Table wine is one of those things that you try to avoid whenever possible. Think back to the seventies and eighties in restaurants – the agony of choice : “we have two wines on the menu: red or white“
My point being that table wine was mainly awful, so why in the name of all that’s holy would I want to try table beer?
Because it’s from The Kernel brewery, that’s why and if it’s something that they’ve had a hand in its going to be good.
As it was father’s day and we were looking for a way to entertain my young son, we thought we’d take a trip to Oxford for a ride on the park and ride bus, a look at the shops and a ride the escalators (We know how to live)
Eventually lunchtime rolled around and we decided to go to Byron, a burger chain in the Gourmet Burger Kitchen mould, but -to my mind- way nicer…and, as an extra bonus, when you walk through the door, you’re handed a craft beer menu!
As I was going to be driving later on, I went for the table beer, but also would have liked to try the Racer 5 IPA that was also on the menu; but, at 7% that would have been pushing it a bit…
The bottle arrived nicely chilled, and as I poured I was nearly knocked off of my seat by the potency of the aroma, which was zesty marmalade, pineapple and crisp white wine (not Liebfraumilch!)The bottle revealed that this beer contained Nelson Sauvin and Zeus hops.
Upon sipping I found the body to be fairly thin, but that’s to be expected with an ABV of only 3% or so, then an expansive and uncomplicated bitterness occupied a minor pause whilst the hops regrouped and circled round for the primary attack, my taste buds have never been so successfully carpet-bombed with such a hard-core grapefruit zestiness!
What a marvellous beer for a lunchtime…for sure I would have loved it to be around 5-6% and to have that old familiar alcohol warmth playing a supporting role, but for a 3% beer this was epic, just plain epic.
As for anything Kernel produces, if you see it, drink it.
I like the way that they’re catering for the hoofing great IPA crowd (i.e. me) with their regular offerings, but are also catering for folks who want something light, yet absolutely jam-packed with taste.
NB: The food at Bryon was as good as ever: no nonsense burgers, well cooked with distinctly edible fries and onion rings. They even made the extra effort to ensure that Arthur’s order of macaroni cheese was being cooked whilst we made our choices – meaning that everyone’s food arrived at the same time and at the correct temperature.
Go check them out, taste their food and make free with their ever-changing craft beer menu.
Other eating houses will soon cotton on to the fact that it doesn’t have to be just brown or yellow fizzy water, the beer scene is evolving; and just like the wine market did in the early nineties, when we all stopped ordering either red or white wine and started ordering by variety.
http://www.byronhamburgers.com/menu/drinks/ (The craft beer menu, the one up top didn’t photograph so well!)