Naming a beer is more difficult than you may imagine. After days of brainstorming (“ShortListberg?” “Hop Idol?”), we came up with the winner: ShortList Gold (more in tribute to the Olympics than Spandau Ballet).
The idea of our own brew was born two months ago, when we realised it would be the perfect addition to our Gastropub Of The Year. We approached Meantime – London’s second biggest brewer and one leading the craft beer revolution – for help.
Armed with Meantime’s Rod Jones, head brewer for the Old Brewery, and brewer John Hidde Driebergen’s years of expertise, we tried to explain what we wanted: a drinkable pale ale, with a nod to London’s brewing traditions but also a modern US twist.
We left the exact recipe in Meantime’s capable hands then returned six weeks later. After greeting us, we were given a tour of Meantime’s futuristic, computer-controlled brewery (one sink, that looked like it was from Minority Report, cost £6k). Malt, supplied by a maltster in Norfolk, is mixed with water in a tank (the mash tun) for about two hours to create sugar. This sugary liquid, called wort, is then removed, boiled and hops are added. Fermentation is next, which takes upward of a week, before the yeast is removed and the liquid is moved to a maturation tank where it remains for at least 28 days. Next, it’s filtered a final time to remove remaining yeast, then bottled or kegged, and delivered to your pub.
After the tour, we went to see how the Gold was doing, and most importantly, have a taste. It’s made with US cascade hops, resulting in grapefruit flavours with a thirst-quenching, bitter finish and, at 4.5 per cent ABV, perfect as a summer session beer for drinking in the sun (or equally, grey drizzle).
And now, amazingly, you can also taste this delightful fruit of our labour but you may have to hurry as we only brewed 2,500 pints and we’re becoming increasingly fond of it… You can find ShortList Gold here:
The Lion & Unicorn: 42-44 Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2ED www.geronimo-inns.co.uk/thelionandunicorn
The Brook Green Hotel: 170 Shepherd's Bush Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 7PB www.brookgreenhotel.co.uk
The Ship: 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1TB www.theship.co.uk
The Old Brewery: The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10 9LW www.oldbrewerygreenwich.com
The Greenwich Union: 56 Royal Hill Greenwich, Greenwich, London, SE10 8RT www.greenwichunion.com
For more on Meantime’s guided tours, visit Meantimebrewing.com