For my birthday last year, my fiancée surprised me with a tour of Camden Town Brewery which is located in the lively and trendy Camden area of North West London. For various different reasons, it took many months before I finally got around to taking the tour, but last Saturday, my good friend Peter and I made the trip out to trendy Camden to see for ourselves the magic that goes on inside the fermentation tanks. If you know your London beers, you may already be familiar with Camden Town; it is appearing in more and more pubs not just in London, but apparently overseas too, as far afield as Sweden.
I’ve been on a couple of brewery tours and on first impression, Camden Town Brewery is on the smaller end of the scale as breweries go. However, whatever it may lack in size, it certainly makes up for in character – that is, both the brewery itself and also the staff working there.
A Liquid Tour
What’s the one thing that tops talking about beer? Why drinking beer of course! So what better way to learn about beer than to sample it while you listen! Right throughout the tour, our super-enthusiastic and very knowledgeable guide invited us to try the different brews on offer, from Camden Hells to Camden Pale to Camden IHL.
Inside the brewery
For a beer lover, stepping inside a working brewery is a bit like stepping inside Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. OK, you won’t find oompa loompas tending to a giant river of beer (what a thought, eh?). You will however, often find equally eccentric people who are just as passionate about their craft. The plaque below says it all……
The Secret Ingredient?
After watching the fermentation tanks in action, it was intriguing to hear about the efforts the brewery goes to just to secure the right hops, yeast and other ingredients to make the beer taste great.
And the secret ingredient according to our guide…? London water! That’s right, the key to a great beer is apparently flowing right through the city from Gloucestershire to the Thames Estuary.
More beer tasting!
After our tour finished, we were invited to take part in some further beer tasting. Five different brews, each with their own quirks. However, that warrants a blog post of its own which will follow very soon!