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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

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Kernel Export Stout London 1890 and London Porter

London Beer Tastings 2011.
Export Stout was featured in a piece on bottle conditioned beers from London in
BEER August 2011. Read more about London bottle conditioned beers.

ABV: 7.8% and 5.6%
Origin: Bermondsey, London SE1, England
Website: www.thekernelbrewery.com

Evin O'Riordan of The brewery, London SE1

Evin O’Riordan, founder and head brewer at the Kernel brewery in Bermondsey, is not only arguably London’s highest rising new brewing star but is increasingly enjoying international recognition. Early in 2011 Kernel was listed as one of the top five new breweries in the world by users of the leading international beer rating website, ratebeer.com. Its strictly artisanal bottle conditioned beers with their tasteful, minimalist labels are also changing the way we think about selling beer in London, finding their way into top flight restaurants and trendy bars as well as more established beer outlets.

The compact 6.5hl (4 barrel) PBC plant, until recently the smallest freestanding brewery in London, first began producing beer late in 2009 in the railway arch which it shares with an artisanal cheesemaker and a cheese and charcuterie importer. Demand is now outstripping supply, particularly given that all the beer is currently hand bottled, and plans for relocation and expansion are being actively pursued.

From Waterford in Ireland, Evin studied English Literature as a postgraduate, but ended up working with cheese at Neal’s Yard Dairy, a leading distributor and retailer of fine British cheese based in Borough Market. It was on an extended trip to New York City to help set up a Neal’s Yard shop that Evin’s interest in brewing was engaged. He returned to London determined to become a craft brewer, and trained himself through home brewing with London Amateur Brewers and the Durden Park Beer Circle.

Inside the Kernel brewery, London SE1

These influences account for the two poles of Kernel’s output. On the one hand there are traditional porters and stouts, often based on historic recipes reaching back to the styles’ London roots (and not forgetting the parallel history these dark beers enjoyed in Evin’s homeland). On the other there are pale ales and IPAs in the contemporary North American hop accented mode. Exact recipes change from batch to batch, particularly in terms of hops, making the Kernel label more like an artist’s signature than a stable and consistent brand.

The Kernel Export Stout London 1890

I visited Kernel early in 2011 as part of the research for my London beer guide, and came away with a handful of tasting samples of what turned out to be outstanding beers. One of the very best was an excellent Export Stout, based on an 1890 Truman recipe, which later won supreme champion at that year’s International Beer Challenge.

The dense mahogany beer had a rich and finely grained deep beige head and a lightly roasted coffee aroma with notes of tar and minerals. A thick and weighty gulp of beer then filled the mouth, with notes of blackcurrants, cindery herbs and liquorice humbug sweets. A milky-textured swallow set up a very long finish with big chocolate and ashy notes emerging with blackcurranty and chaffy retronasals and a definite pursing bitterness. The beer started off stern and challenging but soon became cheerful, warming and full of flavour.

The , also from an historic recipe, is lighter but almost as good. Again this was a very dark mahogany beer with a fine beige head. A very chocolatey, lightly roasty aroma had spicy hops, while there was a touch of burnt rubber along with vanilla, slightly acidic fruit and estery perfume on the smooth chocolate malt palate. A tasty, roasty and slightly astringent finish had a touch of woodsmoke and burnt vine fruits, like the raisins embedded in the crust of a well-baked tea bread, with more coffee, chocolate and rooty hops. An excellent beer.

For reviews of Kernel beers in more modern styles, see the next post.

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