And so to The Gun in Docklands for a ‘meet the brewer’ and talk about beer in cans. Lovely old pub on the river with the O2 Arena directly across the river and Canary Wharf rising behind us. Lovely summer’s evening. Great beer in a great cans. Logan Plant of Beavertown. What was not to like?
Logan has some way to go before he competes on the international stage of brewing coolness with Garrett Oliver but offhand it is hard to think of a more charismatic and humble brewer in the UK. Swooning women announced his entrance and the talk began. Fortunately not many people there, as the terrace area put aside was small, but for those present it was cosy and intimate. He began by talking about growing up in the Black Country (as his accent still testifies), drinking beer, failing as a musician, starting home brewing and then going full time at it.
The core beers of Beavertown are still those that Logan developed as a home brewer. He still refers to himself as a home brewer who has just expanded a bit. Starting in the kitchen of Duke’s Brew & Que (just go, it’s brilliant if you want slow smoked American BBQ food matched with great beer), they have just moved into their third premises in Tottenham Hale. By the time you read this you will have missed the grand opening but it is open every Saturday.
Pride of place in the new brewery is the canning line. We all know cans are better than bottles for storing (and transporting) beer, don’t we? Read about that elsewhere but believe me it does and I have a rather dusty chemistry degree to support me.
Before we talk about the contents, lets talk about the cans. What great artwork! The can does have an image problem and will never be the centrepiece of dinner party but these are cooool.
Beavertown are still tweaking recipes slightly as the adapt to some of the changed parameters that cans bring but here is what I thought.
I had a can of the Neck Oil when I arrived and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Light, refreshing, sessionable but with enough hop character to know that you are drinking something. I really enjoy this (but at £5.50 a can in The Gun I probably wouldn’t buy it).
Gamma Ray is the core American Pale Ale, 45 IBU = hoppy but not face melting as the core range should be. Outstandingly fresh – which makes all the difference, especially with this type of beer – there are examples out there as good but not many better.
Of the beers we tried the Black Betty was the one that didn’t quite work for me. Too much IPA not enough black. However, this could well be the effect of canning, keeping all those lovely iso alpha acids in tip top condition and a small recipe tweak is needed.
I love smoke. Smog Rocket is not the smokiest but in the can I did finally get that elusive ‘bacon’ aroma that others detect in smoked beers regularly. Quite a fruity start then a lovely, long smoky finish. Great balance. Like Neck Oil, one of the original recipes developed as a home brew and the names are a nod to his heritage.
Rye beers are one of my current favourites. So although the can wasn’t available I wanted to tell you how good this is. Really is one of the best rye IPAs around. The rye adds a spiciness backed up by a great hop bitterness. At 6.2% this is a great, gutsy beer for food matching too.
Apart from the beer itself there are a lot of factors which affect my overall enjoyment. The brewery, the brewer, the back story, the marketing, the location all play their part. For me and many others Beavertown has it all.
Beer selection: 7.5/10
Beer quality: 9/10
A good night out: 8/10
Total score: 40/50, 80%