What I like about Camden Town Brewery…the place is a boost of sunlight, as easy as a bee that wants to be a bee and know it’s a bee; two or maybe three years have pressed on since I last set myself before its mast of a lauter tun and it still feels as if a friendly and fulsome zephyr is soft brushing its way about the non-Osmond gleam of the stainless steel where beer is made.
What I like about Camden Town Brewery…the place is both young and old; it’s about hanging out and also hanging about like an upside down bat in the railway arches that wire flex themselves outwards beneath the track that passes through Kentish Town West (‘Good Beer This Way’ says a sign); it’s buzzy in a way that wouldn’t have gone down well with the Essenes but also has a hussy/Hussar-like swagger of rock’n’roll off-handedness that I’ve always been drawn to, and because this is beer everyone can join the club, one sip and you’re a cool kid, whether topped by an ironic flat cap or dressed by Burton.
What I like about Camden Town Brewery…the brewery is a calm space and is taut in the sense that all is order and in order and it is friendly, lagery and larger than life and I love the six 120-h/l tanks in which the beer sleeps the sleep of the just; back in the 1980s when I was getting to know north London and didn’t really care what sort of beer went into my glass as long as it was German or Czech the very idea of tanks standing down here would have been a puzzle…
What I like about Camden Town Brewery…beneath the stairwell onto the brewing platform I spy Doug Odell as I ascend the steps. He’s here because he’s here — a collaboration brew between him and Camden, a Baltic Porter, a rich throughput of ideas that makes modern brewing so exciting. And it’s time for a beer, an unfiltered USA Helles, fresh, unfiltered, a throw in the air of flavour, an appetising high-five of crisp bitterness, the sort of beer that rarely lasts long in my glass. And like the beer, I’m soon gone, a train to latch onto, but like spring rain I will be back.