Finally I’ve popped my brewery tour cherry as a special Christmas treat (yes. I know it’s July, long story…) for The Perseverance staff. And where better place to start than the legendary…
Camden Town Brewery!
Founded in 2010, this once micro-brewery quickly became a London favourite. Our Tour Guide (Cheers Jamie!) gave us a little history lesson on the place, telling us how the founder, aussie-born Jasper Cuppaidge, was in London visiting friends when he missed his flight back to Oz in the mid 90s. Stranded and penniless, he took a job collecting glasses in a London boozer and worked his way up the business. In the mid 2000’s he took a gamble and bought a run-down, derelict pub in Hampstead, worked his magic and reopened it as his own.
It was in that cellar where Cuppaidge brew his first batch of beer, in honour of his Grandfather, trying to replicate one of his beers from Australia. (oh yeah, did I mention his pops ran an Aussie brewery from 1910 – 1960? Must run in the family) It was a hit with the customers and he soon began selling it to other pubs. He must’ve realised he’s pretty good at it, as he decided to pack in the pub management and take up full time brewing.
That’s when he rented the brewery’s current location; the railway arches under Kentish Town West station, where the first official Brew, Camden Hells Lager, was born.
7 years on it’s bigger than ever, having sold out for a wopping 85million to the biggest brewing dogs out there, Anheuser-Busch InBev. (In case you were wondering, they own Budweiser, Corona, Stella, Hoegaarden, Beck’s..to name a few.)
But they certainly haven’t forgotten where they came from..
The place is quaint, cool and friendly with relaxed vibes. We felt welcome instantly and were allowed a moment to dote over their nicely decorated bar area – complete with classic Donkey Kong arcade rig, and then we let the tour commence. I won’t bore you with the technicalities of the brewing process because A) I’ll probably get it wrong, and B) you can just google that yourself. Instead I’ll just share with you some snaps and tid bits from our tour.
Just to give us an idea of the sheer scale of the amount of beer that’s brewed here, our tour guide, Jaime, started us off with a little bit of maths. Pointing to the enormous silver barrels that towered over us he asked us, ‘if you were to drink 4 pints a day, how long would it take to get through one of these monsters?’
After umm-ing and Aaah-ing and pretending we had some sort of logical format for working this out we hazarded a few guesses. “4 years?,” “7 years?” “5?” “6?”
After sniggering at the answers we’d just pulled directly from our behinds he gave us their answer. 17 YEARS. 17 years, at 4 pints a day, to drink through one of these barrels. Now let’s do some actual maths. 4 pints a day for 17 years equals around 24820 pints. Now times that by the 7 barrels in the photo equals 172740 pints.
After that we were walked around to the room I call the Hop-House, (not it’s technical name) where the magic begins. We got a try a little taste of the hops (not so nice pre-beer form) and get a good oogle around at the machinery. At this point I was pretty much just a kid in a candy shop, running around snapping pics and inhaling the sweet smell of fresh booze, so no, I don’t remember what these giant silver tanky things did…. But it was probably important. I’ll just leave you with this.
After that we got to return to the bar for some tasting. Admittedly I’d already tasted most of their permanent range, so most of this part was really just a recap for me. But certainly needed. It’d been a while since I’d had a sweet zesty glass of Camden Wit and on a beautiful summers day such as today it really hit the spot. Seriously, I’d forgotten how much I love this beer, if you’ve never tried it go out and get some, a wheat beer with a twist.
We also got to try the Unfiltered Camden Hells, which I didn’t know existed until this day. Coupled with a glass of regular Hells for direct comparison, the Unfiltered was only subtly different, but definitely a welcome larger to an ale advocate like me. It was a little dryer, a littler cloudier to look at and a more full bodied flavour over all. I certainly preferred it over the Hells, however like I said, the differences were subtle. It’s very much like having a pint of Hells.
And Finally, we got a taste of Inner City Green, a seasonal Summer larger. Now this was my kind of beer. It’s a safe session option at 3.9%, which I haven’t often seen in lagers, and the flavour was right up my street. Slightly hoppier than you’re usual lager, with elements of zesty fruit and herbal aromas. I really enjoyed it and will be keeping an eye out for it in my future pub endeavors. Seeing as it’s Summer and Summer means lager season for me, I’ll be looking out for the best craft lager, and this is certainly the first contender.
So we enjoyed our free pitchers of beer in the sun and the lovely people at Camden Brewery were even kind enough to share some of their staff meals with us. Can’t thank them enough, we had an amazing time and will definitely be returning to the bar for some casual drinks.
Bottom line: Camden Town Brewery is awesome. Get yourselves down there for a tour or just to enjoy a few drinks at the bar. Prices are reasonable, staff are friendly and the venue is beautiful.