Orbit Beers, Nico
After a quarter of a century working 9 to 5, Robert Middleton packed it all in so that he could travel Europe in an old Dutch VW Campervan called Brian. On his return he decided travelling and writing was more fun than working in the pensions industry. Just a bit.
It was an excellent book called Raw Spirit about distilleries in Scotland that inspired Robert to travel the length and breadth of the same country to chart the booming craft beer industry. He even wrote his own book about it. Learning so much about beer and brewing led him to set up Orbit Beers. Quite the journey that.
Founded in 2014, Orbit Beers were (by our count) the eighth brewery in a 2 mile radius, joining the like of Kernel, Brew by Numbers, Fourpure and others in the brewing hotbed that is South East London. Orbit Beers are further evidence that there isn’t a ‘one in, one out’ policy in brewing in that neck of the woods. Long may that continue.
That’s not to say Orbit don’t need to differentiate themselves or add something a little bit different to the mix in order to be successful, not to mention respected, among their peers.
It’s their take on rare German beer styles that Orbit are getting a reputation for. They brew these mainly because that’s what head brewer Mario enjoys drinking most. As good a reason as any.
The Kölsch, which is what you have in your hands (Orbit Beers can’t call it that because the term can only be used by breweries within the city of Cologne/Köln, where the style originates from), is a kind of German lager and pale ale hybrid. It is brewed using a top-fermenting yeast, like ale, but is then cold-fermented like lager. It’s super pale, bready sweet with a dry, grassy, bitter finish. Outrageously drinkable.
You may have noticed the subtle references to music in the Orbit range. From the 'Hi-Fidelity Brewing' strapline to the vinyl records on the label and bottle cap.
The South East London brewing scene is certainly getting crowded. But there was always going to be room for a brewery making awesome German beers inspired by music and travel.