Keeping it real … Real Ale
As I rush through the door of “SMITHS” of Smithfields in Farringdon London with fellow beer enthusiastic Justin Mason we are asked “How are we tonight guys?”, I reply “Wet!”! In typical 2016 weather a glorious sunny afternoon was followed by heavy rain, making the first impressions of “SMITHS” of Smithfields a bit of a damp one. I was looking forward to the evening though, it was a new venue that I somehow hadn’t been to before and the evenings plan was to sample beer from a brewery I hadn’t tried before, BRU Brewery from Trim Ireland.
“SMITHS” of Smithfields is a very quick 3 minutes’ walk from Farringdon train station, the large square windows and their awnings have huge lettering on them, not allowing you to miss the bar as you walk past. The bar is spread over several floors, you are first greeted by a large square room with big wooden tables set out in front of a bright red brick bar, which stretches across the back wall. It is a clean and stylish American canteen/taproom feel bar. Upstairs there is a smaller bar area with several comfortable seating areas, complete with function rooms allowing for more interment surroundings for any presentations or parties. Behind the bar is a huge wall of bottled beers that you can drink at the bar, the selection is wide and impressive with bottles from Redchurch, Hackney Brewery, Hiver and Canopy Brew Co among many others. They also did 6 bottles for £15 take out deal too, which I think was rather good value. The top level is for table dining, and that evening Fred Perry was holding an event, unfortunately no samples were sent our way!
“I wanted to brew beer everyone would enjoy from my Granddad to my younger brother” brewer and head of sales Dave O’Hare says as he opens the small presentation. Brú Brewery are passionate about good beer brewed with local ingredients and are constantly inspired by local Irish history. They take their name from Brú Na Boinne Neolithic site, which provides them with plenty of inspiration from its many historical legends. Brú Brewery was founded in 2013 and since then they have won a list of awards and are currently exporting to 16 different countries, with an eye on growing their presence in the UK.
“250 years is far too long for any product; I want London to drink a new stout”. Brú Brewery are looking at converting the usual Guinness drinkers to a new Irish stout, Dubh. Inspired from the dark mythical Goddess Boann, Dubh has chocolate on the nose, then strong coffee bean flavour which drinks velvety smooth but has an incredible dry finish. It leaves you wanting more but doesn’t rush you through the pint, it is a very nice beer on draught indeed. It took over two years to get the nitro version of the beer to how they wanted it but now they are ready to give those Guinness drinkers a different alternative. It also worked fantastically in the lovely Irish beef stew that was being served on the evening.
“My Mum is coeliac and she was hounding me for a beer to drink”. Now I wouldn’t have known at all that the Irish Lager was gluten free, it was very easy drinking with a nice sweet edge to it with no lacking flavours that I sometimes find with gluten free beers. If you too suffer from gluten problems, then this beer is well worth seeking out.
Alongside these two beers there were samples of the other beers in their core range including their IPA Rí, brewed with Goldings, Citra, Simcoe and Cascade hops, which in my opinion leans towards an English IPA more so than a hoppy American IPA. My beer of the evening however was the new Darkness IPA, it was fruity on the noise, lovely malt flavours alongside the most present citrus hop bitterness among all their beers, it was a great American/Irish red ale. Brewed with Magnum, Chinook, Cascade and Summit hops and inspired by The Dullahan, a headless rider which appears as an omen of death.
Brú Brewery also have more experimental beers they brew back in Ireland, including some sour beers in the making and barrel aged version of Dubh which sounded amazing. I would love to see these beers also make the trip across from Ireland. It surprised me to hear Dave talk about cask beer in Ireland, Brú Brewery travel over to England and collaborate on few beers with a couple different English breweries, but at home there isn’t the interest in cask beer as there is here. “I can only really count about 12 pubs that want cask beer back home”, although this is good for us here in England as we can take the rest of the brew it is a shame as it sounded to me cask beer was something Dave waned to brew more of. I’m looking forward to trying some of the cask beer they brew when they are next over.
Choosing to launch the stout in Farringdon is a good move, there is a huge drinking presence there and I can see the “suits” taking to Dubh well. There is still interest for the more hardcore of beer geeks and I really recommend seeking out the Darkness IPA. Ireland and its beers are very much unexplored for me but Brú Brewery was a great start, I look forward to seeing what else Ireland has to offer.
“SMITHS” of Smithfields address – 67-77 Charterhouse St, London EC1M 6HJ
Opening times – Mon-Fri 7am to 12pm, Sat 9:30am to 1am & Sun 9:30am to 5pm
Twittter – @thisissmiths
Twitter – @BruBrewery
If you run a pub and would like more info on the beers then contact Peter Hollamby on firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer – I was invited along to the event by Triggerfish, which I am very thankful for. All the beers and food was free; however, this has not affected my opinions. I was under no obligation to write this blog post, I done it because I enjoyed Brú Brewery and their beers.