The Kernel Brewery - hitting home run, after home run

There are a lot of things I like about Kernel. I like that they are a genuinely tiny artisan craft brewer, I like that their bottles look put together by hand and that there is a distinct lack of branding (or very clever minimalistic/naturalistic branding perhaps), and I like that they seem to just produce a beer then sell it, with little fanfare and generally in small batches.

But all of that is completely trivial compared to what the beer inside the bottle tastes like, and the thing about Kernel is that, on top of the aforementioned merits, the beer inside the bottle is consistently, almost unexplainably brilliant. The Kernel beers I've tried, such as their awesome Black IPA, have ranged from very good to jesus-christ-I-want-to-drink-this-forever amazing.

At the end of a recent weekend trip to London I was in The Euston Tap having a few drinks before getting my train back to Leeds and wanted a bottle to take and drink on my way home, something Imperial Stout-like, a sipper for the long journey. I didn't fancy spending a small fortune on a big beer from America so the ever helpful barman reccommended the Kernel Export Porter, which he told me weighed in at 8.5% although on closer inspection it was actually 6.5%, but that doesn't really matter.

Now, I've Googled Kernel Export India Porter and I can only find mention of a 5.7% version, whereas the one I tried stated an abv of 6.5%, which because of Kernels habit of brewing different batches and versions of beers I'm going to assume is correct. Not sure whether it's still available or not, but I'm sure if they've got another 'Export India Porter' available it will also be great, so give that a try.

NB - 'Export India Porter' might sound like a weird beer style but actually Porter was being exported to India from Britain around the same time we were sending over super-hopped pale ales (not yet called 'India Pale Ales') for the famously thirsty British Raj. Pete Brown's book 'Hops and Glory' has loads of great info about this and is a genuinely interesting and exciting read, part travel book, part historical beer quest, and interspersed with warm humour, if you're interested in beer then it's a book you have to read.


Kernel Export India Porter 6.5%

This pours more like a stout than a porter, with a thick looking body and tight off white head. There's a big fruity aroma of stewed orange and citrus, with a faint background milk chocolate.

In the taste there's a definate chocolate-orange flavour fom the combination of juicy, fruity, dry hops and sweet chocolate malt. A little light smokiness and roasted malt, no coffee as such but there's a roasted richness in the background which does hint towards it. Also a light herbyness, almost like mint.

The mouthfeel is actually not too full bodied, with a fairly light mouthfeel which suits it's porter title, and as is the norm for Kernel there's perfect, mouth filling, soft carbonation.

There's a nice balance between sweet, savoury, juicy, bitter, which creates a really nourishing tasting beer. It tastes good for you somehow, with a lovely freshness.

Another home run from Kernel. These guys have seriously raised the bar.


p.s. YES that is a plastic cup, I know I know, after the hoo hah I made about
drinking from the right glass, but I was on the train and needs must I'm afraid.

3 comments:

  1. Cheer Neil. There's also an interesting post about The Kernel here;
    http://thebeerbunker.blogspot.com/2011/06/brew-day-with-kernel.html

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  2. Thanks for the link mark, good to see a bit on the brewing process.

    I've got a few more kernel beers ready to try, including the coffee ipa which looks pretty awesome, so will post if any are particularly good. The problem with kernel is I love every beer i try by them, but dont want to flood the blog with reviews on kernel!

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  3. That's the problem of any blog that writes about the Kernel - where do you stop? I've had fifteen different beers from there, and they have all been tremendous. I've had to stop myself from writing about them, for a bit of balance. Easily the best UK brewer at the moment?

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