LADY JAY FINDS BEER IN ANOTHER WAREHOUSE

Halfway into my recent trip to London, I was feeling somewhat disconcerted by my failure to ferret out a variety of beer experiences. Sure, I’d wandered down to the pub for a pint and a pie, and althought there was plenty of local color (the man sitting next to me was singing “Got to Pick a Pocket or Two” and no, I am not making that up), the pint in question was a pretty forgettable. I’d also had a plate of fish and chips and a London Pride in a cowboy-themed restaurant. Sure. Why not? Still, I had yet to find a really transformative experience.

I wandered the neighborhood, beer radar pinging away. At last, I saw it–a small chalkboard advertising London-brewed craft beer. I inquired within the establishment, and was rewarded with a porter from The Kernel. And it was probably the best porter I have ever had–rich, smooth, and wonderfully warming against the damp, chilly London spring. After further research, I discovered that The Kernel brewery was open for tastings every Saturday, which happened to be the next day. It was ON.

No diamond smugglers here. Just really good beer.

No diamond smugglers here. Just really good beer. Promise…

In the grand tradition of craft breweries everywhere, The Kernel, while conveniently located five minutes from a tube station, is wedged into two railway arches in an industrial park that looks more like somewhere an illegal bare-knuckle boxing match would take place, or where Bob Hoskins, Jason Statham, and/or Ben Kingsley might hide a body, than where someone might go to try a variety of award-winning beers. But what they lack in amenities, they make up for in seriously delicious beverages.

In addition to offering a variety of solid stouts, porters, and IPAs, both on tap and in bottles, they also brew a series of generously-hopped pale ales (I tried the Mosaic Simcoe, and it was lovely), and had a refreshing London sour on tap (a first of the style for me). They seem to be very committed not just to producing solid examples of traditional English styles, and but branching out to incorporate the lessons of other brewing traditions (without going all Dogfish Head, of course). The staff were very personable and knowledgeable, and the prices were really reasonable as well. There aren’t many places where a woman can feel comfortable going alone to drink under a railroad bridge (even if she is a felon), but this is definitely one I’d recommend to anyone.

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6 comments

  1. Great to hear that you finally got some decent beer in London, Lady Jay – the Kernel have been at the forefront of the new ‘craft’ beer movement in the city for the past three years. Testament to this is the fact that at no time in their history have they been able to keep up with demand – not when they started on a tiny kit, and not now they’ve moved to much larger premises.

    I don’t know how long you have left in London – but follow the @CraftBeerLondon account for ideas of where to go and what’s on, they have an app you can download. If you’re in town tomorrow, there’s another archway brewery in Hackey called Redchurch who are well-worth visiting, their tap room only opens on Thursdays, from 6:30.

    Also, the Camden Town brewery tap is well worth a visit, the beers are fantastic, it’s literally next to a station, and there are street food carts there if you get hungry. Very friendly location, particularly if you’re travelling on your own. Beavertown is another great brewery, they are based inside Dukes Brew & Cue, if, for some reason, you like BBQ with your beer…?

    As for pubs, blimey there are hundreds. Craft bars like the Rake, Craft Beer Co, Holborn Whippet and traditional pubs like the Harp in Covent Garden, the Lamb on Conduit Street, the Gunmakers or the Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell, or one of the simplest and best – the Royal Oak on Tabard Street, Borough.

    Anyway, I sense I might be rambling. The best part about drinking in London is simply exploring. Oh, and that it’s only a five hour train ride to Edinburgh ;-)

  2. BeerCast Rich · ·

    That Kernel London Sour is stunning – they have also aged a batch in white wine casks, if you can track it down…

  3. BeerCast Rich · ·

    Great to hear that you finally got some decent beer in London, Lady Jay – the Kernel have been at the forefront of the new ‘craft’ beer movement in the city for the past three years. Testament to this is the fact that at no time in their history have they been able to keep up with demand – not when they started on a tiny kit, and not now they’ve moved to much larger premises.

    I don’t know how long you have left in London – but follow the @CraftBeerLondon account for ideas of where to go and what’s on, they have an app you can download. If you’re in town tomorrow, there’s another archway brewery in Hackey called Redchurch who are well-worth visiting, their tap room only opens on Thursdays, from 6:30.

    Also, the Camden Town brewery tap is well worth a visit, the beers are fantastic, it’s literally next to a station, and there are street food carts there if you get hungry. Very friendly location, particularly if you’re travelling on your own. Beavertown is another great brewery, they are based inside Dukes Brew & Cue, if, for some reason, you like BBQ with your beer…?

    As for pubs, blimey there are hundreds. Craft bars like the Rake, Craft Beer Co, Holborn Whippet and traditional pubs like the Harp in Covent Garden, the Lamb on Conduit Street, the Gunmakers or the Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell, or one of the simplest and best – the Royal Oak on Tabard Street, Borough.

    Anyway, I sense I might be rambling. The best part about drinking in London is simply exploring. Oh, and that it’s only a five hour train ride to Edinburgh ;-)

    1. Thanks for the great information! Sadly, I am once again west of the Atlantic, and lamely I was working most of the time I was there. Guess I’ll just have to go back sometime…

  4. Now i know where I’m going when I finally get my IPAss out to London. Sounds like a great craft beer experience. That said, I’ll still beware of random Jason Straithairn sightings in the rear view as I approach (even if I’m not a lady felon – well, not usually).

    Cheers!

  5. So pleased you found the Kernel. I tried my first bottle of Centennial this week, probably the best IPA I’ve ever had. Your beer radar served you well.

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