Beavertown quietly slid on to the London brewing scene some when last year and those in the know tried to keep the secret to themselves. Such a big secret is hard to keep however and the brewery are now so big they've had to vacate their original brew pub home (apparently still well worth a visit) and in to purpose built premises. Their beers are now available up and down the country and from all the "usual suspects" beer retailers.
My first encounter with Logan's wares was via smog rocket, a sublime smoked stout and an experimental "alpha series" brew - Gamma Ray which was so successful it made the transition to core beer. Its a typical American pale ale, but done well with plenty of sticky malt and resinous hops, slipping down far too easily for something at 5.4%. A recent bottle via Ales By Mail Best of London case confirmed its still in fine fettle.
Other core range beers include 8 ball, which includes all the best rye spiciness without the meaty/ feety notes you can sometimes get with these beers and Black Betty is quite simply one of the best black IPAs in the UK (if not the world if you ask RateBeer).
But where Beavertown often excels is in their experimental beers. Bloody 'Ell Blood Orange IPA on keg in Edinburgh this summer was fantastic, an exposition of an orange, with peel, juice and pith all the way through. A bottle I kept back has aged well, and despite aging is still balanced but most of that fresh orange immediacy has dissipated. Fngers crossed they'll brew a fresh batch next year.
I say "often" excels because I had a couple of disappointing beers this weekend. Uncle Joe's Russian Kvass, which had already received mixed reviews was unfortunately battery acid and paper thin - managed just a few sips.
Stingy jack a pumpkin beer that many say has altered their perceptions of the much maligned style also seemed to have acquired an acidic edge and was still too vegetal for my tastes. The spicing was pitched at the right level however and had less of the overt sweetness some in the style can have.
Better though was Hara Kiri, their dark saison.Plenty of lime sherbet, grapefruit and dark coffee, I missed the Belgian Esters here finding it closer to a well-hopped stout but enjoyable nevertheless. Dark Matter, a Brewdog Collaboration was an interesting soured stout with umami soy and roast barley notes alongside a refreshing tartness which makes me wonder if that's how old ales would have originally tasted.
Saving the biggest beer for last I'm reassured that Beavertown have still got it as Heavy Water hammers the palate with all of its 9%. Rich meaty malt, sweet molasses and chocolate, vanilla and leather assault the nostrils. To taste there's milky coffee, rich and smooth, roast barley, leather, tobacco, ersatz coffee, low carbonation. This one comes highly recommended, though I'd perhaps have liked more bitterness to balance the sweetness.