Taste San Diego's finest in London29 May 2015
It is now remarkably easy to get good American craft beer in London. The likes of Stone and Odell are a regular feature in our better bars and bottle shops, while punters have become ludicrously blasé about the likes of Brooklyn and Sierra Nevada, such is their growing ubiquity. You can buy Rogue in Wetherspoons, for goodness sake. And now, Firestone Walker - a Californian operation thought by many canny judges to be amongst America’s best - has reached the UK. It’s pretty exciting.
Not every American brewer is sending beer across the pond, of course. There are thousands of them, and the likes of Russian River and Hill Farmstead (soon to be home to Siren’s Ryan Witter-Merithew) are unlikely to ever turn up on these shores, grey market and beer trading notwithstanding. Another brewer in that class, however, is crossing the Atlantic and you can try their beers next week: Ballast Point, from IPA city USA, San Diego, will be at Brewdog Shepherd’s Bush next Wednesday and Brewdog Shoreditch next Thursday.
Founded in 1996, Ballast Point has become one of the flag bearers for IPAs over the past decade, with the likes of Big Eye and - in particular - Sculpin becoming hugely popular amongst the USA’s growing tribe of hop-addicts. They deserve recognition for their (admittedly hopped-up) British-style beers too, such as amber ale Calico and Black Marlin, a porter. Head brewer Yuseff Cherney, one of the men who designed these beers, will be on hand, too.
Cherney’s approach can perhaps be best summed-up by something he said to Serious Eats back in 2010. “We have always tried to take styles we love and make them with a twist, such as add a more aggressive hop character,” he said. “There really is no common thread to our brewing as we use all sorts of different yeasts and ingredients, so each beer is distinct in its own way.”
There are a few other fun events coming up, too. Saturday sees Hammerton Brewery launch Baron H, an Earl Grey Black IPA, at the brewery in Islington while the Craft Beer Co’s Covent Garden branch celebrates its first birthday with rare beers from Cantillon, Beavertown, The Kernel and more.