The Hope, Carshalton. SM5 2PR
Dark Beer Festival November 2023
The chilled air outside promises snow: it could make for a magical walk home at midnight if the weather delivers. Her reverie is broken as he walks in, hunched against the bitter cold. Even though neither remembers,
it has been more than four years since they last crossed paths, and those same sparks are still there. A warm smile fails to mask the hint of confused recognition as she tries to recall why he looks so familiar
– a look he mirrors. He was meant to only have one drink, but stays for three. They are unable to solve that initial puzzle, and now he must leave as the snow finally begins to fall.
On his way out, she makes him promise to come back, to her. It is in this moment that she realises that he failed to keep that promise last time.
Kegs in Marquee
FESTIVAL BAR (KEG):
PHANTOM ‘Rendezvous’ 4.4% KEG
Fruited Wheat. A rather grown-up version of Ribena. It has that juicy tartness of the blackcurrants, allied expertly with the thicker body of the wheat – and without that divisive banana note.
OAK HIGHLANDS BREWERY ‘Tejano Pecano’ 6.2% KEG Contains Nuts
Brown Ale. Everything is bigger in Texas, including their additions of pecans to beer. It does not hold back on the nuttiness, yet still finds a wonderful balance with the green hops and sweet malt.
SCHLENKERLA ‘Urbock’ 6.5% KEG
Smoked Lager. The epitome of smoke.
SIREN ‘Caribbean Salted Cherry Chocolate Cake’ 7.4% KEG Contain Lactose
Milk Stout. This year's flavour variant goes all in on the black forest gateaux. The chocolate still dominates, with cherry sneaking in at the edges. The salt then exaggerates all these flavours nicely.
MOERSLEUTEL ‘Tom’ 10.0% KEG
Rye Wine. Definitely still a beer, and a very big one too. The depth from the elevated booze sings harmoniously with the rye’s signature peppery spice to create a seasonal treat as pleasing as apricity.
BEAK ‘Caves’ 11.0% KEG
Imperial Stout. The ingredient list sounds somewhat mad – cacao, cinnamon, chilli – yet the result is an imperious blend of subtle flavours that slowly evolves as you sink down the glass. Majestic.
Kegs In Bar
PRESSURE DROP ‘Gem State’ 4.8% KEG
Pale Ale. Guava and lychee dominate on the nose. The taste then evolves into pomelo, with a pleasing pineapple tang to the finish.
ĀRPUS ‘DDH Nelson x Riwaka’ 5.5% KEG
Pale Ale. The Latvian masters are back! Gooseberry from the Nelson Sauvin is followed swiftly by waves of passion fruit & white grape. The body is ridiculously soft, like slipping through the clouds.
BURNT MILL ‘Gardens Of Green: Citra & HBC 630’ 6.0% KEG
IPA. More than any other beer in this series, the name is oh so fitting. Wafts of fresh cut grass and resinous pine intertwine sublimely with sticky tropical fruit for a heady twirl through green gardens.
VERDANT x FLOC. ‘Casting The Void’ 8.4% KEG
Double IPA. Two of the best hazy breweries in the country go big on this bold, danky DIPA. A veritable fruit bowl that lingers beautifully, with a burst of limoncello to round it all off.
SIREN ‘Calypso: Whiskey Sour’ 4.0% KEG
Sour. In bidding farewell to their beloved sour, Siren have created a few unusual variations. This whiskey sour version does a damn fine job of melding the sharpness of the beer with the gentle fire of the namesake spirit in a fine cocktail fit for these colder days.
AMUNDSEN ‘Triple Berry Jam Donut With Sticky Maple Frosting’ 6.5% KEG Contains Lactose
Pastry Sour. Whilst the nose is dominated by the maple, the taste is all jammy gooeyness. This is rather magic, just how doughnutty this beer really is.
TRACK x ELUSIVE ‘Ten Falls’ 6.0% KEG
Red IPA. A remarkable example of an oft-overlooked style. A bright fruitiness explodes up front, followed by the autumnal shades of freshly baked goods on a crisp morning delight the heart, and the tongue.
UNBARRED ‘Barrel Aged Bueno Shake’ 11.0% KEG Contains Lactose
Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. We are very lucky to have a drop of this from our favourite Brighton brewery. The chocolate and hazelnut of the original is joined by the vanilla and toffee of the bourbon-soaked wood, an incredible sweet tweet to finish off the list. It's kind-er special.
Cask - our normal wonderful range on the bar, plus...
VOCATION ‘Volumes – Milk Race’ 4.0% CASK Contains Lactose
Milk Stout. We do consider ourselves aficionados of old school sweets here, and this reminds us fondly of Drumsticks. A lovely blend of creamy body with a hint of berries on top.
BUXTON ‘Gatekeeper’ 4.1% CASK
Porter. Once again, Buxton leads the way with their new traditional beers. A perfect porter, toying with hazelnuts and chestnuts, followed by a hint of acorns and wood in the lengthy finish.
THORNBRIDGE ‘Tiramisu Lucaria’ 4.5% CASK Contain Lactose
Porter. This has encapsulated the dessert down to a tee. From that initial coffee bean taste, through the cocoa powdered topping, right into the final spoonful of cream that coats the palate thoroughly.
CLOUDWATER ‘Piccadilly Porter’ 4.5% CASK
Porter. An easy, rounded porter. The chocolate up front gives way to a spiced biscuit aftertaste that is as pleasant as it is warming.
THE KERNEL ‘Dry Stout’ 4.6% CASK
Stout. Almost as heavily hopped as a pale from The Kernel, blind you would struggle to discern the colour. At the back, those roasted notes do emerge from the haze blood orange and grapefruit.
NORTH ‘Shadow Play’ 4.8% CASK
Porter. The beery equivalent of a sloe gin, soaked with blackberries. This then morphs into swirls of dark chocolate and vanilla: like having crème de cassis with a chocolate liqueur at your gran's.
DURATION ‘Ebb & Flow’ 4.8% CASK
Stout. The second of their staples to make the jump to cask, and once again we approve heartily. Clove and fig are the primary flavours to leap out of the glass, albeit delicately poised.
MARBLE ‘Brick By Brick’ 4.8% CASK
Red Ale. This builds sumptuously. A burst of kumquat gives way to an assorted box of Turkish delights, with the aromatic pepper of the rye coming out beautifully as we head further back.
BREW YORK ‘Fairytale Of Brew York’ 4.9% CASK Contains Lactose
Milk Stout. Our wafel is well and truly strooped! The kings of flavoured stouts have us singing our hearts out at this crazy little number – caramel and vanilla shine like a Christmas star.
MOOR ‘Smokey Horyzon’ 5.0% CASK
Smoked Rye. Bristol meets Bamberg in a bonfire of delight. The ubiquitous line in the sand that marmite wishes it were, for us smoke lovers this is a slice of smouldering heaven.
KIRKSTALL ‘Ripley's Reserve’ 5.9% CASK
Tudor Ale. A heritage style ale based on what might have been lost during the religious upheaval of Tudor times. Honeysuckle sweetness paired with a bitter dryness bridges the gap to a dainty mead.
TORRSIDE ‘Bark At The Moon’ 6.2% CASK
Dubbel. A style rarely seen on cask, what it lacks in carbonation it more than makes up for in flavour. The rum ‘n’ raisin tones of the style are enhanced by the wily addition of plum.
TITANIC ‘Plum Porter Grand Reserve’ 6.5% CASK
Porter. The beloved plum porter – but bigger! Everything you love about the original, turned up to 11. Plum, plum, and more plum, there are notes of oak and red wine becoming more abundant too.
WEIRD BEARD ‘Sadako Special – Tonka’ 9.5% CASK
Imperial Stout. The first, and oldest, of this year’s cellar specials, this is nearly SEVEN years old! Not only that, but this is also a rarity with tonka bean added. Along with that almondy hint, the age has added a huge depth to the sweetness, ensuring a thick, fudge-like chewiness. Glorious.
SIREN ‘Maiden 2022’ 10.0% CASK
Barrel Aged Barley Wine. Rich and decadent, this is an incredibly complex beer – courtesy of the multitude of barrels it has been aged in. Marmalade, cherry, apricot, aniseed, turmeric, and a million other delicious notes: something akin to an exotic Paddington sandwich.
VIBRANT FOREST ‘Umbral Abyss’ 11.5% CASK
Imperial Stout. The last of our aged wonders, this has mellowed from fresh coffee to the deepest, darkest 100% cocoa. The smoothness of this beer is quite something, showing the benefits of time.
MAIN BAR (CASK):
Seven marvellous beers, with 5 rotating.
Various, changing as we go.
All available in thirds as well as pints and halves. Enjoy.