The Kernel London Sour, The Kernel
Added: Monday, September 1st 2014
|Style||Berliner Weisse||ABV 3.2%|
The Kernel London Sour (3.2%)
The inspiration for London Sour is the Berliner Weisse style, described by Napoleon’s troops as “the Champagne of the North”, and it has the tart acidity of the Brut or dry Champagnes found in the Rheims and Épernay region of France. Evin O’ Riordain, founder of The Kernel, has studied the style with great dedication and uses the lactic yeasts cultures that are the hallmark of the style.
The cultures were isolated early in the 20th century by Professor Max Delbrück, one of the founders of the college of brewing known as VLB in Berlin. The cultures have been named after the professor: Lactobacillus delbrücki. Berlin once had scores of wheat beer breweries and the sourness would have been natural, the result of open fermenters and a lack of refrigeration. It’s possible that the style was brought to Berlin by migrants from the Brussels region, famous for its acidic lambic beers made by spontaneous fermentation.
The hallmarks of Berliner Weisse are a low level of alcohol and hop bitterness and such a mouth-puckering acidity that the beers are usually served with fruit syrup in Berlin bars: The Kernel has a raspberry version of this beer. London Sour is brewed with Low Colour Maris Otter malt (65%) and 35% wheat malt. The copper is soured with the lactobacillus culture then fermented with a Belgian Saison strain, which makes the resulting beer a hybrid Berlin/Belgian beer.
It has a distinctive lemon and lime aroma with juicy malt, followed by a tangy palate dominated by creamy malt and tart fruit, with a musty hint from the yeast that brewers call horse blanket. The finish is acidic, with a continuing tart citrus note and creamy malt. It’s wonderfully refreshing and its complex character lingers despite the low strength.
For a list of stockists, visit the brewery website: www.thekernelbrewery.com. The Kernel is open every Saturday 9am-2pm for tours, where the beer can be bought: Arch 11, Dockley Road Industrial Estate, London SE16 3SF; 020 7231 4516. The beer can be bought online at www.eebria.com £2.75 a bottle.