BushCraftBeer Podcast Episode 1 – Mark Dredge

Welcome to the BushCraftBeer podcast.

This is episode 1, where I sit down and chat with one of the hottest young beer writers in the country, Mark Dredge.

Before that I wanted to tell you a little more about me and what to expect from this podcast.

My name is Michael Lally, I’m 35 and I’m an Australian who has lived in London for the past 10 years. I’m also a craft beer enthusiast who has been following the scene for a while now and after much procrastination finally started blogging about beer in December 2015.

I’m also a podcast addict. The podcasts I enjoy the most are long form conversation. I find they give you a more intimate insight into the person and their story. Which in our soundbite, click-bait culture is something I find refreshingly different.

So why the name BushCraft?

BushCraft is about thriving in the natural environment, and the acquisition of the skills and knowledge to do so. It was a term popularised by the Bush Tucker Man himself, Les Hiddins who was a big deal when I was a kid growing up in Australia.

My blog, and this podcast is really about that, but with a beery twist. I am interested discovering the people behind the craft beer industry, one of the fastest growing and most exciting in the country, to sit down with them and understand their story, their perspective and what it is about their skills and experience that sees them survive and thrive in the craft beer world.

Enough about me.

Lets talk about my first conversation. Mark was very articulate – much more than me – and with good reason. As a writer, he’s classically trained. His undergrad was in media arts with a focus on screenwriting which he followed up with a masters in creative writing.

He started blogging way back in 2008 and fully committed to it. And since then he’s never looked back. He’s won awards from the British Guild of Beer Writers and written 4 books, including one set to launch in April of this year. And he’s also in training for upcoming the London Marathon. A man of many talents.

If you’re an aspiring beer blogger, like myself, or an aspiring writer this is a fascinating insight.

Hope you enjoy my chat with Mark Dredge.

Beer and the Dunning-Kruger effect

This post is a response to fellow beer blogger Mark Johnson’s post ‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?‘ from February 23rd. In summary his message was ‘with beer becoming more popular, you become more accepting and guiding to those discovering good beer for the first time’.

I read the post and responded on Twitter as follows: ‘@MarkNJohnson I guess would be classified as a Kid. Found this a fascinating perspective. Haven’t really done beer chat on Facebook though’

Mark replied with a kind comment, which I appreciated – he basically said I wasn’t a tw*t – (maybe he’ll change his mind after this post) but there was something about this post that has stuck with me and left me pondering ever since. Perhaps it was because I would be considered a ‘kid’ but my journey felt different to the ‘kids’ he’d described in his post. As a result I thought I would write a post in response. Mark gets really personal in his posts which inspired me to be a bit braver in my subject matter as a blogger.

As outlined in the title, allow me introduce the Dunning-Kruger effect. As described in Wikipedia:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which relatively unskilled persons suffer illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than it really is. Dunning and Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their own ineptitude and evaluate their own ability accurately. Their research also suggests corollaries: highly skilled individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others.[1]

I think this is a fascinating study and outcome. It basically says that there is a spectrum of skilled to unskilled which has an inverse relation to that person’s recognition of their own aptitude.

For me this binary approach appears too basic given there is a huge array of factors that determine a person’s behaviour; personality (itself a huge three dimensional spectrum), intelligence, introversion / extraversion, parenting, education etc. However I think there is some application for the Dunning-Kruger effect in the beer debate at the moment.

For example, is the fact beers that are the strongest and most expensive rated the best on beer review sites because of Dunning-Kruger? That is people are rating this based on strength + cost = good, rather than appreciating the nuances of brewing all manner of beer styles and going it well?

(See @tabamatu blog www.graphedbeer.com for an interesting post on this – http://www.graphedbeer.com/2015/12/using-beer-ratings-as-market-research.html)

I can definitely say the Dunning-Kruger effect holds true for me in my beer journey. I felt I knew the basics to begin with; what the brewing process is, be able to name different styles and recognise different breweries. And based on this you think you understand it all.

But as I’ve become more interested I’ve wanted to know more. I’ve done this in a few ways; trying different styles of beers I’ve never heard of, reading beer books, attending beer festivals, visiting breweries and talking to the brewers, conversing on social media, listening to beer podcasts. This can be a humbling experience for there is an overwhelming amount to learn and understand.

But my view and reflection on Dunning-Kruger is slightly different to how’s it’s formally articulated above – the more I learn and discover the more I realised there is so much more to learn and discover. I’ve always been curious and a bit of a nerd when it comes to things I enjoy.

Some of the things Mark called out in his blog – everyday sexism in beer, rating beer and giving feedback, engaging in debate on Facebook about beer – are all part of understanding parts of the beer scene and debate in this country – one that I’m enjoying finding out more about.

Let me share a quick story. I was at a fascinating panel discussion last Wednesday night at the Bottle Shop in Bermondsey which followed a screening of Original Gravity – a 30 minute film about the London craft beer scene. Following the screening the panel assembled to discuss the future of brewing in London. The strength of views and emotion around the topic was insightful, especially around the question of money. Breweries will need money to fund the expansion required to meet demand for their beers. How important is the view of the drinkers in terms of where that money comes from? This is just one example of a question I don’t have the answer too, but I’m keen to explore.

This is a journey that is just commencing and I look forward to sharing more of it with you. I’ve started blogging and will soon be launching a podcast. And from there, who knows but more on that in future posts.

What makes a successful craft brewery?

This is a question I have been pondering for the last few years as I observed the rise and rise of craft beer in this country. Some breweries seem to have stepped forward and above others where as for some breweries, the fact they are making good beer doesn’t appear to be enough.

For the sake of argument, let’s draw a line in the sand and say the craft beer movement in the UK is ten years old. What’s not in question is that within that ten years there has been a huge increase in the number of breweries.

But why do some appear to flourish and others appear to flounder?

There is a thousand potential reasons but I have tried to summarise it into five key things. They aren’t all equal but those that are doing well appear to do all five of these things well.

Make Good Beer 

First and foremost you need to make good beer. Whether it’s a core range, a mix of seasonals, or collaborations – it needs to be good beer that engages people.  Doing this takes skill, attention to detail and commitment to quality.  Take Thornbridge: they have a lab on sight and deliver beer of very good and very consistent quality. Weird Beard run a regular Friday quality control process. Magic Rock, in their Tap Room are ensuring quality in how their product is dispensed as is the Urban Tap House in Cardiff, the bar of the Tiny Rebel Brew Company.

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The quality of the beer being made here is increasingly recognised with breweries in the UK winning awards regularly, both here and abroad. Oakham Ales won the Champion Cask Conditioned Ale for their Green Devil IPA at the International Brewing Awards. Beavertown Brewery were named the been named brewer of the year and Supreme Champion Brewer by the International Beer Challenge.

However some breweries appear happy to put out beer they are not 100% happy with and while there is a culture of discretion on providing feedback in these instances, the people that understand the industry and more pertinently have to try and sell this beer to the public know these breweries are.

Have a Good Spokesperson 

Every band has a lead singer, every movie a leading actor or actress, every sporting team has a captain.  For me, a craft brewery is kind of the same. You need someone at the front that embodies what the brewery is about and can clearly articulate that in an engaging way.

This is critical as when it comes to events such as meet the brewers, tap takeovers or craft beer festivals. These events give breweries the best possible opportunity to engage personally and intimately with their drinkers.

The spokesperson may be the founder or co-founder, or head Brewer or a combination of the two. In the USA, this is pretty commonplace. I’m sure most craft beer enthusiasts know of Steve Hindy and Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery, or Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head or Eric Salazar from New Belgium (who runs their sour beer program) or Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from Eviltwin Brewing. While culturally the ‘rock star’ front man may be less relevant in the UK it’s still important.

There are a number of craft brewers that have a strong spokesperson: Logan Plant at Beavertown, James Watt from BrewDog, Justin Hawke from Moor Beer, Colin Stronge from Buxton. Others a little quieter.

Clear Mission and Values

You need to understand who you are and what you stand for, and what type of company you want to be. This is critical to attract customers (and also staff and potentially investors) and to keep them coming back time after time. Most beer drinkers are happy to try a new beer, but what keeps them coming back? Price? Product? Or a deeper connection to the brewery?

Lost and Grounded are a new brewery that is planning to open in Bristol in mid-2016. Run by former Little Creatures and Camden Town Brewer Alex Troncoso and his partner Annie they have been blogging about the process of starting up their brewery. One of their posts talks, in very articulate and sincere terms, about their values and purpose, which they summarise in four words; humble, inclusive, clever, raw.

Somerset’s Wild Beer Co are another brewery that is very clear on what they want to be as summarised here:

At The Wild Beer Co we want to produce Wild Beers that are different! We must re-write the rules, excite your taste buds and wildly challenge your perceptions of beer. We believe beer can be better and want to inspire people to drink beer differently.

Another that is crystal clear in this area is Cloudwater from Manchester. If you haven’t already read it, this great story about Cloudwater, written by London beer writer Matt Curtis for the Good Beer Hunting website is a fascinating insight into all things Cloudwater.

Others lack clarity on this. They are unsure of themselves, who they are and what they want to be. Might be worthwhile taking some time out of the brewhouse, talk to your drinkers about what they think of you, talk to your staff, and look deep within before writing this down.

Branding 

Once you know who are and what you stand for you need to project that in how you present your products. That’s is where branding comes into it. Business dictionary.com defines branding as:

The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

In an increasingly crowded market, having a product that stands out is essential whether its bottles, cans, pump climps, packaging, merchandising, website – all a branding opportunity.

There are a few that really stand out for me. The cans from Beavertown, Moor and Vocation are incredible. For me a real standout is Cloudwater. They have a great logo, their bottles contain artwork from a specially commissioned artist for each season and contain lots of information about the beer and its ingredients.

I’m sure you agree there are a handful of breweries out there that are doing the first one well, but fall down here.

Social Media

Craft brewers don’t have huge marketing budgets. But they invest in the time to leverage social media. In the digital age more and more people are interacting online with each other and with businesses. The short form, instant and transparent channel that is social media is a very powerful tool to promote and converse with potential customers. It also gives you a platform to add a voice to some of the things we’ve covered above: what you stand for and your branding.

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For me personally there are a few things I don’t like to see; mixing beer and politics, slagging off suppliers or worse, other breweries, being flippant in responding to feedback.

 

Not all of these are equal – if you don’t make good beer you’ll probably struggle. For me the breweries who are doing well, appear to be doing well across these five things.

What do you think makes a successful craft brewery?

Notes: Quality approach to coffee and beer

September 2006 was the bookend to one of the best summers in England many can remember. The good weather was noted, the World Cup in Germany another reason. The world was a different place anyway – pre Financial crisis, pre-Isis, Tony Blair was still Prime Minister. I was settling into a new life and the first impressions were good.

But not all was well. Every morning, before work I had a handful of places to chose from that I could order a flat white from and in return, receive just that, a flat white. Made with love and care, as it should be. That was Sydney. In London, the flat white was a myth – did it even exist?

I underestimated the cultural difference between Australia and England, especially when it came to coffee and beer. The best coffee in those early days was Monmouth Coffee at Borough Markets. A trip there became a very regular thing indeed. But slowly and surely the tide turned – thanks in many ways to my fellow antipodeans who brought the coffee culture. But there were others too.

Around this same time, a young Brazilian couple arrived in London. Having spent time travelling here in 2004, they decided they would pack up their life in Brazil and move to London, primarily to learn English; but perhaps the draw of the international city and the opportunity that comes with it excited them.

Fabio Ferriera worked in pharmaceuticals in Brazil, but he knew that without speaking the language it would be difficult to find a job in the same industry. So he turned to his other skill. Coffee.

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Since Notes first opened in Canary Wharf toward the beginning of last year, I’ve become a regular; first at their hole in the wall in the Canary Wharf underground station, then at the state of the art site at Crossrail. Sometimes I visit twice a day. In doing the calculation I have probably had over 200 coffees from Notes and never had a bad one.

I was curious to know why, so I reached out to Notes and they put me in touch with Fabio, the co-founder and Director of Product at Notes. In this role Fabio is responsible ‘for pretty much everything that is for sale in the store’. I wanted to know how they ensure every coffee is so good.

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The answer is both very simple and very detailed. The simple answer is through traceable quality from bean to cup. This is the critical difference between a ‘third wave’ coffee house and a high street café.

When Fabio first started Notes, back in 2010, they would buy beans direct from growers in Brazil. Fabio’s family were farmers and he knew the coffee growers and was certain of the quality. Eventually, as they grew they would source through reputable distributors. The current blend used in store is from Burundi, the Central East African country bordering Rwanda and Tanzania.

After finding the right coffee beans, the next step is the roast. As they grew, Notes began to roast their own beans, which is critical to achieving quality, consistency and uniqueness. Fabio explains that roasting is a very scientific process with many variables, such as temperature and time, that impact the favour. The process begins with a test roast and that can be repeated up to five times. The flavour is then reviewed. When I asked how he describes flavours of coffee his face lights up. Just like beer and wine, there are countless adjectives and dimensions to describe coffee. The sweetness, the aroma, the mouth feel, the aftertaste all have a multitude of ways to be described and defined.

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Once roasted it needs to get to from cup to customer. ‘Coffee is like baking a cake, you have to follow the recipe’, quips Fabio. He writes up coffee recipes for the baristas in store that outline how to brew, to treat the beans as they age (the coffee should be used between 4 and 10 days after roasting); adjusting grind size and amount, how long to brew for and at what temperature all with tasting notes. I asked Dwayne Lloyd-Smith, the assistant manager about this. He shows me the recipe he receives via email. Its very prescriptive, but it ensures quality. You can tell Dwayne absolutely buys into the ethos.

From bean to cup, every step is controlled and traceable and outlined with vivid detail and instruction. Can you imagine this from a high street chain? When I talk ask about competition, Fabio tells me its competitive but there is comraderie between the independent coffee houses. He mentions Taylor Street Baristas, another Canary Wharf resident, who he sees more as friends than competitors. The real competition is the big high street chains; Costa, Nero, Starbucks, he insists.

Dwayne agrees. ‘You almost have to re-educate high street coffee drinkers about what coffee can be. Often people will be surprised that a flat white comes in 6oz cups and there is no large, or a that a latte comes in 8oz, not 16oz’. But it’s working. They have built a steady trade of loyal drinkers who are shunning the nearby Costa, Pret and Starbucks in favour of the quality of Notes.

I can see similarities with craft beer in this sentiment, the camaraderie between the smaller independent producers against the might of the large corporates. Which leads me to ask about their beer offering, which includes some of the best craft beers in the country. ‘I love beer’, Fabio beams. I asked him about the beer and wine list? Why not just be a café? Why were Notes interested in being a bar too? Do people really want to drink at a café?

When they first opened, their lease allowed them to operate to 11pm. With most people not drinking coffee late in evening due to the effects of caffeine they spent, time effort and money building a wine list. The beer was an afterthought. His fellows directors though a few bottles of Peroni would do the trick. Fabio resisted. He wanted to build a beer list with some of the up and coming craft breweries in London.

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They needed a lager and Camden Hells was a perfect place to start. They also built a relationship with The Kernel Brewery, who were among the first beers served at Notes, and retain four beers from their range on the menu. Fabio tells me they still maintain a direct relationship with Kernel today. He’d love to have more. While they change their wine list quarterly the beer list changes less frequently. His favourite is Camden, at its close to where he lives and Beavertown Gamma Ray. And they’ve recently added Cloudwater Motueka Lager.

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Its mainly women who drink at Notes in the evening, quaffing a nice glass of wine in a comfortable, relaxed environment. ‘I think they want somewhere other than the pub’, Fabio tells me. They can get a seat in a relaxed environment. Dwyane tells me they do get men too, many unfamiliar with the beer on offer and ask for recommendations. ‘You can’t go wrong with the Kernel, but I’m a fan of the Gamma Ray’. They are changing their evening menu to include small plates with a view to attracting more evening drinkers. Time will tell if it’s a success.

The quality control that goes into the coffee is so evident in the delivery and taste. Craft brewers and bars can learn from Notes approach to quality. The attention to detail in ensuring the product delivered is to the highest possible standard is aspirational. Knowingly delivering sub-standard product in an increasingly competitive market where others strive for excellence is a dangerous approach.

Invariably there is an overlap between people that enjoy great coffee and great beer. Notes is a great place to enjoy both, in a relaxed friendly setting.

 

Thank you to Fabio and to Dwayne for their time in allowing me to ask them about Notes and for their gracious responses. In addition to sites at Canary Wharf, Notes can be found in Trafalgar Square, Moorgate and Kings Cross.

I was inspired to write this post after listening to the Good Beer Hunting Podcast episode 65 with Stephen Morris

Useful Links

http://notes-uk.co.uk/

http://goodbeerhunting.com/gbh-podcast/2016/1/1/ep-065-stephen-morrissey-of-uppers-downers-part-1

Challlenge Accepted | #12beersofxmas Recap

I started this blog to scratch my itch. I’m doing this more for myself in terms of turning a hobby into something more creative and productive. I had to start somewhere and the Beer O’Clock Show podcast and their annual #12beersofxmas was an obvious choice.

The challenge of a daily post would test my passion, resolve and stamina. Creating a 300-400 words post and a few pictures, preferably before 9pm every night was indeed challenging, but one I strangely enjoyed. Yes there was typos and I am still learning the nuances of wordpress, but I think I produced something I could be proud of.

If you’re interested, here is the list of the beers with links to their posts:

1st Day | Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

2nd Day | Thornbridge Halycon IPA

3rd Day | RedChurch Great Eastern IPA

4th Day | Cloudwater DIPA

5th Day | Magic Rock – Grapefruit High Wire & Salty Kiss

6th Day | Fullers Vintage Ale 2013

7th Day | Stone and Wood Pacific Ale

8th Day | Camden Town Brewery Barrel Aged IHL

9th Day | Beavertown Heavy Water (Sour Cherry and Sea Salt) Imperial Stout

10th Day | Westmalle Dubbel

11th Day | Kriek Boon 

12th Day | Pelican Brewing Bad Santa Cascadian Dark Ale

I also wrote an opinion piece on the Camden Town Brewery AB InBev deal announced on December 21st.

I distributed exclusively via twitter with a few messages to friends and family. I have no doubt piggybacking off the #12beersofxmas helped drive up traffic. I did have a link in my Instagram profile, however I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would. I am still getting to grips with the stats features on wordpress and what the numbers means however I thought I would share a summary of the past few weeks:

My viewer stats for the past two weeks
My viewer stats for the past two weeks

281 views from 198 visitors across 11 countries

My viewes were focused primarily in the UK, with the US and Australia making up for most of the traffic
My views were focused primarily in the UK, the US and Australia

The most views day was December 23, which coincided with when I published my Cloudwater DIPA post and my comment on the Camden Town Brewery sale.

My Cloudwater post was well recieved
My Cloudwater post was well recieved

The least viewed day was New Year’s Day. I didn’t post on the 31st or the 1st so it comes as no surprise that traffic fell away. Plus I am sure there were a few people feeling the #craftermath from New Year’s Eve and the last thing they felt like doing was reading a beer blog!

The response has convinced me to continue. Mainly because it tells me that what I have written doesn’t completely suck and that people are reading it, which is always motivating as a writer. I will be making a few changes to the blog over time and I have also changed my twitter and Instagram account to be consistent to @bushcraftbeer (twitter linkinstagram link)

If you read the blog and are keen to see where it goes, please bookmark this page or follow me on twitter or Instagram. If you have read the posts or are also a blogger and have any feedback, tips or otherwise please get in touch.

I’ve already started working on future posts and look forward to sharing them with you in 2016.

Cheers,

Michael

Getting Festive. 12th Day

Pelican Brewing Co – Bad Santa

Style: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale

ABV: 7.5%

Size: 355ml (Bottle)

Getting Festive.

Sampling 12 beers over Christmas calls for at least one ‘festive beer’ right? At least I thought that was the right ratio. Festive beers are often brewed seasonally, to celebrate major holidays; especially Halloween and Thanksgiving – where pumpkin beers dominate due to their association with each – and Christmas – where often dark or spiced beers dominate for obvious reasons.

I had two of Oregon’s finest to choose from thanks to a shipment from my brother, who resides in the Willamette Valley and was in town for work. In a choice between Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve and this one, I chose Pelican as after doing some research, I discovered that while Rogue is a big brewery making great beers, Pelican pride themselves on small batch, high quality beers with a focus on food and beer matching at their beachside brewery-cum-restaurant in Pacific City, Oregon.

My festive choice, Pelican Brewing's Bad Santa
My festive choice, Pelican Brewing’s Bad Santa

The Oregon Coast is famous for it beaches and most notable is the setting of some of the most memorable movies of my childhood; The Goonies, Short Circuit, and Kindergarten Cop. But Oregon is also famous for its association with craft beer. Four of the top 50 Craft Breweries in the US are from Oregon (which isn’t the biggest; California takes that title with 8) but with its sparse population the key driver is the fact that Oregon and the surrounding Pacific Northwest states are one of the biggest hop producing regions in the world.

While marketed as a Cascadian Dark Ale, the rear label reveals this is a Back IPA
While marketed as a Cascadian Dark Ale, the rear label reveals this is a Black IPA

Back to the beer. This is labeled a Cascadian Dark Ale, however with a quick rotation of the bottle the labeling on the back reveals that it is in fact a Black IPA. And a hell of a smooth one too. So smooth it masks the 7.5% ABV. I was dinking this while prepping New Years Eve dinner for my wife. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the giddiness of being NYE but this beer was gone much quicker than is customary and proved a great way to celebrate my final participation in the Beer O’Clock Show’s #12beersofxmas.

My accompaniment to prepping my New years Eve dinner
My accompaniment to prepping my New Years Eve dinner

Thanks to everyone who read, retweeted and liked my posts and tweets. I’ll be posting a wrap up shortly. However, based on the response, its convinced me to keep going in 2016!

Cheers,

Michael

Sour Power. 11th day

Kriek Boon

Style: Lambic Kriek (cherries)

ABV: 4%

Size: 250ml (bottle)

I booked my tickets well in advance as I was looking for a reason. And it was for a good cause after all. I left work and my colleague and I made our way to Peckham Rye station. From there it was a 10 minute walk through suburban south London.

Hop Burns & Black - one of London's premier bottle shops
Hop Burns & Black – one of London’s premier bottle shops

In its short life, the award winning* Hop Burns & Black has forged a solid reputation in beer circles. Run by passionate Kiwi’s Jen and Glenn it brings together three of their passions; beer (Hop), hot sauce (Burns) and vinyl records (Black). There was a great profile write up in the Evening Standard over summer which is worth a read. The selection of beers was epic and the good part is that you can try what you buy right there in the shop or at the tables out the front – I opted for a can of Moor Beer’s Revival while we waited for the main event to start.

Moor Beers Revival, a 3.8% ABV Transatlantic Pale Ale
Moor Beers Revival, a 3.8% ABV Transatlantic Pale Ale

I was there for No More Heroes – a tutored tasting and music session with beer writer Matthew Curtis raising money for Mind UK. Matt is a great writer – he contributes to and edits his website Total Ales and is the UK storyteller for renowned beer website Good Beer Hunting (which I love) as well as a number of other beery publications- and is increasingly broadening his repertoire to include speaking and events. More importantly, he is a genuine guy that is passionate about his beer. And somehow he does all this in addition to do full time job!

No More Heroes - a tutored
No More Heroes – a tutored beer tasting and music session

He had chosen 6 beers and a song to accompany each. The one beer that stood out for me was a sour beer from Belgium, Boon (pronounced Bow-n) Kriek Mariage Parfait. An 8% ABV heavy lambic style beer – which relies on wild yeasts and bacteria from the Pajottenland region of Belgium to drive the fermentation with the addition of overripe cherries that spurs a secondary fermentation – Matt had unsurprisingly chose ‘Cherry Bomb’ from the Runaways as his music match. This beer was sour, sour, sour and not to my liking.

Kriek Boon - 100% lambic and with cherries
Kriek Boon – 100% lambic and with cherries

Matt spoke with such passion about the beer and the brewery I thought I would give them another go. This time I went for something lighter. At 4% ABV Kriek Boon is a blended lambic with added black cherries. The first thing you notice is the colour: the cherries turning the beer a stunning red – almost like creaming soda I used to have as a kid. The second thing is the smell – it is sour with a strong earthy scent of cherries. And finally, the taste. This one is smooth and crisp, not to arresting in its sourness. As an introduction to sour lambics, this is where I would start. In fact with this bottle only being 250ml, it leaves me wanting more.

As good an introduction to sour lambics as you'll get. The small 250ml bottle left me wanting more
As good an introduction to sour lambics as you’ll get. The small 250ml bottle left me wanting more

*Won the best shop in Peckham in Timeout’s Love London Awards 2015

 Useful Links and Resources

http://www.hopburnsblack.co.uk/

http://www.timeout.com/london/shopping/hop-burns-black

http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/londons-great-shopkeepers-hop-burns-black-in-east-dulwich-10310788.html

http://www.totalales.co.uk/events-main/nomoreheroes

https://www.justgiving.com/nomoreheroes/

http://www.totalales.co.uk/

http://goodbeerhunting.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambic

http://www.boon.be/en/our-beers/kriek-mariage-parfait