no. 025 | The Kernel
For us, batch no. 025 feels like a coup. Stalwarts of the UK craft beer scene, The Kernel are notoriously difficult to get out of London. We’re delighted to introduce them to Jersey for the first time.
“We’ve been contacted quite a few times over the years about export to Jersey”, The Kernel’s wholesale manager, Ric, tells us off the back of our latest of a number of requests for bringing their beers to Jersey — and it’s no surprise. Founded by Evin O’Riordian in 2009, they were one of London’s first craft brewers and have since become a bastion of quality for anyone concerned with craft beer. When they agreed they were happy for us to be the first people to bring their beer into Jersey, we weren’t just pleased, but proud.
Evin (above) and the team don’t make decisions like this lightly. Despite approaching their 15th anniversary, they still sell around 90% of all the beer they create in their Bermondsey brewery to London-based customers. This a conscious decision, allowing them to keep a close handle on where and how their beers are being presented and ensure people’s experiences of The Kernel are as they intended. I still remember watching Evin run around his taproom on the Bermondsey beer mile on Saturday afternoon, insisting visitors pour their bottle conditioned beers into a glass to get the most from them. There’s good reason for this: all of their beers are bottle conditioned, which means their beers continue to ferment right up to the moment they’re opened. Pouring them out not only helps to lose a little of the carbonation, but maximises the flavour.
Long-time batch subscribers will have seen The Kernel’s name mentioned several times in previous brewery stories. They’ve acted as an incubator of sorts for many of today’s UK-based modern craft breweries, with founders from the likes of Newbarns, Partizan, Elusive and Track having passed through its hallowed arches. Their intentional and iterative style has inspired countless others to follow in their footsteps too. Just one anecdotal example: when they first set up in London, they were one of the first craft breweries to do so. By 2019, the capital boasted more than 100 microbreweries.
Despite their long-standing status and serious reputation amongst brewers and drinkers alike, The Kernel still remains somewhat elusive. This stems from their product-first approach. Evin wants to let the beer do the talking, and their bottles and labels are the perfect embodiment of that. Effectively unchanged since inception, their craft brown paper and brown bottles are a welcome selve to an industry often defined by bright, irreverent artwork. Despite, or perhaps because of, this pared back approach, its stark, utilitarian bottles have become iconic in their own right.
Our selections this month take on a slightly different format to what you’d normally expect. We wanted to put together a box that gave you a sense of what’s made Evin and The Kernel such a success, and ensure you have plenty to try. So grab a glass and your bottle opener, and however else you approach, always start with the Table Beer.