Gipsy Hill, Beatnik
A mix of all-US hops and a stripped back malt base.
The idea to start Gipsy Hill Brewing Company was hatched in 2013 by Charlie Shaw and Sam McMeekin. They’d been introduced to each other by a mutual friend who was aware that they both had daydreams of building their own breweries.
They must have hit it off because, after a few beers in The Rake*, a plan was hatched. They would sack their day jobs, start new lives as brewers and make great ‘dad beers’. That is, both Charlie and Sam were relatively new parents and wanted to make the sort of flavourful, modest strength, beers that they could enjoy and still be capable of responsible parenting duties.
By the spring of 2014 they had leased a unit in their South London neighbourhood and brought in Simon Wood to be their head brewer. Within a few busy months the locals were drinking Southpaw, Hepcat and this week’s beer, Beatnik.
This is their flagship pale ale, a mix of all-US hops and a stripped back malt base. A deliberate attempt to demonstrate how much flavour you can get in an unfashionably traditional strength beer. The result is a beer that can best be described as ‘inclusive’, a beer that is as at home in a dimpled pint mug as it is in a fancy craft beer glass.
This feeling of inclusivity is no accident. From their socially and physically accessible taproom to their community tap where the proceeds from the beer poured from there helps support local charities or projects. There is a strong community ethos at Gipsy Hill.
Even their artwork (by local artist and illustrator Marcus Reed) that is prominent on the cans and pump clips depicts members of the brewing team, bar staff and extended friends and family. This is a really nice way of making us all feel a bit closer to the brewery by knowing a bit more about the people who work there.
This commitment to not doing things by halves can also be seen in their beer. This year has seen Gipsy Hill turn their innovation towards their beer range with between four and ten new beers being released each month. This has been a really big undertaking but has resulted in some impressive collaborations and diverse beers from delicate sours to some decidedly un-dad beer like offerings such as their triple IPA. Find out more about what’s in store next over on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
* An infamous South London craft beer boozer. Definitely worth a visit if you are in London town.
Images are all taken by Emma Guscott