Five Points Brewery

Five Points Brewery

Ed Mason runs two successful pubs both listed in CAMRA's Good Beer guide - the Duke of Wellington on the Balls Pond Rd (although he has now sold the lease to this pub) and Whitelocks in Leeds. As if that was not enough, he has now stepped into the world of brewing as one of the latest members of London's burgeoning number of brewers. It won't come as a surprise to followers of that scene that the brewery is in Hackney, only a short stroll from The Cock, home of Howling Hops brewery.

In this venture, Ed is joined by brewer Greg Hobbs, formerly of East London Brewing Co. and the two of them entertained a large group of CAMRA members to the first official brewery visit in June. The brewery is located in a large railway arch virtually underneath Hackney Downs station, giving plenty of space for operations. However, being previously a garage for black cabs, the first job was an extensive deep clean to get the place fit for purpose.

The brewing kit was fitted in February and the first brew emerged in March and they currently describe themselves as being in a trial phase with all brews called trial brews. So far, they are up to brew five on their Pale Ale, developing recipes and fine tweaking the recipe using a 70 litre pilot kit to experiment on before moving onto the 10 barrel brew plant.

The full launch of the beers should follow in July but the CAMRA group was given the chance to sample the Pale Ale at the brewery and the two other beers - Hook Island Red and Railway Porter - at The Cock.

Pale Ale is a 4.4% beer described as a "fresh, aromatic pale ale". It is brewed using Maris Otter plus a host of other malted barleys - Munich, pale, caramalt and wheat malt. The hops are all American - Amarillo, Centennial and Citra giving fruity notes and a pronounced and lingering bitter flavour.

The Red also takes Maris Otter is its base but uses a smaller proportion and is augmented by rye malts to create a red ale with Chinook, Columbus and Simcoe hops. At 6%, it is a powerful beer to be treated with respect. There are treacle notes balanced by a dry bitterness and a creamy mouthfeel.

The Porter - a style our new London brewers seem very keen on recreating - also starts with Maris Otter but also uses Munich malt and brown malts and is hopped with East Kent Goldings. This result in a dark beer with aromas of chocolate and hints of caramel and tangy fruit on the palate.

All the beers are available in cask, bottle (the full range can currently be found at The Duke of Wellington) and keg. The interesting thing about the bottles and kegs is that the beer is neither filtered nor pasteurised. With the latter, the beer is placed into a plastic bag within the keg and then either carbon dioxide or compressed air is applied to the outside of the bag to propel it to the bar. This means that the gas does not come into contact with the beer.

Currently they are brewing two times a week which, considering they are still in their trial phase, already demonstrates a clear customer interest in the beers. For more information go to www.fivepointsbrewing.co.uk

John Cryne