It’s fair to say that the majority of my beer drinking is done at home – in keeping, I imagine, with the majority of beer drinkers.
Although the true aficionados will tell you that beer is at its best fresh from the cask (or keg, depending on which side of the CAMRA fence they sit) the simple fact is that I spend more evenings at home than in the pub, and for some bizarre reason Mrs Drinks wont let me have a beer tap in the living room.
Redemption is one of my favourite London breweries. One of the early stars of the explosion of brewing in the capital, the sight of one of their pump clips always makes a pub more enticing.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to drink their beers nearly as often as I would like, because they were a cask-only outfit and, as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t get to the pub nearly often enough. This is, I’m happy to say, is no longer a problem.
Yes, finally, Redemption in a bottle! It’s been a long time coming, but finally I can enjoy one of my favourite breweries in the comfort of my own home. For now, the bottled range is limited to these three, but I’m told the mighty Trinity – easily the best 3.0% ABV beer out there – will be putting in a bottled appearance later this year.
It’s worth pointing out that these are full 500ml bottles. I mention this, because when I first saw the pictures, my immediate thought because of the shape was “oh dear, why have they used 330ml bottles?”.
Hopspur is a 4.5% ABV amber ale, named with a nod to Redemption’s Tottenham home. It’s quite an orangey-amber, with little head and fairly low carbonation.
The nose is full of soft brown sugar, gentle red fruit with some lighter grapefruit and floral tones dancing underneath.
In the mouth, it’s initially sweet with a touch of digestive biscuit and a light, draft-like flatness. A grapefruit acidity quickly comes in, along with a hint of resinous hops which combine to give a very fresh, solid bitter background. The finish is dry and leaves you reaching for more. It’s a cracking, light and slightly citrussy bitter that goes down very easily – 3.5 stars.
Fellowship is a magnificent 5.1% London Porter. It’s a deep, dark reddish-brown beer, with very little head in evidence.
The nose has lots of roasted character – toasted barley, dark roasted coffee and just an edge of sweet, slightly burnt sugar. There are hints of dark fruit and even a touch of liquorice in the background.
It’s smooth in the mouth; a caramel sweetness that is perfectly balanced by a deep, burnt bitterness. There’s a faint blackcurrant fruit flavour, and cold coffee notes lurking underneath. It delivers just the right dryness in the finish, and remains one of my favourite porters – 4.5 stars.
Lastly, Big Chief is a 5.5% US-style IPA. Actually, “US-style” probably isn’t the right term, as it’s chock full of New Zealand hops but the point is, this is a modern New World IPA rather than the traditional British style.
It’s a pale amber colour, with the characteristic low carbonation leaving it slightly flat.
The nose is full of floral hops, honey, tangerines and more tropical fruit. When I say “full”, I’m not kidding – just opening the bottle is like walking into a room made of hops wearing a hop suit.
Initially fudge sweet in the mouth, the powerful hops create a creeping, slightly resinous bitterness – but for all the flavours filling your mouth, that bitterness never becomes heavy. There’s honey and pineapple, little touches of sweet citrus and a suggestion of more exotic fruit.
This is a properly fantastic IPA that is destined to have a permanent home in my beer cupboard, and should have in yours too – 5 stars.
Overall, I think Redemption have done a pretty solid job of putting their beer into take-home form. The carbonation is perhaps over-gentle for some, but I actually rather like the ‘draft’ feel it gives the beer. The bottles look smart and distinctive and certainly stand out on the shelf.
I’ll definitely be pre-ordering a case or two of Trinity for the summer!
Many thanks to Andy for these sample bottles.