Keeping it real … Real Ale
In the ever evolving world of craft beer brewing you should never be surprised hearing where new places breweries are popping up in. But last week when I was told there was a new brewery in an old shipping container I must admit I was curious. Could you really brew decent beers from inside one of those metal boxes? Would it work as a tap room? Are they playing on the gimmick of brewing inside a shipping container or do their beers do the talking for them. With these questions in mind I thought it is best I make the trip to Dalston and find out.
I’m fairly new to the London Overhead line but recently I have come to realise that it’s pretty much the London Brewers train network! 40FT Brewery is a short 2 minute walk from both train stations in Dalston, making it an easy train ride for my friend Paul and myself travelling from Leyton Orient. It’s a bit off the beaten track, you have to turn down Abbott Road and keep walking down to the end, passing the rubbish bins with graffiti arrows pointing the other way advising the direction you’ll find Hipsters (ironic Hipster graffiti?!?).
You’ll find a gate at the end of the dark alley which opens up into a court yard, in the far right hand corner you’ll see a large 40FT shipping containing with a pair of 20FT shipping containers above and behind. I like the brewery name, it obviously comes from the original brewery set up of the two 20 feet long shipping containers. There is now an additional 40 feet long shipping container which holds the tap room. Walking up to the tap room I was wondering how it would feel drinking in a shipping container, but it’s actually surprisingly unique and pretty cool experience. There is a small outside area where the shipping containers connect and the outside court yard is pretty big. As you can see from some of their photos it can get very busy in the court yard but thankfully when we visited there were only a few people around. Small casks converted into seats line up each side of the tap room leading up to the bar at the end.
The four guys behind the brewery are Ben Ott, Fredrik Petterson, Andreas Petterson and Steve Ryan. Brewer Ben has a good brewing CV including time brewing at Purity, London Fields and Trumans. His skills can be identified in their beers. There were two beers available when we visited, their Pale Ale (which was available on keg and in a can) and Larger, which is a beautiful Kölsch Lager. Ben is originally from Cologne Germany, home of Kölsch style of beer, and his version of this German classic is spot on and my favourite Kölsch I’ve drank In England. The beer being served is straight from the maturation tank, so popping down to the tap room is the freshest place to try their beers. Pints are £4 and you can take away cans of Pale Ale for £3 also. Strangely though, I actually preferred the Pale Ale from the can as I felt you got more of that juicy-tropical-mango-flavours than I did from draught. I think their branding will be really liked by some and disliked by others. I like its rugged basic look, especially on the pump clips, I think it matches the the feel of the brewery. The can design is really basic but again I like this, it is easy to instantly reconsign although I can imagine this might not be to everyone’s taste.
From standing and talking with Ben and Frederick it was easy to see their passion for the beers and I can see them doing really well. I look forward to seeing some of their beers in cask, they have a couple at the Pigs Ear beer festival coming up. Brewing in the shipping containers clearly works, just taste the beer and you’ll see. Not only do I feel that it’s not just a gimmick it’s actually a really cleaver idea to set up the brewery in the containers. There passion and friendliness will surely lead to success and when the time they need to expand comes all they will have to do is add another container!