When a group of Birmingham beer drinkers get together over a glass or 2 of cask, keg or bottled beer, eventually talk will turn to how hard done by we are compared to other towns and cities in terms of what is available. Now although this is true to an extent, let’s not forget that we are blessed with some pretty decent pubs and bars in the city centre. Case in point is the Brewdog Bar in John Bright St. Now I’ll be upfront and mention that I am friends with manager Michael Gee, Neil Hemus, and get on with and like the other members of staff in the bar, but hope this doesn’t colour the following comments too much.
Since opening at the end of 2012 in John Bright St, as well as the usual selection of Brewdog beers, guest ales and bar food, the bar often do events such as kitchen takeovers, meet-the-brewer and tap takeovers and one such event was held on Friday 16th. This time it was the turn of London brewers Anspach and Hobday, and I was fortunate to spend a bit of time with Paul (Anspach), Jack (Hobday), Dylan, Patrick and Dan. Here they are enjoying a beer or 2
I had the chance to have a bit of a chat with them in the early part of the evening and discovered that there had been some experience in the drinks industry at a wine store and a Fullers pub. The impression I got though was that at some point there was a strong impetus to open a brewery and take their home brewing experience to the next level. And so it came to pass that in 2014 brewing operations began underneath the arches in Bermondsay. Since it is home to other breweries and the Maltby Street market I was told it was a bit of a no brainer to choose this for the site. It’s a fairly small operation, just 2.5 barrels per brew, but this does enable them to do a good few brews per week, with Dylan and Paul, the main brewers, managing to get up to 5 done. They do a core range of 7 beers in their distinctively designed bottles, including the IPA, described thus on their website (http://anspachandhobday.com/)
“Our IPAs seem to get better with each batch. Always resinous with a punchy aroma and bitterness. This brew epitomises what we believe an IPA should be: Full of hops, body and with a strength to match, it would have lasted the journey to India but even better have it cold in a glass at its freshest.”
Another core beer is the Stout Porter – “The big-brother of The Porter. Our Stout Porter (8.5%) is a strong (stout) full flavoured, full bodied Porter. A complex interplay between dark fruits, chocolate, coffee & liquorice flavours all derived from our blend of Pale & Roasted malts carefully balanced with British East Kent Golding & American Cascade hops. A beer that goes very well with itself.”
I sampled both of these and can attest to their quality, both really tasty beers with a lot of complexity in the porter. In total the guys brought 14 beers with them and my tastebuds were tingling even before I got to the bar, and they didn’t disappoint. The different Saisons were particularly interesting, especially the Galaxy one that had been aged in Chardonnay barrels to give it a quite dry zingy taste. They also did a collaboration with some of the guys from Brewdog, a Kentucky Common, but I only got to try a small taste of this… I’ll be honest, my recollections of the latter part of the evening are a bit hazy. So all in all it was a great event, and if you are visiting London their brewery is open Friday 17:00-21:30, Saturdays 11:00-17:30 & Sundays 12:00-17:00.