Single-hop beer from the team behind Utobeer and Kernel Brewery, in aid of the trader fund
Borough Market’s sense of community has come to the fore more than ever in the wake of June’s horrific attack. An overwhelming amount of support has been offered to traders whose livelihood was threatened. Fundraising efforts have come in every conceivable form—including from the traders themselves, who’ve supported their colleagues by doing what they do best: producing and selling excellent food and drink. We’ve had koliva from Gourmet Goat, coffee from The Turkish Deli and now, a brand new beer from the team behind Utobeer, in collaboration with respected Bermondsey brewery, The Kernel.
Borough Pale Ale came about—as many great ideas do (and as you’d expect from a group of beer experts)—over a few beers. “I was talking to a friend of mine at a beer event about wanting to create a beer to raise money for the trader support fund,” explains Richie, the retail manager at Utobeer. “It just so happened that Evin O’Riordain, the owner of Kernel Brewery, was sitting right behind me. I swung round with the confidence of a man who should’ve gone home a beer and a half ago, and pitched him the idea. Evin worked in the Market himself for three years, at Neal’s Yard Dairy, and he said he would help in any way he could.”
The wheels were in motion. Having got the go-ahead from Utobeer owners Mike and Richard, Richie contacted designer friend Tina Bradshaw and Tap East’s head brewer, Jonny Park. “I had a basic idea of the beer I wanted to create, but when people like Evin and Jonny are involved, some of the best brewers in the UK, I gave them my thoughts… and let them ignore them,” he laughs. “But it’s turned out even better than I imagined. They’ve created an amazing beer, it tastes incredible.”
One of their prerequisites was that the beer be accessible—“not some 12 per cent stout aged in unicorn intestines, but a basic beer that just tastes really awesome and summery, and appeals to everyone,” he continues. “IPAs and pale ales are really great gateway beers, particularly for people who might like lager but want to try something a little different. Pale ales tend to be made with a little more care than commercial lagers, and with more ingredients, which gives them so much more flavour.”
The hop in this instance is a relatively unknown German variety called monroe, after Marilyn herself. “It’s got really interesting raspberry and summer fruit flavours, as well as orange, syrupy notes, which come through in the beer.” Much like wine grapes, hops are a product of the soil and environment in which they’ve been grown. “It’s characteristically citrusy, whereas an English hop might be more muddy or earthy-tasting.” Unusually for a pale ale, they also used oats “to give it body and a really silky mouthfeel. It just made it really interesting.”
Launched last week on tap at the Rake and in bottle form at the stall, the response has been heartwarmingly positive. “We’ve had a great reaction. The beer industry is a tightknit group and everybody has been very supportive—from all the guys who’ve produced the beer, volunteering their time and expertise, to the reaction we’ve had from the wider beer industry.
Bring people in
“We are doing 240 bottles and 10 kegs—so not a huge amount—but the idea is, the only way you can get it is by coming to the Market. The hope is it will bring people in, and make some much-appreciated money for the fund. So, if you’re worried about having that extra beer at The Rake, just remember—it’s for charity! What better excuse is there than that?”