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Anspach & Hobday, Smoked Brown

Youngsters Paul Anspach and Jack Hobday were studying at London University when they started home-brewing back in 2011.

It was, however, only after they had accosted celebrity wine supremo Oz Clarke and thrust their home-brewed Porter into his hands that they realised they were on to something good. Oz loved it. That gave them the kick up the bum they needed to make a proper crack at it. The only problem being that since graduating they still didn’t have two pennies to rub together.

They turned to Kickstarter with the shonkiest of videos and raised a respectable five grand to fund some professional brewing kit. When we say “professional”, we mean it in the loosest terms. It was still tiny. They plonked their 1 barrel pilot brewing kit in an empty corner of Bullfinch Brewery, nestled under a railway arch on Druid Street in South East London and got to work.

The core range includes three stunning Porters (one of which recently won Gold at the International Beer Challenge), an IPA, a Pale Ale and this week’s beer, The Smoked Brown. Gentrified pigeons wearing monocles and bowler hats on the label leave us in no doubt that these beers are inspired by the illustrious brewing heritage of London.

The Smoked Brown is inspired by an era when malted barley was kilned over fire giving the beers of Britain a smokier character. This modern tribute uses Rauch-malt fired over beechwood in Bamberg, Germany – home to Rauchbier. Aged on oak this complex brown ale is the perfect accompaniment for Strong Cheese and meats.

Anspach & Hobday have joined the likes of Kernel, Partizan, Brew by Numbers, and Fourpure at the heart of the vibrant Bermondsey beer scene. From midday until late on a Saturday the brewery is open to the public and more often than not is packed full of local punters sampling the kind of beers that resulted in London becoming the brewing capital of the world. When we first met Paul in 2013 he told us of his dream to create “a cathedral of beer” in South East London. You know what? They’re not far off achieving that.

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