Eight months into commercial brewing Hop Stuff is by no means the newest brewer in London but it is still the only crowdfunded one. The brewery is on the historic Woolwich arsenal site now a trendy redevelopment. The enterprise is almost literally one man and his dog (or puppy actually), the man in question being James Yeomans. But behind every man…and in this case it is Emma, shrewd judges think that she is the brains, he’s just the brewer.
Having converted the mezzanine into a bar area, the brewery is open about once a month on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Primarily it is good beer for local people with a nice vibe. Table football, leather sofas, industrial chic, beer straight from the cooled casks. As with everything Hop Stuff, there is no distinction between ‘real ale’ or ‘craft beer’, it’s happily classified as both if you care about such things. All the beer is available on cask and in 330ml bottles. Apart from the beer, there are some definitely craft sausage rolls and other beer snacks.
Prime reason for going this night was the first taste of the new APA. An ale with no name, though you can guess what the first A might stand for if the Hop Stuff legal team are sure of their position. Impatience got the better of me and while the first cask was waiting to be tapped James dashed off and got me a sample straight from the fermenter vessel. That’s why I like going to ‘brewery taps’ (as well as getting my ‘Finding the Source’ badge on Untappd!). Although it has a lower ABV, the APA ‘outhops’ their flagship Renegade IPA in a crisp, clean, dry American way. Look out for it in a pub near you soon.
Star of the current Hop Stuff range of beers is their Saisonniers, a dry, herbal saison with lemon thyme, rosemary and sage. This is not a session beer in my opinion, but it would make the most marvellous aperitif for someone looking for a slightly longer drink than the standard options. Really innovative stuff.
Renegade is the flagship IPA, 5.6% full bodied modern IPA. Cool and fresh at the brewery it is particularly wonderful.
The good denizens of Woolwich and environs have been lapping up the two session beers, Pale and Fusilier, an English bitter. The local Dial Arch pub always has at least one Hop Stuff beer on cask.
I’m a strong believer in local beer. Everyone loves an American IPA nowadays but if you can get something as good that’s brewed just down the road it gets my vote every time. James clearly plans to conquer Woolwich, then SE London and then the world – I hope he succeeds in the first two at least.
Date: Friday, 9 May 2014
Beer selection: 7/10
Beer quality: 7/10
A good night out: 9/10
Total score: 38/50, 76%