Pontoon by Villages Brewery
South Pacific Red Ale, 4.3%
A beautifully balanced red ale. Notes of citrus and orange peel build on a traditional malt base for a cracking modern take on the style.
The live tasting of this beer was on 10th October 2019 #BeerBods
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If you come out of London Bridge station and head south-east you'll soon hit the Bermondsey Beer Mile, where some of the nation's favourite breweries and taprooms gather in the arches beneath the railway tracks. We don’t want you to stop there though.
Keep going in the same direction beyond the end of the Mile and, soon enough, you will find yourself in Deptford. Ah, Deptford. It's not quite the South Pacific. No tropical, palm-fringed beaches here. Sandwiched between Greenwich and Blackheath, this is another of those bits of London (like Peckham or Hackney, perhaps) that is having a bit of a resurgence.
And, like Peckham and Hackney, it is home to some pretty good beer to help things along. Since opening in 2016, Villages brewery has been busy growing a reputation for itself in this corner of our capital with its solid core range of sessionable beers produced alongside experimental and seasonal brews. The brewery is named after its founders, Archie and Louis Village, described by one local beer retailer as "officially the nicest brothers in brewing".
They arrived at brewing after jobs involving carpentry, graphic design and travel journalism. Both brothers eventually worked in breweries before they set up their own. (Archie, who has a masters in brewing and distilling, was head brewer at London Beer Factory for a while.) Now, working together, they create beers that you'll spot on bottle shop shelves and pump clips all over London, all sporting gnomic-sounding names like Whistle, Rodeo, Rafiki and Zinan.
The Villages brothers create distinctive artwork for their labels with their artist friend Max Parsons. Archie and Louis begin by describing the beer's flavours and aromas, and how drinking it makes them feel. Max then creates an abstract artwork to reflect that feeling.
Pontoon is a 4.3% red ale packed with toffee and caramel malt notes with tropical fruity New Zealand hops layered on top (which explains the 'South Pacific' description). Waimea and Rakau hops give this beer aromas of tangerine, citrus, tropical fruit, passionfruit and pine needles. These are backed up with Magnum hop’s resinous pine bitterness to balance out the sweet malt.
Serve this chilled to around 10°C for maximum enjoyment. It should pair well with plenty of foods, but a hot fresh pizza would be particularly good.