Sebright Arms Homebrew: Pure Evil Black IPA

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Max Brearley: Pub Diaries

Press releases and brewer collaboratians are often yawn inducing litter in my inbox. The collaboration was once something of interest but more often than not strikes me as jumping on the band wagon. Whack a collab tag on it and it’ll sell. But now and again I’m not in cynical mood and there’s something that doesn’t go straight to the trash. Something genuinely interesting.

The Sebright Arm’s has carved a bit of a name for itself in terms of Lucky Chip, live music and now: Sebright Arms Homebrew. They describe it as: a nomadic, collaborative type of brewing. This ‘nano-brewing’ allows for beer to be brewed in very small batches, inviting experimentation and encouraging brewers to create more niche brews.

The launch brew is a Black IPA with nearby Redchurch Brewery. To add to this already interesting mix you’ve got Pure Evil; a local street artist who has worked closely…

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Sebright’s Children venture out #1

A select few of the Sebright’s Children sauntered up to Northumberland Park a wee while back, on a mission to discover the secrets of Redemption’s salubrious brews.  The air was fresh and the sunshine brilliant.  Thank god nobody was hung over.

Greeted by Andy & co out the front (and by co, I include the copious odours of malty goodness, of course), we wandered in, following our nostrils into the realm where the brew-meisters work their magic.  Our visit went something like this:

Josh, making sure Alec doesn’t miss the bag.

Josh, making sure Alec doesn’t miss the bag.

Stuck in the middle of a shelf-load of hops and buckets of malt, Simon talks us through base and specialty grains.

Stuck in the middle of a shelf-load of hops and buckets of malt, Simon talks us through base and specialty grains.

— “Wanna come up, chuck some hops in the boil?”

— “Wanna come up, chuck some hops in the boil?”

"Yep!"

“Yep!”

Getting a nose-full.

Getting a nose-full of Urban Dusk.

DSC06590

— “Oh God, there’s a hipster in my mash tun. And he’s shovelling with wanton irony!”

...back to the tour: here’s a look at recirculation in the fermentation room. Keeps the yeast working nicely.

…back to the tour: here’s a look at re-circulation in the fermentation room. Keeps the yeast working nicely.

A Sebright child, playing brewmeister, thinking she’ll add her own adjuncts during fermentation.

A Sebright child, playing brewmeister, thinking she’ll add her own adjuncts during fermentation.

— "they’ll be none the wiser.."

— “they’ll be none the wiser..”

"And I’m sure the results will be inspiring"

“And I’m sure the results will be inspiring”

Andy explaining gravity & how we use it to determine the ABV.

Meanwhile, Andy explains gravity & how we use it to determine the ABV.

& Josh talking about the importance of hops for flavour and aroma.

& Josh talks about the importance of hops for flavour and aroma.

Getting our noses into some Nelson Sauvign from NZ. If you've ever had Redemption's Big Chief, that's where you'll find these hops.

Getting our noses into some Nelson Sauvin from NZ. Ever had Redemption’s Big Chief?

...and then, of course, indulging in a taster of Hopspur; one of my favourites.

…and then, of course, indulging in an unfined taster of Hopspur; one of my favourites.

Some just couldn't get enough.

Some just couldn’t get enough…

So that’s pretty much how our morning finished up, as was expected, to be sure.

Many many thanks to Andy, Josh, Simon & everyone at Redemption for taking the time to show us around & sharing their expertise with us bar-folk. If Northumberland Park is a bit of a stretch for you, Redemption’s brews are regularly featured at the Sebright.

For any questions & more info, check out Redemption’s website.

Cheers!

Building a global charity inspired by a lick of upper-lip fringe

I’ll bet you that – come this time of year – it’s not an infrequent thought that male facial fashion is taking a turn back to the 70s. Perhaps you have already caught yourself asking “Just what is the inspiration behind my boss’/husband’s/cab driver’s/brother’s porn-like mo?” Or maybe you’re dreading a global hipster take-over, starting with the upper-lip & subsequently spreading like everything oh-so-vintage?

You may have heard the term ‘Movember’ thrown casually about in certain circles.You may even be somewhat aware that behind the frizz lies a specific focus, namely finding a cure for prostate cancer: the male equivalent of breast cancer in terms of the number of men that die from it and are diagnosed with it. But are you acquainted with the story behind the movement? And do you know what it takes to fund an organisation that is built on growing moustaches?

Allow me to introduce Mr Adam Garone, one of the co-founders of Movember, via TEDxToronto from 2011. Starting with a few beers, a discussion about 70s fashion and a seemingly flippant challenge, and ending up with a growing global charity – the largest dedicated to its cause – Garone certainly has one inspiring journey to share. He’s dealt with rejection of support from potentially the only bodies with the most to gain from his idea – both the Australian and Canadian prostate cancer foundations – and survived near bankruptcy just as the organisation was taking off. In spite of these challenges, he has taken the necessary risks to achieve the desired outcome: the creation of an organisation that is “Changing the face of men’s health”. In a nutshell, this entails getting men engaged in health and having a better understanding of the health risks they face. Since the first Movember donations in 2005 Garone’s life has become about a moustache: boasting proudly “I am a moustache farmer, and my season is November”.

Some farmer.

Through its 450,000 participants, or ‘celebrity ambassadors’, as Garone likes to call them, Movember managed to raise $77 million in 2010, and is now the biggest funder of prostate cancer research and support programmes worldwide. With such support Movember has outgrown its original purpose and is becoming a movement that is changing the face of research in both this sector as well as the charity sector more generally. Commenting on this, Garone jokes: “Our ribbon is a hairy ribbon”. More seriously, he describes how the organisation’s new goal is to change the fragmented way in which researchers across the world operate by bringing together the best minds in the field to define what the major priorities are for tackling prostate cancer. Through global collaboration Movember is accelerating outcomes which will lead to a future cure for the disease.

Regarding the way it is changing way the charity sector works, Garone cites the flexibility of Movember, noting how it is much more than a moustache or a joke. It’s about each person coming to the platform, embracing it in their own way & it being significant in their own life and the lives of others. More important than the funds raised is the building of awareness and education.  At the very least can be as little as starting a conversation about the topic, and sharing one’s Movember story.

What’s yours?

—-

Us at the Sebright are participating in Movember – just ask the staff if you would like to donate. If you give £3 or more, you can take home our Sebright Arms Movember pint glass.

Good? Bitter? Best?

I don’t know about you beer-drinkers, but for us bar-folk here at the Sebright, one of the toughest things for us to get our heads around has been the words. Not just any words, but the likes of Porter, Bitter, Best, Stout, Pale Ale, IPA, Mild… “I’ll have a pint of your Best, please barkeep”, just doesn’t hold much meaning anymore, thanks to the proliferation of those brewers riding the beer-tsunami of innovation every which way around London. (How many are there now?) I read earlier today that once upon a time Fuller’s used to have two basic recipes; one mild, one bitter.

WTF?

What ever happened to such consistency for simplicity’s sake? I mean, Brooklyn Lager is darker in colour than many a Pale Ale we pour! What’s the story?

Ahem.

As rant-worthy a topic this may be, coming-to-terms with the terms is the nature of the beer, so it seems. And honestly, we’re better barkeepers for it. Were it not for these varied terms, we’d never have learned that some folks claim the name ‘Porter’ stems from the load-bearing lads who worked on the London docks – risking life and limb day in day out, particularly in winter on the narrow, iced-up wooden planks connecting ship to shore, oftentimes half-cut on a strong beer brewed using dark malts. Nor would we have learned that the recipe for India Pale Ale was originally crafed in Bow by a fellow called Hodgson using loads of hops and a high alcohol content for surviving the voyage to the subcontinent. Everyone loves a bitta beer history.

But then what’s all this? An American-style IPA brewed in Wandsworth? A Belgian-style IPA made in the States? Woah hang on: “A unique marriage between the English tradition of IPAs, the American new revolution of Imperial IPAs and the classic Belgian way of brewing” (???!!)

*gulp*

…anyhow, us here at the Sebright say: “ENOUGH with all this befuddlery!” In doing away with said befuddlery, we aim to have enough selection that an understanding of the distinct differences in each brewer’s personal take on a style may be achieved by even the biggest beerophobes.

…not all ale is everyone’s cup of, well, ale…

When it comes to staff training at the Sebright, I’m quite a big fan of the more practical, hands-on approach: taking everyone through the various ales we have on the hand pulls before each shift begins, for example.  Not simply for the obvious reason – I get a quick pre-shift whetting-of-the-whistle – but also to observe their varied reactions at the plethora of flavours London’s micro-brewers are having us purveyors of quality beer experience.

“Guys, here’s a new one from Brodie’s!  It’s their take on the Steam Beer style, the origins of which are hotly debated amongst the most eminent of beer historians!  The most important thing to remember is it’s fermentation at higher temperatures usually used for brewing ale, yet its employment of lager yeasts in the process!”

I pass the taster to L who sips and with contorted features like a child just been fed lemon for the fist time, exclaims:

“Ick!  I don’t like it”, and thrusts the glass towards S:

“Ooooh! It tastes like washing detergent”.  Time for M:

“Hmmmm……. interesting”.

My turn.  “Wow….. Sharp.  Bitter. Yep, lemon all round.  Not quite what I expected, nor is it quite my cup of ale”.

But here’s the thing: lemony soap just isn’t something everyone would expect when sampling a freshly poured, heady, clean golden ale.  Is it?  Upon inspection of that elaborate beer flavour wheel, one comes to the organic compound 2-phenylethanol.  Its floral, lemony odour is found in perfumery and rose-flavoured things, and it is also used as a preservative in, yep, soaps.  God I love this stuff.

After a few more tastings it was heartily agreed that Brodie’s White IPA was much more appreciated amongst that night’s Sebright crew.  And while it’s true that the hype and allure behind that IPA abbreviation is as vast as the oceans it was was initially made to travel, sometimes to bitter disappointment, here Brodie’s have done a good’un.  Hazy golden, herbal aroma with a fruity, floral flavour and orange zesty finish.