The night before the Great British Beer Festival, The Hope in Carshalton held their London Showcase, as part of the London Beer City celebrations. Featuring a wide range of breweries from the London Brewers’ Alliance, the idea was to throw the spotlight on some of the excellent beers that one wouldn’t be able to find at GBBF; beers such as Clarence and Fredericks Cascadian Blackberry, Redemption Little Chief, London Fields Grapefruit Dead, Kernel Simcoe Citra 366, Beavertown Gamma Ray, and Five Points IPA.
Having spent five hours that day travelling on the coach down to London from Manchester, I was desperate for something pale, citrussy, and refreshing, so plumped for Redemption Tropical Trinity: a fruity version of their 3% pale, dry hopped and brewed with mango and pineapple especially for the festival, followed by Brodie’s Kiwi, full of NZ hops. Moving on to something slightly stronger, I decided to give Pressure Drop’s Pale Fire another go. Between six months and a year ago (I believe), I tried a bottle of it in The Font, Fallowfield, and to be honest it tasted like not-terribly-accomplished homebrew. However, Pressure Drop have developed marvellously, and now make some rather good beer. Pale Fire is a full bodied, well balanced, and eminently quaffable pale ale, which I’ll be looking forward to drinking more of in future. My beer of the showcase, however, has to go to Brodie’s London Sour (Redcurrant). Mouthpuckeringly sour, clean, refreshing, and full of tart fruit flavour, I couldn’t get enough of it, and would have happily sipped my way through pints and pints of it over the evening if I hadn’t had a huge list of other beers to explore. I certainly came back to it when I returned to The Hope a couple of days later. Sitting in a suburban pub conservatory, sipping London Sour, watching the weather change and catching my breath in amongst the hustle and bustle of London Beer City; the perfect accompaniment to the eye of the storm.