Camden Town Brewery, IHL
Jasper Cuppaidge arrived in the UK on a gap year 15 years ago. After missing his flight home he got a job collecting dirty glasses in a London boozer. After working his way to the top there he decided to buy the Horseshoe in Hampstead, where he started brewing in the basement, recreating the beers once brewed by his family in Rockhampton, Australia.
“In 2010, using the profits from the Horseshoe and grabbing together a few of my bar owner friends, we set up Camden Town Brewery” explains Jasper.
“We leased some space underneath the railway arches between Camden and Kentish Town Tube station. We spent 6 months converting seven old Victorian railway arches and installed a beautiful modern brewery. It was a massive engineering process and I wanted to make sure everything was right. I risked everything.”
“Our aim was to make lager that people loved. We decided to limit ourselves to a narrow range of beers and concentrate on getting those just right. We became obsessed with fine-tuning every element of the process to make the beers the best they could possibly be. When you’re brewing lager, there’s nowhere to hide.”
They certainly haven’t needed to hide. Since selling their first beer in 2010, Camden Town Brewery have become a celebrated leading light of the London craft beer scene.
Whilst they are best known for their Hells Lager, none of their beers have caught the eye like their India Hells Lager (IHL); a Lager/IPA hybrid launched to much fanfare in 2014.
London based beer blogging supremo Matt Curtis describes it more eloquently than we ever could… “To call a beer a game changer is a bold thing to say in this day and age. You'd think that hop forward beers could no longer get any better, that they'd reached their evolutionary peak and well, I'd question that you'd be wrong. IHL is so clean that it positively sparkles and the flavours are in ultra high definition. So detailed and yet you can pick them out of the air like a ninja catches cherry blossom between his index and middle finger. Then there's that dryness, IHL is a lager through and through, completely unfiltered and unpasteurised which gives it a quality it shares with the world’s best pilsners, you just can't seem to stop drinking it. It is unlike other hoppy beers because it doesn't become cloying and overwhelm your palate. IHL tastes like a world class IPA but drinks like a world class lager”
At the beginning of this year Camden Town launched their ‘Hells Raiser’ crowdfunding campaign. They raised £2.8 million from their fans which will go towards a new custom-built brewery in North London.
That’s sure to help them keep growing and rubbing shoulders with the craft beer elite. The question is, will they ever brew a beer better than IHL. They’ll sure keep on trying.