Back in October, I was invited to a ‘Meet the Brewer’ evening at the North Laine Brewhouse. Being that I’m not a beer drinker myself, I enlisted a couple of beer-loving-boys (Tom and Duncan) and my friend Hannah to help me review the experience.
The North Laine is a small brewery (not just a pub) and lots of the beers and ales it serves are brewed on site – something I had no idea of and was impressed to discover. In this day and age (eek I sound like my mother), everything seems to be mass manufactured and shipped from halfway around the world. Products often lack individuality and real craftsmanship, but going on the brewery tour showed me that this isn’t true of everything and there are still pockets of people passionate about doing things on a smaller scale and with finesse.
The tour was led by the Head Brewer, an Aussie called Nick Donald, who amazingly started out brewing in his shed at home when he was a young teen and then elevated to a professional level. He talked us through all the different stages of the brewing process and how a craft beer is achieved. I would attempt to relay this back to you, but honestly, it went a bit over my head and you can find out first-hand by booking onto the next tour!
We also had the chance to sample several beers. As virgin beer drinkers, Hannah and I needed a helping hand choosing our first beer. We were guided towards a ‘Republic’ brew (not brewed by North Laine). It was a fruity, tropical, light beer and a perfect introduction for our inexperienced pallets. Whilst we were timid, the boys were brave and tried the I.P.A, a very hoppy beer, made up of four different kinds of hops. This is brewed on the site and is a firm favourite with the customers and the staff.
Aside from the very detailed explanation of how to make beer, there were several other interesting discoveries we found out from the tour.
- Hops are a direct relation to cannabis! Now wait, before you get excited about that and think about trying to smoke some, don’t. Apparently, you’ll just throw it straight back up.
- There’s also a shortage of some varieties of hops because they are so popular.
- The yeast in beer is what makes you need to pee frequently
- The brew kit (where you brew the beer) imparts flavour over time, so every brew that’s made will taste different
- As hops get older they get cheesy. Cheesy hops are only right for a Lambic beer, which is a Belgium brew with a very distinct flavour
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
All the staff were fantastic, highly knowledgeable and clearly loved everything to do with beer. The beer and ales range for those with a trained pallet to ales suitable for virgin beer drinkers, and the staff were really helpful in recommending the beer right for your own personal taste.
Food-wise, I tried some very good bites that eve. There were delicious scotch eggs (which, by the way, come with either meat or veggie options) and chips that were something else… they really did some magic with them as they were very crunchy on the outside but fluffy and soft on the inside.
I also discovered that The North Laine offers a Bottomless Brunch on Saturdays 11am-1pm for £20. You chose from one of the three brunch plate options and then a ‘Bloody Mary’ or a ‘Mimosa’ cocktail and up until 3pm the cocktails can be topped up – genius!
– Written by Eshé Brown and Tom Harris
*Disclaimer: My friends and I were invited to review the North Laine Brewery Tour, but as always, my opinion isn’t swayed by freebies and you are getting my honest opinion on the whole experience.