Keeping it real … Real Ale
Imagine a place, a huge venue with different rooms, all pouring different types of beer. Imagine a never ending flow of popcorn and ice cream cones that doesn’t require chasing a van down the street, imagine a place where top quality chefs serve up incredible food literally in the palm of your hand. Imagine live music, an outside area to chill and photo booths to capture all this excitement. Sounds like heaven right? Well I have seen heaven and it is called Brooklyn Brewery Beer Mansion!
Ok so that was dramatic intro but the Beer Mansion really was all that and more. MC Motors originally a school and an industrial warehouse but was transformed into the #LondonMash event. #LondonMash is a world tour Brooklyn Brewery do once a year, visiting different beer destinations to party hard and celebrate beer along the way. MC Motors has a rustic, worn down look that added to its beer rave feel. Each room had a different theme, whether that be the IPA room, the music venue, the Saisons which matched with the food perfectly or the barrel aged room. Random Brooklyn Brewery branded objects surrounded every room, old oil barrels and walls projected with the big B were just some of the things on show.
When Brooklyn Brewery first started hitting the shelves of our super markets and pubs I slept on it a bit, not really knowing what it was about I wrongly assumed it was just any old new lager. When I finally did get round to tasting it I was surprised at its punchy flavour hit, but what I appreciated more was the fact that friends who wouldn’t usually drink these types of beers, people who would usually stick to the macro lagers, started drinking and really enjoying Brooklyn Lager. It started opening up the door for a few friends and they quickly moved onto some other Craft Beers like Beavertown and Kernel. And I sort of left it as that with regards to Brooklyn Brewery. Then just before making the trip to Barcelona beer festival I got my hands on a bottle of Sorachi Ace… mind blown! It was the first beer I tried that had been brewed with the Sorachi Ace hop and the second beer from Brooklyn Brewery I had drank, and I loved it! I then turned full fan boy when I joined a Brooklyn Brewery session with Garrett Oliver (Brooklyn’s Brewmaster) at the Barcelona beer festival. This is where I saw the full brewing capabilities of Brooklyn, I went from thinking that they mainly brewed lager, to hearing about this huge Craft Beer success story. During the excellent talk with Garrett we got to try some of the more experimental beers they brew including Purple Sorachi Ace aged on red wine barrels over blueberries, Galahad, Barrel Aged White Horse Porter and Hand & Seal. They were all outstanding. So when I heard about Beer Masion I jumped at the chance to go and get the opportunity to try more of Brooklyn’s special brews.
We started the evening with a can of American Ale in the line to get in and before we even got through to the main part of MC Motors we were given a glass of Brooklyn Brown Ale. There was so much on offer, including beers from some English breweries to sit amongst the Brooklyn Beer, these included Beavertown, Redchurch, Thornbridge, Dalston’s own 40FT Brewery and newly opened Forest Road Brewery. Two highlights from these were the Huck double IPA from Thornbridge and the really decent lager called Work from Forest Road.
The barrel aged room was where it was at, this is where Brooklyn Brewery really comes to life and shows the world what they are really capable of brewing. K for Kriek was hands down the best Kriek I have ever had, usually a style that I am not overly found of, but this 10.1% (TEN POINT ONE!!!!) Kriek is simply stunning. The Sorachi Ace Orchard Pick was beautifully soft and near on bloody perfect, I need this beer again by whatever means necessary.
However, top of the beer list for the evening was the new collaboration beer with Thornbridge and Oliver’s Cider and Perry. Starting life as a strong Belgian style golden ale (Brooklyn Local 1 I think…), Serpent is then aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels on Tom Oliver’s Cider lees (the apple solids and yeast from Cider making) for over a year. The outcome is phenomenal! A beer that feels sour but leans towards sweet apple cider with a super dry finish that just forces you to keep sipping. I am incredibly lucky to have been able to try this beer and hopefully Thornbridge will be releasing some to the general public (start saving your pennies now!). Although this beer is without doubt something really special and possibly a once in a life time sip for me I still think that Hand & Seal stole the show, it is one of the best beers I have ever had. Hand & Seal is an absolute heavyweight champion of a beer, weighing in at 13.3% this is Brooklyn’s take on a classic English Barley Wine. Seriously it makes me want to re-mortgage my house and go down to Mother Kellys Bottle Shop and buy all the Hand & Seal! Thanks to my good beer buddy Steve from the Beer O’Clock show and the super helpful Brooklyn Brewery UK Brand Ambassador Rachael I was lucky enough to be allowed up into the brewers loft, where the brewmaster beers and Garrett Oliver talks were happening. But being a man of the people it didn’t feel right being upstairs with drinking these incredible beers and not letting my buddies downstairs try them. So I sneaked a glass of Serpent and a glass of Hand & Seal down for them to try (I’m sorry Brooklyn!), and like myself the beers blew their minds.
The whole evening was a blast from start to finish with so much going on. Ok, so eating sushi off my palm may have been the most hipster thing I have ever done (usually the only food I eat off my hands is pizza cheese when I’m drunk!) but it tasted incredible and paired with 1001 Nights perfectly. I stupidly didn’t partake in any popcorn, ice cream or Voodoo Rays Pizza eating, but I saw some people really enjoying their slices.
Brooklyn Brewery are a true Craft Beer success story, home brewing to becoming a worldwide known brand. They might be best known for their lager on a wider scale but they are also making some other incredible beers. If the Mash tour is coming to a town near you then I seriously recommend you go check it out.
The venue looked and felt great.Everyone was in a feel good mood and there was no problems, other than an amusing moment when a member of staff had to rush off mid conversation to stop the someone trying to jump in the bath of barrel aged beers. The amount of hard work put in by the Brooklyn Brewery staff was just incredible, the whole event flowed perfectly, the wait wasn’t too long to get in and we were all gifted with cans of Brooklyn beer to enjoy while waiting. A huge thank you to all the staff.
I was invited to Brooklyn #LondonMash Beer Mansion on the VIP guestlist for free, however I do not think this affected my opinions, and I would have paid the £10 ticket price twice over!