By The Horns

Having explored the paradise that is the Denver beer scene, I figured it was time to take a good look at one closer to home. A lot has been made in the explosion of brewers in London in recent years, much like in Colorado in the past, similarly creating a close-knit and friendly community with clusters of sites in some unusual neighbourhoods. A half hour trip on the South London loop brings me to Haydons Road and the excellent By The Horns brewery. Not entirely a stranger to me – Lambeth Walk and Gift Of The Gab both impressing in the past – it seems as good as place as any to start assessing the current London landscape.

Built upon a foundation of very English beers, By The Horns have now been around long enough (three years to be exact) to expand their repertoire with confidence. The taproom and brewery is little more than a lot in an industrial estate opposite the dogs track, but it is a tiny mecca well worth a visit as they serve a good range of beers on both cask (an unfortunate rarity in the craft beer scene) and keg, as well as running tours and selling bottles in a very neat little operation. Not content with bucking just one trend with cask ales, the other noticeable difference is the ABV of the beers; whereas most are heading into 7%+ territory on a regular basis, the beers here are in the much easier 3-6% range.

The standout beer today has most certainly been, rather fittingly, their ode to the World Cup, Samba King. A rye blonde ale brewed with Brazilian limes and lemongrass, with the added bonus of sorachi ace hops meaning this is a riot of colourful flavours. A very smooth and creamy pale ale with strong citrus tones, carefully balanced by a subtle spiciness in an unusual and exciting mixture that is as refreshing as it is surprising. The limited edition Amber Hop on cask is also very satisfying as it combines an upfront hoppiness with a good malt depth. Sour To The People on the other hand has a better name than taste; a red sour, it lacks the punch that fans of the style often demand with only a hint of that strange funkiness.

By The Horns is certainly a promising start to this more in-depth insight into London's growing population of brewers. Their flavoursome, drinkable beers in a cute taproom vaguely reachable by public transport shows it can be done in almost any odd space. Combining the ideals and expectations of the craft beer revolution with a traditional approach has given us a hidden jewel south of the river.

Last updated: 06/08/2018 19:01:32

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