Tryanuary I – The Recommendations
The fashionable new fad to start 2015 appears to be Tryanuary, a simple but quite neat idea to get everyone trying and then recommending via the hashtag independent breweries, beers, bars and bottle shops throughout the month of January. Much like its opposite Dry January, there is a charity element to it with fundraising and donating ideas as well as incentives from the supporting breweries and shops. So at the risk of sounding like I am jumping on the bandwagon, I am jumping on the bandwagon. In this the first part I will recommend one in each category that I think are worthy of people seeking out, and at the end of the month I will talk about a new set of four that I consequently found through this campaign.
Bar: The Hope, Carshalton – I am incredibly lucky to call this gem my local. It might be hidden away in a part of south west London even most Londoners haven't heard of, but this customer-owned pub is a mecca for those who know. The Hope is cosy and warm, filled with knowledgeable staff and friendly regulars, with a little garden out back beyond which we have the marquee that hosts monthly beer festivals – yup, monthly! A (quickly) rotating selection of three key kegs and six cask pumps always offer a superb range of all styles of beer from some of the best British brewers including Magic Rock, Siren, By The Horns, Arbor, Titanic, Brodies, Redemption, Ilkley, Beavertown... the list goes on and on and on, as is demonstrated by the fact there is barely a blank surface left for any more display clips to go up. And we have Pubcat.
Beer: Snakecharmer IPA, One Mile End – This brand new brewery was an amazing find at the end of last year, buried under a Whitechapel pub that reliable sources inform me used to be utterly horrible. Amongst an already impressive selection of beers they have produced in their short life, Snakecharmer IPA is a real treat. Primarily hopped with sorachi ace to give those big tropical flavours of coconut, pineapple and lychee, it is also moderated with mosaic to give a balance that many other examples don't. Rather than just being an IPA for sorachi-philes, this is a novel approach for IPA fans.
Bottle Shop: We Brought Beer, Balham – Opened last summer in the rather pleasant outpost of Balham, We Brought Beer bring a frankly dizzying array of bottled beers and home-brewing supplies to cater for every kind of craft beer lover. Primarily focused on London breweries, there are still plenty of choices from both the rest of the UK and all over the world. Throw in frequent free beer tasting evenings and a selection of kegged beers for growler takeaways means this place is well worth visiting, with the promise of an exciting new discovery in every corner.
Brewery: The Wild Beer Co. – Trying to choose just one for this article proved to be torturously difficult, but I finally plumped for Somerset's finest, The Wild Beer Co. Consistently one of this country's most inventive and tasty breweries, the emphasis is unsurprisingly on wild beers. And whilst these are hugely diverse, from the sweet sour Redwood to the bretted IPA Evolver, you ignore their darker beers at your peril. Whether it is the peanut butter milk stout Yankee Sandwich (as good as it sounds) or the rich barrel-aged old ale Modus Operandi, it is rare to even find a bland beer from here, let alone a bad one.
So there you have it, my recommendations for something new to try this month. Feel free to let me know below or over at @_beer_geek_ if you have any Tryanuary tips for me too, the more the merrier.
The organisers can be found on Twitter at @tryanuary, and more info can be found on their website.