Pressure Drop Brewing, Wu gang chops the tree
There are those that like to describe the explosive growth of London's beer scene as a revolution. We prefer to think of it as an evolution (does all this evolving and revolving remind you of one of our favourite Alan Partridge sketches?!) - a niche that experienced a shift in momentum that in turn is now gradually dragging it over into the mainstream. East London's Pressure Drop could be described quiet revolutionaries though, never making a great deal of noise themselves, instead letting their world class beer do the talking for them.
We say East London. That’s where the brewery was born, in a compact railway arch, just minutes from Hackney's bustling Mare Street. Earlier this year they relocated a little further North, to a brand new 20-BBL facility plus taproom in Tottenham, right next door to the well-established Beavertown Brewery. This quadrupled their capacity and laid out their bold ambitions for all to see.
We, amongst many others, were relieved to see production finally increase, being of the opinion that Pressure Drop compose some of the most forward-thinking beer in the capital. Beer such as the scintillatingly juicy Pale Fire, the dark and bitter Street Porter and then there is Stokey Brown - a wonderful Brown Ale that is an accomplished nod to historical London recipes.
Wu Gang Chops The Tree is perhaps the beer they have become best known for, and not just because of the wonderful name. Pressure Drop brewer and co-founder Ben Freeman (above) explains how it came about. “We brewed a version of this beer the third time we ever brewed together on our pilot brew kit in 2012. The idea was to combine the flavours of wheat beer; clove, bread and banana, with some foraged herbs to create a beer that would go perfectly with roast chicken. The recipe has remained largely unchanged since those early days and while it does go well with chicken, we’ve found that this is probably our most versatile food pairing beer.”
In Chinese mythology, Wu Gang was banished to the moon to cut down a fragrant osmanthus tree, but before he could return home, the tree magically regrows. The Wu Gang story refers to a task that can never be completed and endless toil.
Ben is pretty humble when he's asked about the toil that has gone into his business and the influence they’ve had on the London brewing community. "We're just a few guys who wanted to learn about beer, then make some beer and hopefully, sell some beer. Anything else is a bonus really." Freeman says, "We aren't really trying to stand out from the crowd, but I guess our unofficial mantra is "keep it simple"."
It could be argued that actually Freeman and his colleagues at Pressure Drop have done anything but. The hallmarks of their beers are often bright, intense flavours from American or Antipodean hops and often they are unashamedly hazy in appearance. This is something they've on occasion taken criticism for, but it hasn't dented this brewery's confidence and flair for creating great beer one bit.