They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Kernel Brewery

The Kernel Brewery got a visit from a friendly spectre the other day. Yes a couple of days ago I was fortunate enough to pop down and visit, not only London's, but one of the U.K.'s most exiting up and coming breweries.

Now the day started by trying to find out if I and Ghost Girlfriend were in the right place exactly. As you can see below, I don't think I've ever been to a brewery which looked so much unlike a brewery. As we all know though, don't judge your beers by the labels!

Kernel brewery is situated right under the railway arches which pass over Druid Street. When I asked Evin if the rumbling trains were a nuisance he came back with the obvious answer "what trains?" The front of the unit can be quite deceiving though as the area inside is rather large. Inside houses not only the brewery but also fantastic meat and cheese producers, who all like to get together on Saturdays and sell there wares (with the brewery) in front as sort of a mini market. Beer, cheese and cured meat - what else could a man ask for?

Now Kernel is a small but inspiring 4 barrel plant run by 3 good ol' beer renegades (apologies if I get these spelt wrong) - Evin O'Riordain, Chrigl Luthy and Toby Mann.

Above you can see Evin and I (using the camera) Eating some sneaky cured ham while Toby weighs out some simcoe hops! mmmm....

Some supplies for the road!
The brewery normally produces bottled beer. Sometimes they might make some beer for cask, but when asked why they don't make more cask, Evin simply stated that casks were quite expensive, and it was quite hard to move them around. You may think why's that? hard to move casks, just get a van you say..... but Kernel has a method a little different for delivering there beer;

Nice. This is why the Rake sees most of Kernel's beer, as it's a ten minute walk away. It's also why when I stated that it would be great to see these beer's in Beer Ritz, Evin asked if I had a small van on hand to get them up there. Maybe if I asked Zak nicely we could take a little transit trip down to London.... ;) (just like old times, heh)

I was lucky enough (for me, not for them) to get to the brewery right in the middle of a brew, so the whole place was filled with bustling brewers and familiar aromas of delicious hops and smooth malty wort. 

You can see above the usual hot liquor tank (background) which pipes into the middle mash tun and then into the kettle (foreground). The mash tun even has it's own classic squeaky sparge arms. After Evin showed us around the rest of the unit, looking at the fermentation tanks and how they get around to bottling, It was time for some beer, whilst Toby filled the kettle with a shed load of simcoe hops.

Evin was nice enough to crack open a couple of bottles for us to try; there infamous black IPA and a new brew - S.C.C.A.NS. IPA - which translates as IPA with simcoe, citra, columbus, apollo and nelson sauvin hops. (sounds good right?) All the breweries beers have a large amount of sediment to them - even the paler ones, which I think creates a proper beer, and I think it may have been a contributing factor to how fresh these beers tasted. (maybe, maybe not - they could have just been super fresh.)

The black IPA was a great beer - Evin said he was trying to find a great balance of bitterness in the beer. He didn't want the bitterness of the hops to clash with the bitterness of the dark malts - and for all accounts, he pulled it off perfectly. The other IPA was a crazy beer. It was so juicy but at the same time it was so moorishly bitter and dry that you couldn't stop drinking it - dangerous stuff at 7.5%! a proper hop punch in the face of a beer.

When asked what beers they brew or what they like to brew I was given the response of "pale and dark beers" - nuff said really, if it ain't broke.... After a few more minutes of nerdy beer conversation with the guys, it was time for me to buy an amount of beer which I would regret after carrying it round London all day, (worth it though) and push on letting them get back to brewing.

Ghostie and Evin (wonder if he'll mind the graffiti I slapped on the wall?)
So that was my trip to the Kernel Brewery. It was incredibly nice of Evin to let me and G.G. to look round the brewery, especially as it's not open to the public during the week, and they were in the middle of a brew. It does a great deal for my firm notion that brewers are the most interesting, nicest and strangest people around, so thanks to all you guys - it was really cool of you. I will continue to sing the praises of Kernel brewery, and will try find a way to get there beers in Beer Ritz, even if I nag Zak to death. If you see there beers grab em! If your around London, you should be able to grab some from the Rake, or take a little trip to the brewery itself on a Saturday, it's well worth it. Give Beer Merchants a look in too for supplies.

A brewery to definitely look out for in the next few years - I see big things in there future. As for now, I'll enjoy my little bottle of Kernel IPA only hopped with citra - beast of a beer! thanks again to all who work at The Kernel Brewery, hope to see you guys again at some point.


  1. Very good, very good indeed. I've got a Kernel feature coming up, and I've spent that last few weeks working through thier entire range - it's probably one of the best, comprehensively tasty beer ranges I've enjoyed for a long time. great beers.

  2. Kat and I dropped down to London for the sole reason of visiting Kernel Brewery. I'm an Imperial Stout hunter and picked up a bottle from the beermerchants site as part of a random selection. The next weekend we were on a train to London!

    I loved the beers that are being produced there, and the community around the brewery. We hung around a bit, drank some of our purchases, and chatted with locals who drop in regularly to pick up their home-beers through to other pilgrims such as ourselves. You can tell you're amongst beer geeks when you discover you're sitting next to a fellow BrewDog shareholder. :)

    Some of the best bottled UK beers I've had. A Black IPA that has only been rivalled by top condition Thornbridge Raven. An Imperial Stout that I'm really trying to keep "cellared" and give some time... so difficult.

  3. Leigh - I look forward to your posts!

    Yvan - I've only tried about 4 or 5 different black IPA's and I can say without fear of being called an ass-kisser that Kernel's was the best if not on a par with Stone's Self-righteous. I purchased a few of the imperial stouts - one of course for aging, one for in a couple of weeks. Always nice to speak to a fellow I.S. ager, I'm currently drinking Anastasia's I.S. from Ascot Ales, which I picked up from Utobeer. - Gotta love the black liquid!!

  4. Excellent brewery tour post, Kernel are on my 'Baron on Tour' list now...

    Tried the Black IPA last night, it was amazing, definitely [baron rating 5/5] look out for the audio review on my blog soon.