We had friends over yesterday and as I went through the futile, masochistic, self flagellatory act of cleaning the house before they arrived, I contemplated what beers to get in. I also had to decide where to go to get said beers, but luckily we are blessed in Crouch End with three quality beer shops, four if you count the new Oddbins. Even as I left the house I wasn’t sure where I was headed till I found myself taking a right at the clock tower, meaning I was making for Bottle Apostle’s in-house beer shop The Brew Testament.
And I’m glad I did. As I cast my eyes over the shelves they fell upon Pressure Drop Brewing’s Syd Strong’s, a Black Rye IPA (7.1%) brewed as part of Brewdog’s CollabFest2014. As I patted myself on the back for a choice well made I grabbed a bottle, as well as some other rye beers – it felt like that type of evening. Owing to much merry-making including a game of Trivial Pursuit (which I won) and Pictionary (which I lost) I didn’t get the opportunity to take a picture, but it looked glorious in the glass. It pours a deep, deep brown (sorry for the earworm) with a cream head and has an aroma of roasted malts, coffee and rye spice. The rye isn’t overwhelming on tasting (which would actually be fine by me), but you know it’s there, and with floral hops and a bitter finish it’s a damn good beer.
As for today, I was headed to Essex again for more festive shenanigans, but before leaving I took the opportunity to open a bottle of Five Points Brewing Co.’s Hook Island Red (6%), which I also picked up from Bottle Apostle. I’ve previously given my thoughts on the brewery’s core range here and am happy to say, along with Pressure Drop, it’s one of my favourite London breweries. I’d been struggling to find a fresh bottle of late so when I saw the bottled-on date was 4th December I was chuffed. Fresh and effervescent on pouring, it’s juicy, fruity, bitter and dry, and a very well-balanced beer. It got Sunday off to a great start and as Depeche Mode, and latterly Celtic fans, sing: I just can’t get enough. There’s a better earworm for you.