Tuesday 5 November 2013

Beer Tasting: Brixton Brewery

Brixton Brewery's core lineup.

London welcomed a new brewery into the fold a few weeks back: Brixton Brewery. They launched at Craft Beer Co. Brixton on 16 October with three beers: Reliance Pale ale (a golden ale), Effra Ale (an amber) and Electric IPA (yep, an IPA). Craft was fairly rammed that evening so I bought the three beers in bottle (only one was on tap when I stopped in anyway) and took them home. And the next day, I drank them. Here's what I thought.

First off, I'd say it's worth noting that these are some sexy labels. Just look at 'em. They bring to mind the work of Peter Max and, for me, that's just great. But of course it's the liquid inside that counts, so along we move.

Brixton Reliance Pale Ale
I started with the lightest beer, the Reliance Pale Ale. At 4.2% it's right in the session beer wheelhouse. It pours lightly hazy gold with a moderate, frothy white head that settles into a cream. It has a pretty classic aroma of pale, lightly doughy malts with touches of hay and lemon. The flavor is lightly sweet with a character that follows as expected based on the nose: some lightly dried pale malts, a bit of white bread, dirty hay, lemon rind, background citric tang. It's light bodied with fine carbonation. Lightly drying on the finish with bitter hay and rindy citrus, it's balanced by a very simple pale malt base. It's highly drinkable golden ale. (Score: 3.7/5)

Brixton Effra Ale
Next up I went for the Effra Ale, a 4.5% amber ale.  The beer pours cloudy amber with a bubbly, white head. The aroma has notes of pine, dried orange and grainy bread. It's light to medium sweet with lots of dry and lightly yeasty brown bread, further pine, earth, some leaves and a bit more dried citrus. Light to medium bodied with soft carbonation - the condition seems slightly lacking. Mildly resinous on the finish with lightly toasted, dried bread, pine, hints of pineapple, orange and apple. It's a fairly tasty beer overall but it’s rather simplistic and a bit rough around the edges. (Score: 3.4/5)

Brixton Electric IPA
I finished off with the Electric IPA. At 6.5% it's far and away the strongest of the Brixton trio.  It pours lightly hazy, rich gold with a large, frothy white cap. The aroma has pine needles, grapefruit and perhaps some tangerine. The flavor is light to medium sweet with further citrusy hops, some alcohol, and mild notes of plastic and somewhat abrasive grass. It's medium bodied with fine, creamy carbonation. Subtly resinous on the finish with harsh grassy bitterness, subtle toasted plastic, pine and semi-ripe grapefruit. There are some nice citrus notes at times but overall the beer could be improved; I just didn't find it that drinkable. Given the quality level of IPAs in London at this point in time a beer like will struggle to stand out. (Score: 2.9/5)

It's great to see a new London brewery kicking off with a session beer like the Reliance - and doing it well. But with the Electric IPA and, to a lesser extent, the Effra Ale, it's apparent that this young brewery still has room to improve. I will look forward to trying more Brixton beers in the future to see how the brewery progresses.

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