New London breweries continue to appear almost weekly, which makes my attempt to maintain a list of them increasingly futile. This is, however, the sort of problem I relish!
One of the newest kids on the block is Shamblemoose – so new in fact that at the time of writing, they’re still in the process of moving into their brewery. They’re one of two outfits who will be brewing out of the same premises down in Penge, sharing the space with Late Knights.
Last month they launched their first beer down at the Union Tavern – a pretty awesome pub that serves an impressive range of London beer and probably deserves a post all of its own – and I headed down to try a pint or two.
The beer in question is their #4 American Brown Ale; the picture probably says everything there is to say about it. I failed to keep more than half a pint in the glass long enough to take a picture.
Breweries tend to split into ‘traditional’ – brown ales with English hops and CAMRA approval, and ‘funky’ – pale hop bombs where every hop has to begin with a ‘C’ and every pint has to come out of a keg.
Shamblemoose have deliberately taken a middle ground. The beer is named perfectly; it’s a very traditional, approachable Brown Ale with a sweet caramel character perfectly balanced out by a slowly building but not aggressive hop bitterness. Those hops are all American, sweet citrus and floral aromas; but they’re subtle, at the sort of level you’d expect in a Brown Ale.
The balance is perfect and genuinely different, and I take it as a good sign that Shamblemoose have something new to bring to the table. I can’t wait for them to start growing their range, not least because I heard mention of a Smoked Porter – something that requires a real deftness of touch, which they appear to have in spades.