So, after several weeks of planning, and a selection of people saying they would come and then drop out, and late attendees, we have finally made it to Sambrooks Brewery.
You will have seen I did complete one blog on the night, but after we started the brewery tour, I was totally engrossed, so I didn't have time to write any more at that time.
Tom, our guide, is not a full time employee at the brewery, so he completes these tours out of pleasure. Given this was not his full time job he was able to tell us a lot about the brewery, how it started, and how the make the beer. It was interesting to think that when Sambrooks was starting there were only three brewers in London, and now there are over thirty. This shows how people have been changing their drinking habits, and how this is driving the production of more traditional ale (over the mass produced lager we get in England).
Some brief facts (as I recall them):-
- Sambrooks use locally sourced ingredients
- the water is.. tap water.. which is 'burtonised' (this is adding of minerals etc that gives it the perfect start in life)
- the beers are named after local landmarks (Wandle - river, Junction - Clapham Junction, etc)
- each brew is 3000 litres
We then tried some malt, at different stages of toasting. The lightly toasted barley reminded me so much of barley sweets, it was lovely (I'm guessing this isn't surprising really).
We had a pint of Junction, which is a lovely hoppy beer. I have reviewed this before and since it is only three miles from the local, it tasted just as nice as it did down the pub.
We had a look at the hops, and learnt about the flavour they add to the beer.
At this point I'm going to mention Heath. He'd had a couple of earlier meetings (in the pub) and was just a little bit tipsy before he started. He spent quite a lot of time talking very loudly and sometimes over Tom. If the tour hadn't been interesting it wouldn't have bothered me but today, this chap was talking and I was learning.
We had another Junction, as we then made our way through the brewery works, after which we had a pint of Wandle. To be honest I can't really remember much about the beer at this point, but Siddie tells me he preferred it to the Junction.
On our way back to get our bags, we tried a pint of the porter. I do remember this tasted like porter, but by this point things are getting a bit hazy.
All in all this was a fantastic evening. Not only did I learn a lot about Sambrooks and the way beer is made (when they try a new mix of hops/malt they make a full 3000litres, if they don't like it they throw it away), but had some excellent beer as well.
As you can imagine this lead to a some what thick head on Friday morning, which I have finally recovered from. The good news from me, is that Siddie was in a worse state than I was.