Glasses and Grains

By Michelle Connolly Saturday 19th Mar, 2016

Glasses and Grains
Woodford Reserve and Anspach & Hobday present The Boilermaker

Pottering down to one of the nicest spots in Clapham we were treated to one of the most beautiful bar partnerships in history to celebrate London Beer Week – the Boilermaker. Or, as it’s been known in it’s Brooklyn origins, the 1+1, and also the Block and Fall – thanks to the habit of it’s imbibers to get about a block from the bar they had been enjoying them, and predictably fall over.

This time we were going a little more upmarket than the cheap beer and whiskey combos the New York labourers knocked back. Treated to three of Woodford Reserve’s fine bourbons, and craft beers from the Anspach & Hobday, an award-winning micro brewery from right here under an archway in Bermondsey. Their vision is to brew and curate the best of beer, and put London back at the centre of the map for beer in Europe. That sounds like a pretty decent goal to us.

The first beer we tried was Anspach & Hobday’s IPA, full of big citrusy flavours thanks to the hops, we detected notes of grapefruit and apple. Fresh on the palate, it made a lovely companion to the Woodford Kentucky Straight Rye bourbon. The citrus easily cut through the sweet honey flavour, the caramel and nutty notes emanating from the rye in the bourbon. Served with a light roasted cod with lemon emulsion and smoky charred chicory, the match was perfect.

Next up was a much deeper, richer beer from the Bermondsey barrels, interestingly one of their first whose recipe was developed when the brewery was a mere glint in their eye – or yeast in their house. Named the Smoked Brown after it’s distinctive smokey flavour and smell, the distinctive quality originated from the German malt, partially-germinated grain dried over an open fire in the traditional way. No longer really done, since it’s more difficult to control the temperature and he possibility of burning the grain, it makes this one extra special.

Pair this with Woodford’s Double Oaked and you have a perfect pair. Woodford’s barrels, made in their very own cooperage and hand staved from 33 different hand-carved pieces, are carefully charred and arranged to give deep interaction with the spirit. Through the changing seasons the wood expands and contracts with the heat and cold, meaning maximum flavour is imparted. The beverages complemented the perfectly-cooked hanger steak to a tee, pink and tender topped with a tasty burnt onion jam to add an additional sweetness to the mix.

Our final match was a deliciously sweet Mead from Gosnell’s. Made in Peckham from a traditional base of mead, using just citrus-blossom honey and water without the addition of hops, apples or grapes. It was deliciously refreshing, without being overly sweet.

The Distiller’s Select from Woodford was extremely smooth, the sweet caramelly notes went beautifully with the Caramel, Glazed Banana and Bramley Apple dessert from The Powder Keg. A sweet note to end the evening on.

So if you’re looking for a delicious way to enjoy more than your usual Boilermaker combo, a pairing of any of the above is sure to float your boat, but to make the most of it pop down to The Powder Keg Diplomacy to enjoy some of their delectable dishes alongside them.