Having spent last Sunday unexpectedly (and probably against my better judgement) at the Winter Brew Fest in Hackney, the overwhelming questions emerging were where the hell did One Mile End come from and why are their beers so damn good? So much so that both the Farmhouse Pilsner and Snakecharmer IPA where long dead by the time I got there, despite the fact no one knew who they were until last Friday. The answer to the first one is a brew pub in Whitechapel called The White Hart, which according to my perennial drinking buddy who happened to live around the corner in his student days, used to be a horrible old man's watering hole. The second answer required a little more research...
No beer was more talked about over the weekend and after than this Farmhouse Pilsner, with all those lucky enough to try it speaking in reverend tones about the perfect balance of the strange mix of flavours. It lives up to the hype. Brewed with both lager and saison yeast before being conditioned with grape husks, this is as much of a riot as the ingredients lead you to believe. Hugely refreshing and very bright both on the nose and in the mouth with lots of citrus running around, there is also a hint of funkiness that seeps through later on. It has a remarkable depth and body to a beer that is so obviously lager-y, a very rare bonus that shows the benefits of using both yeasts in a single brew.
But One Mile End is far from being a one trick pony. The Snakecharmer IPA is a consummate example, squaring off sorachi ace and mosaic hops to create a beautiful pale with rich orange flavours that don’t go bashing your taste buds with the full sorachi punch. The Belgian Red Rye is a wonderful balance of rich red malty flavours and the unique peppery rye characteristics that positively explode in the mouth, a very tasty and immensely quaffable beer. And the Russian Imperial Stout is a delight to beyond: supremely smooth with plenty of dark fruit top notes not far removed from a great cheesecake, it is dangerously drinkable for a beer weighing in at 8.5%.
The head brewer might well have cut his teeth up at Redemption Brewing, but it is still astounding how a brewery as young as One Mile End brewing in as small a space as a pub cellar have conjured beer this inventive, consistent and accomplished. There is promise of more too, with barrel-aged versions of the stout and a winter warmer containing orange peel and cinnamon due imminently. What we have here is a brewery that has quickly got knowledgeable people rather excited, and by all accounts with good reason too. Welcome to the new East End boozer.
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