Tottenham is certainly becoming the new hotspot for London breweries with a collection beginning to rival that of Bermondsey. Beavertown led the way, followed last year by One Mile End and Redemption; now Pressure Drop has announced that they are to join them over the summer. Recent months have also seen Affinity Brew Co open their doors, and the latest addition to the burgeoning collection is the Italian-bred Brewheadz. After many long months and sleepless nights (all four share a flat, there is a rotation as to who ends up on the floor) of planning, costing, buying and fitting, their first three beers are starting to find their way out into the big bad world to be judged and scrutinised mercilessly by those of us who pretend to know what we are talking about.
Brewing on a smart four barrel kit on an industrial estate behind Tottenham Hale station, plans are already afoot to open a small brewery tap on Saturdays to try and capture the growing crowds making the pilgrimage north. It has been five months since they moved in, and three since the first brew day, but things already look promising for the Brewheadz boys; showcases at a couple of BrewDog bars plus outlets through Ales By Mail and Craft Beer Co proves they are turning heads even at this early stage.
So what about the beers? Thanks to Vincenzo I was able to try both first and second batches of all three, allowing me to get an insight as to how they are still tweaking recipes as they step up from home brewing to commercial. We start off with the American pale ale Electric Beat, a wonderfully drinkable balance of refreshing bitterness up front and tropical fruits, particularly mango and peach, carrying on long after the initial hit. The more recent brew has a slightly sharper, more pronounced bitterness with a little more body behind it. Weighing in at 5.4%, it certainly doesn't come across as that big, and should pair beautifully with a hot lazy afternoon.
Expectations for their red rye IPA Fired Up Donkey were rather high, as friends who know my tastes told me I was going to love it. They were not wrong. The nose is full of stone fruits, with that distinctive peppery undertone of the rye malt (ten percent of the bill here) promising all manner of delights. Again the tang from the bittering hops is there at the front, but not overly done; this gives way to exactly what a rye beer should be – IPA hoppiness with that distinctive spiciness shining through. As before, the latest incarnation has a thicker, creamier body which serves to highlight the pepper tones and leaves the beer with a hugely satisfying, rounded quality that whole-heartedly falls into the eminently quaffable category.
My personal favourite though is the Kitchen Porter. On the stronger end of the porter scale, it is luxuriously smooth and enchantingly deep with a wealth of chocolate notes bringing a large smile to my face (and all this achieved without the addition of lactose sugars). An impressive length means that each sip not only coats the whole of the palate, but lasts well down the back of the throat. I am bowled over with what Brewheadz have managed to accomplish in such a short space of time, and is a testament to the thought and preparation they put in before anything was done; in an age where there are so many new breweries springing up, it is so very easy for any them to be doomed immediately if they don't make a good first impression. Colour me very impressed.