London Beer Factory, Beyond the Pale
Situated in the South London area of Gypsy Hill, The London Beer Factory was founded in early 2014 by brothers Ed and Sim Cotton. Ed had previously spent time selling wine in Australia before seeing the error of his ways and swapping simple fermented grape juice for the complexity of hops, malts and yeast with his home brewing brother. Sim had also tried having a proper job (in accountancy) but a regular pay-cheque couldn’t compete with beer.
Their dad is to blame for the interest in beer (and rugby). Well, that’s according to former turkey farmer Neil Pickford who has been at the brewery since the early days and has been integral to their formidable growth to date. This also explains their brewery taproom and, more recently, a rooftop bar in Peckham. “A place to show some rugby games and get some punters in.” as Neil succinctly puts it. There's also a 'beer cab'. No really.
The London Beer Factory really want you to socialise and it’s clearly paying off. With a range of five core beers and a smaller, limited, ’pilot’ range they are producing upwards of over twenty-thousand litres (of beer) a week. The beers continue to be diverse and flavoursome. At one point over the summer, they had 17 different beers on tap, in bottles or in cans. No wonder that they’ve got a team of five brewers working.
The London Beer Factory were also pioneers of the ‘360 can’ in the UK and second in Europe having been pipped to the post by Ægir from Norway. This can was introduced by the Sly Fox Brewing Co. from Pennsylvania to allow people to drink in the outdoors without any pesky breakable bottles or glasses. Even if you aren’t the outdoors type you may find yourself somewhere without a glass. Neil adds, “If you have to drink beer from a normal can then you won’t get the full experience. If you can’t have a glass then you want the closest thing. Something that you can get your nose into.”
This week’s offering was the fourth beer to form part of The London Beer Factory’s core range having started its life as a summertime special. Originally it was a homage to the Mosaic hop and it provided quite popular. “We drank a hell of a lot of it” concedes Neil, referring to the staff at the brewery. We guess that’s a good enough reason to make it again.
In its current form, the alcohol has been upped a touch to 4.2% ABV. Enough to give the beer some body but not so much that it has lost any of the original ‘session-able’ qualities. The addition of Magnum and Cascade hops provide additional layers of aroma and taste to the distinctive Mosaic. The result is a balanced and drinkable modern pale ale, unfiltered and unpasteurised. And the name, Beyond the Pale, aside from the obvious wordplay refers to the English rule of the land around Dublin in the middle ages. To go beyond the pale was to venture outside of this area, the fences and ditches that surrounded it and risk an encounter with some of the locals. To be outside your comfort zone. We’ll leave the final words to Neil.
“We wanted the beer to push the idea people’s view of a traditional British pale ale. To go into the unknown and play around with flavours.”