The Beer O’Clock Show held a live recording at Hop Burns and Black last Thursday at which we collectively reviewed two beers and a mead from a new London meadery. Yes, that’s right, fucking mead! What times we live in. With the promise of an evening of beer and revelry I couldn’t wait to get out of work, so at 4pm I hightailed it to Brewdog Shoreditch to meet Steve from the aforementioned Beer O’Clock Show. Strategically opting for a Dead Pony Ale given the early hour, after a brief catch up we took the Overground to Peckham Rye. Being sensible we eschewed train beers, and arriving at Hop Burns and Black we sat outside with a beer while we waited for the other guests to arrive, one of whom was Gemma who is fast approaching beer geek status (however much she denies it).

After introductions we were ready to get started and did so with “Tastes Like Beer”, a white stout brewed by Steve and Mark from the Beer O’Clock Show along with Nick Fletcher from Ubrew. For the uninitiated, Ubrew is an “open brewery” and taproom in Bermondsey where members brew their own beer using professional equipment. A fairly niche beer style, Tastes Like Beer was brewed with maris otter malt and unobtrusively hopped with magnum and cascade, while a subtle coffee note was imparted by the addition of Finca La Pila Guatemalan coffee grinds. It certainly had the body and creamy mouthfeel you expect from a stout, and the coffee flavour became more pronounced as the beer warmed up. Nick was on hand to tell us about the concept behind Ubrew and answer questions about the beer, a style I have no reference point for but one I’m keen to try again, and with plenty of bottles going spare I happily filled my backpack, rattling like a jakey* as I ran for the bus on the way home.

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Next up was a beer from Gypsy Hill Brewing Co. which opened for business in south-east London last year. With a stated philosophy of creating well-balanced, flavourful, sessionable beers, Gypsy Hill has a core range of three: an amber, a pale and a porter. We reviewed the pale ale, Beatnik, which at 3.8% was surprisingly robust, a malt-forward beer with citrus notes and a bitter finish. Charlie Shaw, co-founder of Gipsy Hill and formerly of Five Points, joined us and revealed some of the brewery’s future plans including a collaboration with the Kent Brewery and a short run of canned beers courtesy of a mobile canning line. The taproom is also open every Saturday between 1pm and 6pm, and all pints are priced at £3.50, so be sure to drop in the next time you’re in the deep south.

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After a break we reconvened with Glenn and Jen from Hop Burns and Black fielding questions about the story behind the shop. If you’re reading this you’ve probably heard all the superlatives before, but what I took away from my latest visit was that my chilli tolerance isn’t as high as I’d thought. Gemma and I were given two of the house sauces as condiments for our sausage roll and scotch egg from Pig and Hay (which were damn fine incidentally), and suffice it to say my stomach was in knots the next day…

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The final drink up for review was the aforementioned mead from London’s first meadery, Gosnell’s. Apparently there’s a mead revolution going on, although I can’t say I’ve noticed. It was pleasant enough, in fact the honey sweetness was a nice contrast to the bitterness of the pale ale from Gypsy Hill, and owner Tom Gosnell was there to answer our mead-related questions and queries. If you want to try it yourself, Gosnell’s has a brewery bar which is open Saturdays between 2pm and 6pm, DMT (Dulwich Mead Time – see what I did there?).

The live recording will be aired on 21 August and is one of the Beer O’Clock Show’s three “Summer Specials”, preceded by the Third Birthday Show featuring Shepherd Neame Mash Tun No 1 on 24 July and Brewing “Tastes Like Beer” (recorded at Ubrew) on 7 August. Be sure to listen to get the lowdown on that curious white stout, as well as more from Nick and Ubrew.

Most attendees picked up some train/bus beers for the journey home, and not being one to do things by halves, I went for a can of Swami’s IPA from Pizza Port. You see that’s the kind of produce they stock at Hop Burns and Black – no fannying about, which I believe should be their tagline.

* (Scottishslangderogatory) a homeless alcoholic

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