texting in tongues
Medicinal Qualities: Cures introversion
Tasting notes: 2 + 3 = 10
Grey Scale Rating:** Platinum
Wt Relativity Index*** 9.9


Brew Basics

Pimp my Dubbel: a beguiling mix of Westmalle Tripel and Dubbel, nominally in 50:50 proportions


As far as we know this ‘cocktail beer’ was created at the Cafe Trappisten Westmalle, the ‘official’ bar of the Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle, just across the road from the entrance to the Abbey itself (more…)

Lowlander Grand Cafe (a.k.a.’Lowlifer’)

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Sep 1st, 2011
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Watering Hole
Bar of the Month

Lowlander Grand Cafe (a.k.a.’Lowlifer’)

Special Report by Grey Town Downtime Reviews Editor Round A.Bout.
Originally published in the Grey Town Gazette April 2011 Edition. Reprinted with permission.

Comfort Zone

The only bar to evict us for not drinking enough

Conveniently located on this side of the channel, Lowlander offers a Belgian-Dutch drinking experience to London-based beer lovers. And by virtue of it’s Covent Garden address it offers the added bonus of being a perfect sanctuary for beer connoisseurs wishing to escape from a tedious musical, play or shopping expedition

The Beers

Lowlander’s well stocked cellar includes all the stalwart Belgian bottled beers – Westmalle, Duvel, Rochefort etc – and numerous draft brews which this reviewer confesses to rarely trying, but it’s also noteworthy for importing some more interesting lines from less well know brewers, such as ‘Hopus’ by Brasserie Lefebvre and the products of the Netherlander Texelse Bierbrouwerij. Be sure to check out their ‘Beers from the Cellar’ and ‘Hidden Treasures’ lists for other interesting things to try

Thankfully, Lowlander differs from actual Belgian and Dutch bars in one important respect: it serves a wide range of excellent meals and snacks

Lowlander is clearly run by people who know and love their beers and this extends to the helpful staff, all of whom are friendly and attentive, in particular the very knowledgeable Danish waitress from Preston


WDT 2011 Countdown #6 & 7

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Aug 27th, 2011
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Beam me up Scotty!

This is a reprint of a special daily supplement from the Greytown Gazette.

Seven Days: Seven Beers: Seven Reasons to Live

Beverages of the Day – Balkan 176 Vodka & Tequila/Spicy Tomato Combo


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