They say…

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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Moncada Notting Hill Amber

ABV: 4.9%
Origin: London W10, England
Website: moncadabrewery.co.uk

Julio at the London Brewers Showcase, October 2011

2011 was an extraordinary year for brewing in London. When I sent the final text of London’s Best Beer, Bars and Pubs off to CAMRA Books in early March, I felt the capital had done well to nurture six new brewers over a matter of years, particularly when they included Brodie’s, Camden Town, Kernel, Redemption and Sambrook’s. Then at the end of March I heard another new brewery, Moncada, was under development in west London.

I phoned up a rather surprised Julio Moncada, and discovered he was a former caterer from Argentina, who had originally planned to open a delicatessen business but then opted for brewing instead, partly as the ingredients were nearer to hand. I then wrote a last minute couple of paragraphs on the basis that Moncada beers would be on sale by publication date, feeling rather pleased with myself for producing something with its finger so firmly on the pulse.

As it happens, things turned out rather differently. In the succeeding months, it sometimes seemed I was hearing about yet another planned new London brewery on a weekly basis. Meanwhile Julio’s plans were delayed by trade mark and electricity supply problems, and several other newcomers such as Botanist, By the Horns, East London, London Brewing, London Fields and Redchurch beat him to it, with a rush of new openings in late summer and early autumn.

Moncada beers made their public debut on 22 October at the London Brewers Showcase organised by the London Brewers Alliance at Brew Wharf, Borough Market. This remarkable event included nearly all the new brewers alongside more established names including London’s remaining old established independent, Fuller’s. When I say that Sambrook’s, who couldn’t make it, were barely missed, it’s not at all a reflection on the quality of their beer but on the huge growth of the capital’s brewing industry.

I was glad to meet Julio face to face at the event and gladder still to taste his excellent beers, which really were worth waiting for. Notting Hill Amber was his first brew, served on cask but also available in the bottle, and a very promising start. It’s in this list of Top Tastings partly on its own merits, but also as a representative of all the new brewers that emerged in perhaps the most exhilirating year in living memory for the London’s beer scene.

My sample was a soft hazy amber with a fine white head and a very finely pointed hoppy aroma of grapefruit and exotic spice. A smooth, full and tasty palate turned rapidly with grapefruit over underlying malt and a slightly petrolly note, first cakey and then slightly raspy on the tongue. The finish was bitterish and chewy but nicey rounded with a tasty smack of fruit and a little astringency. Long may the brewers of my home city keep producing such great beers.

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