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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


Brodie’s Amarilla, Black IPA and Californian

beer tastings 2011

ABV: 4.2%, 6.8% and 5.3%
Origin: Leyton, London E10, England

Brodie's Amarilla English Summer Ale

Brother and sister James and Lizzie Brodie exercise two of the most fertile imaginations in London brewing in their small brewhouse behind the sprawling old William IV near Leyton Green. When I spoke to James earlier in the year, they’d brewed 40 different beers since taking over and reviving the derelict brewery in 2008, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the total is now 60 and rising.

The beers have ranged from traditional British styles and historical recreations to all manner of delightful eccentricities. There’s been an East End rye beer made in the presence of a rabbi, a 22% naturally fermented Elizabethan Ale, a strong chilli-infused dark lager named Doppel Dunkel Weiße Heiße, and a Pink Pride beer brewed in solidarity with victims of homophobic violence. There are beers with American hops, spiced and fruit beers, imperial stouts, and various pleasing nods to the cosmopolitan culture of East London with, for example, real ale versions of Caribbean stouts.

The pair’s father Brian Brodie has owned the pub for 13 years, and back in 2000 he worked with a third party to set up the Sweet William brewery, fitting out the stables with a new five barrel (8hl) plant designed and installed by Rob Jones of Dark Star. But things didn’t quite work out and brewing ceased in 2005, until three years later when James and Lizzie, longtime homebrewers, revived it, becoming one of the first of a new wave of London brewers.

When I visited the William to gather some tasting samples for a BEER piece about London bottle conditioned beers to tie in with the launch of my London guidebook, I ended up picking up 12 bottles out of a huge range, and with these and numerous other opportunities, I now have notes on approaching 30 Brodie’s beers. In this and subsequent postings I’ve picked out nine of the most interesting.

Brodie's Californian

Amarilla is one of the most popular beers, described as an English summer ale but with definite American pale influences, and foregrounding the character of the Amarillo hop, as pronounced in East London. A cask version I tasted at the William was a slightly hazy light gold with hardly any head and a grapefruit and passion fruit aroma with a slightly sweated hop note. A nice light grainy palate had more exotic fruit with lychee and grapefruit, taking on a more syrupy note in the mouth. A long, decent and refreshing slightly thistly finish turned bitterish with perhaps a slight slick of fatty dark chocolate. The combination of grainy middle and vivid fruity hop notes accounts for the beer’s appeal.

, or Cascadian Ale as it’s sometimes known, is currently high fashion in the world of internationl beer geekery, a hybrid style combining American IPA-like hopping with dark porter-style malts. I’ve not been entirely convinced by some of the examples I’ve tried as they seemed too much of a shouting match of strident roast and citric hops. But Brodie’s Black IPA, which I sampled on cask during the William’s late summer festival, is one of the more successful.

The beer is black with a bubbly yellowy beige head and a spicy dark resiny aroma balanced by malt. There’s thick toffee and dark cake on a sweetish palate followed almost immediately by a firm through controlled pinne and citrus hit, with enough fruity complexity to foffset the bitterness. A fruity, smooth, dark and chewy finish remains thick and citric with lingering marmalade flavours.

Californian was one of my review bottles, a pale yellow very lively beer with a thick white head that makes a virtue of the piney Chinook hop. This is obvious in a resiny hop aroma with some vegetal farmyard and light pinoli notes. A crisp vanilla malt palate is immediately beset by chewy, piney, grapefruit hop flavours which remain fresh and assertive but not overbitter. The chewy resinous finish has hints of light malt, earthy lime and peach.

For more Brodie’s beers see next post.

Read more about these beers at

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