Some months ago, - not that many - honest, I was given a bottle of Kernel Black IPA by Glyn of Rake fame. He'd brewed it with the Kernel lot and bummed about it being pretty good. It sat in my London fridge for a few weeks then was given a new home in my Manchester one. When I moaned the other day about my lack of free beer, my benefactor rightly enquired along the lines of "Oi Bollocks. What happened to the free beer I gave you then?"
Well as mentioned above, it was safe and sound and yesterday I promised I'd drink it this weekend. Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, as my favourite poet once said, so last night in a rare bout of Saturday night Match of the Day watching, rather than my usual Sunday morning one, as E had gone to bed, I thought, I know, I'll have a couple of beers. So first up to warm up the old taste buds was Hopback Summer Lightning. Now this isn't the greatest cask beer in the world, but it translates into BCA form rather well. It was a good beer and one I'd drink again when the sun shines. Then I opened the Kernel Black IPA. As soon as it went "hiss" I knew I was in for something special. The fresh hop aroma just jumped out. The taste was sublime, the body, mouthfeel and carbonation perfect, the head retention good and the complex, balanced roast and hop flavours a marriage made in heaven. It was also a masterclass in how to use hops well. I was brassed off big style that I only had one. I won't mess you about. This is simply one of the best bottled beers I have ever tasted and I don't give such praise lightly. Oh and if you want full tasting notes - see the Kernel chaps. I was just drinking it.
Naturally this morning I let Glyn know I'd drank and enjoyed it and asked if it was still available. He confirmed it is now a permanent addition to the Kernel range. Now maybe I just touched lucky with this bottle and the length of time I kept it. I don't even know if it is bottle conditioned, but who cares. Next time I'm in that there London, I'm going to Kernel to buy some.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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