When the brilliant Brewhouse & Kitchen Islington opened near Angel station last year, I was embarrassed to learn that there were already successful branches of the brewpub group in Dorchester, Poole and Portsmouth, of which I was completely unaware. My blinkered capital-view had hidden these excellent brewpubs from me, and it gave me a dose of what I call London Guilt. My partner’s family lives in Bristol, so when the latest branch opened there last month, I was determined to check it out on our next visit.
I couldn’t make the launch event sadly, a disappointment all the more crushing for the fact that the man who was the body of Darth Vader (Bristolian bodybuilder David Prowse) was there at the party. Like the other Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpubs, the brewers here take their cues for beers from the city the pub is in. Naturally, a Sith-influenced Papa Darth oatmeal stout is available (‘on the dark side’ jokes abound), alongside Yankee Cabot (named after the Italian explorer who was a citizen of Bristol and after which many landmarks are named), Deception Rye IPA (named for Derren Brown who studied in Bristol and first performed there) and others. All their own beers are brewed onsite in the very visible and pretty brewkit, and as seen in the picture above a decent array of keg and bottled beers are also available.
The beer that really impressed me both on my first and subsequent visits was the 3.9% Hornigold Blonde Ale, the vibrant pint pictured above. Hornigold was the mentor of Bristol’s more famous pirate son: Blackbeard, and the brewers clearly thought his name would look nice on a golden ale. I’d arrived at the bar early afternoon and fancied something fairly light and easy-going, but was blown away by the peach-and-melon sweetness running through Hornigold, sharpened by a juicy grapefruit finish. It was remarkably similar to a great pint of cask Oakham Citra, but maybe 18 months or more ago when Citra was in its best form. Hornigold was a pint upon which I lavished the highest compliment: the same again, please.
Brewhouse & Kitchen Bristol, 31-35 Cotham Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS6 6JY