In 2013, Greenwich brewing heroes, Meantime, planted over 100 hop plants at various locations across London to create a truly ‘crowdsourced' beer that captures the taste of London. Whilst this wasn't a flash mob, nor a pop-up, these disparate hops sucked up some of London's Co2 and converted it into a rich porter for our tasting pleasure; now, the ‘Hop City Porter' is available at limited stockists in London.
Imagine these proud London hops sucking up the nutrients from the breeze of the Thames, the haze of antiquity from the Natural History Museum and the splendour of St James' Park. The resultant Hop City Porter is surprisingly sweet for a rich porter. It's also wonderfully, dark, nutty and malty.
Whilst the Hop City Porter is a delicious beverage, this is not going to lead to an influx of amalgamated hop growers pooling resources into a Frankenstein beer anytime soon, though there are brewers growing and producing locally.
Meantime are fortunate to be big enough to be able to afford a brew like this. Whilst Brixton Beer is made from hops planted within Lambeth, and Prima Donna is a pale ale made with hops garden grown in London, the sheer logistics of maintaining 100 hop plants across London doesn't make this approach feasible to amateurs or bourgeoning brewers. There's an un-logic to this which, whilst fun, is not practical.
What is promising is the number of London brewers popping up. Since 2010, the London Brewer's Alliance has offered support and champions commercial brewers within the M25. Crowdsourced funding is similarly helping would-be brewers become fully-fledged companies and the London Brewer's Association offers a community for home-brew enthusiasts and exponents.
Home-brews and commercial brewers are also increasing in popularity. It's old news that craft beer is on the rise, but as it is such a young market, there's plenty of room for amazing beers to come from anywhere; from the estates of Bethnal Green, to the dew drenched hills of Richmond Park, the City Porter exemplifies London's hopping mad love for fine beer.
If you have a hankering for a good little tipple, we'd recommend checking out the Top 10 bars and pubs in London for beer supplies. Happy exploring.
If you have any thoughts on crowdsourced beers and alike, feel free to use the comments box below.
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