I’m a sucker for London-produced craft goods. Whether it’s a baked goods, honey, tea, booze, if it’s independent, I’ll hand over my hard-earned cash. As a regular at the excellent whiskey and cocktail bars, The Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Company, I had heard whisperings that the team behind these excellent venues were venturing into the art of the brew. Two years later, and I’m attending the launch of Umbrella Brewing and their first product, Ginger Beer by Holloway Road, North London.
The team of 5 behind Umbrella Brewing are in fact Umbrella Project, a collective to act as a platform for various ventures. They own and run the two above-mentioned east London bars: The Sun Tavern (who’s recently picked up a whisky award), and the tucked-away gem, Discount Suit Company. They also own Mixology Events, a cocktail school and are preparing to launch Umbrella Radio. It’s clear these gents all have their various strengths and when they come together as a team, they’re making great things happen.
We are guided through their modest two floor brewery by Matt, who appears to be the youngest master brewer ever. He tells us about the process of making ginger beer, as we are handed freshly ice chilled bottles to throw back. Cloudy, fiery, alcoholic, it’s practically good for you! All natural, the only ingredients are malt, hops, shitload of ginger, lemon and demerara sugar. The labels are taken from old Decca vinyl singles covers. Framed originals cover the wall upstairs and it’s clear that one day that will become an exhibition space.
This stuff tastes good mixed too – as it was near sub zero temperatures, the clever gents mixed up a batch of mulled drink: ginger beer, Ban Potin, Apple, lemon. Delicious and warming.
Oh and you can cook with it! Street food favourites, White Men Can’t Jerk, fed the crowd with their sticky wings made with ginger beer glaze.
It’s currently distributed by Nectar and can be found in various independent shops like Ben’s House, Mother Kelly’s, Finks Salt n Sweet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll see this bottle at your local Whole Foods or Selfridges soon. It’s a fun bottle, it’s tasty, and there’s nothing else out there quite like it (come on, who actually drinks Crabbies?)
To see where you can you drink this or buy oneline, visit www.umbrellabrewing.co.uk