It’s become a bit of a tradition at work that on the day we finish for Christmas, I bring in some ‘interesting’ beers for my lager-favouring colleagues to try. I nipped over to the London Bridge Oddbins and picked up some bottles from Kernel, lovingly made one bridge further East along the Thames at Bermondsey. That afternoon we got stuck into some of their Stella IPA and M.A NZC Pale, with measures getting ever-smaller as more colleagues came and joined in. “I never knew proper beer could taste this good” said one, who normally drinks Magners. Every now and then a brewery pops up that deserves the hype. Kernel is one of them. I kept back an Export India Porter for Christmas dinner.
A few days later. The turkey’s carved. The pigs are in blankets. The bottle of Porter has been settling on a cool shelf. I gently ease the the Kernel’s cap off, and a spout of sticky black liquid blasts from the bottle, coating the microwave, the kitchen worktop, the floor and the window sill – and me – in the best part of five quid’s worth of beer. The two fingers I manage to rescue into my La Chouffe glass is swimming with sediment. Down the sink, and I reach for an Old Peculier instead. A Theakston bottle may not be as modish as Kernel, but you can be sure you won’t need a mop on standby.