It’s a damn lucky thing to be in London in the midst of the mushroom of breweries going on in the city. Well, lucky for those of us who like beer. I happen to like beer, so I’m quite jolly about all this.
What’s more, Hackney seems to be getting a large amount of these new brews, which is again, great for me because I live in Hackney–although if I spit across the road, my germs will wind up in Islington. Anyway, with several Hackney breweries getting a bit of noise, it seemed good to drop by Pressure Drop to get an idea of the (micro)local beer scene from a (micro)brewery.
When I was first making arrangements to meet with Sam and Graham, I had no idea the scale of their brews, nor had I partaken in any of their beers. Upon asking Johann, the man behind microimporter of French craft beer Flying Booze, to come along, he told me of his experience with one of their beers, the Hop X, was, to quote, “My god!” Surely a good sign from such a fine connoisseur of beer.
On a January afternoon, Johann and I were walking around a Stoke Newington parking lot, tweeting to the brewery our inability to locate them until Graham came out of a large building that passes for the microindustrial estate they are on (Edit: *were* on–see note below), and rescued us from bumbling around cars parked for the nearby Whole Foods. Ben was in as well, brewing away, but the third member of the Pressure Drop Brew crew, Sam, wasn’t in, so we didn’t get a chance to meet him.
Graham was previously the cellarman at popular London (micro)pub Euston Tap, and Ben previously worked at London Fields Brewery, according to Des De Moor’s list of Brewers and Beers in London. And Sam has a brilliantly beery name (his surname is Smith). Graham and Ben were both gracious hosts, showing us their majorly micro kit that was brewing a small test batch.
Seriously, I’ve seen more liquid slosh around my washing machine than what was being brewed at that time. But as the saying goes, size isn’t everything. Graham remarked how having a small kit has allowed them to experiment a lot more than other breweries, even the sort of local breweries many of us reckon to be ‘small’ already. For instance, Kent Brewery has had an odd bit of Wye hops grow from their fields that has different characteristics than the norm, but the amount wasn’t enough that they could brew with it in their set of kit. However, Pressure Drop have been able to toy around with this newish hops, resulting in a sparking brew of rather American characteristics–yet lighter, much like white wine, as Johann was saying when we were tasting some of the lovely concoction, the aforementioned Hop X.
And it was well lovely! I’ve never had such an effervescent beer that still had a great balance of flavour and bitterness. If you happen upon any of the Hop X in small shops or online, pounce on it! Particularly if you enjoy an intriguing sort of pale ale with a freak British hop with an American accent.
There was also the magnificent Stokey Brown on hand to try, which I completely enjoyed. It’s a rich brown ale that has an interesting bite of hop bitterness towards the end of a grateful gulp. We also enjoyed a sample of their Freimann’s Dunkelweiss, which apparently has been well-enjoyed by Will Hawkes, the craft beer blogger and wordsmith of the excellent Craft Beer London app. Allow me to quote: “The first batch of beers have included a smoky, insanely more-ish wheat beer….”
There was also their oyster stout, which I couldn’t try, being a strict-ish vegetarian, but Johann was able to score a bottle for later. I was able to have a couple bottles of Stokey Brown, one for myself and one for my fella (who Graham insisted had to be local, and he is!), and I’m having my bottle now as I write this up to refresh my memory and my tastebuds.
For more info on Pressure Drop’s beer, follow them on Twitter, because as of the moment, they haven’t got a website (whatever that link is on the London Brewers Alliance is *not* the brewery). Not only has their beer started appearing in places such as The Dean Swift and Noble Fine Liquor, but they’ve also brewed beer for Chef Tim Anderson’s latest project, Nanban, using ube–the Japanese sweet potato. This revelation caused me to reflect upon my childhood in Japan and enthuse about the deliciousness of ube ice cream… which none of the fellas seemed to really get. Ah well, UBE IS AWESOME, and the sample I had of their Nanban beer was really intriguing. Anyone going to Nanban’s Valentine’s Day event will have quite an interesting treat–something wonderfully brewed by the fine fellas at Pressure Drop.
P.S. I wrote this whole post while listening to Toots & The Maytalls… for obvious reasons.
Edited for 13 May 2013: Pressure Drop have moved out of Widmer Place for more space under the railway arches in Hackney Central. You can now find them on Bohemia Place, within striking distance of Howling Hops Brewery in The Cock Tavern, as well as within a short walk of The Five Points Brewing Company underneath Hackney Downs Station.