‘Pressure drop, oh pressure drop, oh pressure’s gonna drop on you’ sang Toots and the Maytals in their 1969 ska classic. And so last week, two big boxes of beer from Pressure Drop brewery dropped into our office. Founded in 2012 by Graham, Sam and Ben in the humble surroundings of Graham’s garden shed, they are now producing some of the beer world’s most well-loved beers from their brewery in a railway arch in Hackney Downs, London.
On any normal order, I’d plump straight for a big old case of Pale Fire – one of the finest pale ales around that is increasingly popping up as a keg staple in London’s craft beer pubs. However, due to its enormous success, stock levels were low, so we were grateful to receive two bottles in the mixed case. You never know quite what you’re going to get with Pale Fire, as they experiment regularly with different hop combinations, but I’ve never had a bad pint of it. Expect a seriously easy-drinking beer with assertive but not cloying citrus hops and a touch of the tropical with hints of passionfruit and mango. A lovely brew.
Another perennial favourite from Pressure Drop is Wu Gang Chops the Tree, a wheat beer with a difference named after a Chinese proverb about a poor chap called Wu Gang who chops down a magic tree, only for it to stubbornly spring back up again after every chop. Poor Wu Gang. While the proverb has become shorthand for ‘endless toil’, the beer version is a delightfully quaffable drop, but with enough foraged herbs adding to the regular clovey, sweet full-body of Hefeweisse to keep things interesting.
And now for something completely different, the murkier, more sticky and sweet Nanban Kanpai, a collaboration brew with sprightly beer enthusiast and owner of Nanban restaurant Tim Anderson. While Pale Fire and Wu Gang offer a fizzy and light drinking experience, Nanban is a much thicker, juicier brew, infused with ingredient du-jour yuzu. This is a beer for those who like tropical fruit and don’t mind a lack of carbonation in their beers – it’s a sweet hazy treat.