Sambrook’s Brewery in the heart of south London

I know I usually blog about wine but what’s more traditional then real English cask ale in the heart of London? Being an American and a winedrinker primarily, I’ve never really gotten into the whole ale thing but I was given the chance to tour Sambrook’s brewery in Battersea to learn more about this very English beverage. At one point, London was a huge producer of English ales but most breweries have closed, with Fuller’s in Chiswick being the only major brewery still in operation. Duncan Sambrook just thought it was plain wrong that London had only one brewery. Duncan had a vision to open his own London based brewery. By a stroke of luck, he met and partnered up with David Welsh, formerly of Ringwood Best Bitter, to open up a twenty barrel plant in Battersea. The place has only been in operations 4 months but they are doing gangbusters. Real English Ale is made with only 4 ingredients, water, malt, yeast and hops and the cask ale is similar to champagne with it’s second fermentation, it’s technically “alive” when it leaves the brewery because it’s not pasteurized so the yeast is still able to work it’s magic.  I found out that the ale even “ages” in the bottle and although it has a limited shelf life, it does improve with age. I guess you could say it’s an accelerated version of aging wine. They also use isinglass to fine it, just like wine. I was liking the sound of this ale more and more. During our tour we got to see the malt before it’s ground up, they aim to use as many traditionally produced ingredients as possible and Duncan told us all about how the malt was roasted and then turned by hand for 3 days with a special pitchfork! That was pretty cool. He also showed us the hops, they use 3 to give their ale it’s distinctive flavours- Fuggles, Goldings and Boadicae (they sound like a law firm to me). Boudicea was specially produced for English ale making. We even got to stick...

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