Now that Kernel’s new brewery is fully up and running (including a snazzy new bottling plant!), what does that mean for the beers? Well, first of all it means that a wider range of Kernel beers are now available at any given time, which it nice. Second, it seems to mean that some great beers that were only available intermittently are now available more or less all the time – so far I’ve had no trouble scoring Imperial Brown Stout London 1858 and Export Stout London 1890 on every brewery visit, for example. This is also nice. Third, it means that Kernel’s sour beer programme has officially started – though the first sour has yet to be released, and it’s going to be a very small batch, possibly available at the brewery only. Stay tuned for details. Here follows some capsule reviews of recently-sampled Kernel brews, all from the new brewery.
If you don’t know about The Kernel Brewery, well, you should. I don’t mean that in a condescending way, but really, you should, man, what’s wrong with you? The Kernel has been around for two years now and in that short time they have become possibly the most well-regarded of all London microbreweries – they’ve won several awards, and they are the only British brewery to be invited to Mikkeller’s own beer festival, the Copenhagen Beer Celebration (look at the brewery lineup for that festival and you’ll see it’s a select group). Accolades aside, they just brew totally awesome beers. Simple as that.
Kernel specialize in two things: Pale Ales and IPAs, often with a high ABV, often single hopped, though not always (mixed-hop beers are usually named using cryptic-sounding abbreviations indicating the component hops, e.g. Pale Ale M.NS.NZC), and massive dark porters and stouts (some brewed according to classic 19th century London recipes, like their 1890 London Export Stout). Brewer Evin O’Riordan doesn’t like to repeat himself so most brews are one-off, limited runs – but a few beers survive the cut and get added to the recurring repertoire (the aforementioned 1890 London Export Stout is one such beer). Here are capsule reviews of three recent Kernels I’ve sampled: