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Odessa in London

Almost a year ago now I went down to Otley Brewing in South Wales and did a brew with them.  Unlike many collaborative brews, they made me come up with the recipe, select the hops and everything.  When I co-created Brew Dog’s Avery Brown Dredge with Zak and Mark, they did most of the work and I just said things like, “Yes. very good.” This time I was on my own.  Nowhere to hide.  (There’s a nice video of the brew day of you follow the link above).

Inspired by Martin Dickie’s ginger nuts (we were very hungover) I decided I wanted to brew an imperial stout with ginger.  And chocolate.  And then mature it in whisky casks for a year.You may say that’s showing off.  I say it was cruising for a fall.  As I kept chucking handfuls of crystallised ginger and Belgian chocolate drops into the copper when Nick Otley wasn’t looking (unaware that Nick was doing the same when I wasn’t looking) I was genuinely worried it wouldn’t work.

For ten months, some of this beer sat in bourbon barrels and some in mead barrels.  Nick finally tasted it last weekend and after he stopped saying ‘wow!’ (which took a while) he said it was pitch black, and very warming.

Tomorrow you get a chance to see if we pulled it off or whether I should stick to writing rather than brewing.  Odessa Imperial Stout is launching in four London pubs, and Nick and I are touring them to give it a try in each one.  Each pub gets either the whisky or the mead finish, randomly chosen.  So if you can, it’s worth trying at least three pubs.  The beer will of course be on sale all day until it runs out.  But if you want to see me or Nick (save the difficult questions for him) our rough timetable is as follows:

1.       The White Horse, Parsons Green, between 1pm & 2pm
2.       The Rake, Borough, between 3pm & 4pm
3.       The Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington, between 5pm & 6pm
4.       The Southampton Arms, Kentish Town, between 7pm & 8pm

I’ll be tweeting events for as long as I can focus.  Though after the first couple of pints of this stuff, I may well ask someone to take my phone off me.

See you there!



Sid Boggle

Take your phone off you? So long as it isn't the same person who had your laptop, specially if you're at The Jolly Butchers again… 😉


That does sound lovely. Ginger and Stout isn't a combo you see that often, but I love it. For me, the flavours go better than 'pale-ginger' beers that you see a lot of. Any heading North, Pete?


Managed to get a half at the Southampton Arms last night. It was great – perfect winter warmer as the snow came down outside! Seriously impressed, Pete!

Brodies Dalston Black IPA was absolutely superb last night as well.

Gary Gillman

Interesting about the Black IPA in the last comment. This is what I like about the English beer scene. They accept the best of the American innovations, but they are reviving the best of their own, e.g., Imperial Stout.

By the way ginger was added to some porter in the 1800's. Precedent isn't necessary to validate any brewing practice, but sometimes it's comforting to know the ancestors had similar ideas!



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