Monday, 8 July 2013

Urban Sessions - the place to be this summer!

For quite some time now, Melissa Cole has been hinting about an exciting project that she was involved in but was sworn to secrecy but finally it was announced a few weeks ago... Urban Sessions is occurring!

Well what Urban Sessions is, is a pop up beer festival/bar/musical event/food/awesomeness in The Old Baths in Hackney Wick which will be around for 4 months. I happened to be in London at the weekend so I thought it'd be rude not to pop down for the soft launch. The idea is that they have a shitload of beers from all around the world, along with cocktails and ciders and essentially just party! Over the 4 months they have about 500 different beers on as well as pop up tasting sessions, monthly beer matched dinners, spirit education events and Meet The Brewers, so I'm going to need to revisit a few times!


I had originally planned just to go on the Sunday but after a fair few drinks on Saturday night, and meeting up with Mark again in Brewdog Camden we decided we wanted to go somewhere else. We were gonna go to Camden Town brewery but thought "Fuck it. Let's go to Urban Sessions!" so we jumped on the overground and consulted Google Maps as to the directions. It's simple to get to from Hackney Wick station - just go right out of the station and follow Berkshire Street round, keep following for a couple of minutes and it's a big stone building just across the street!

We walked in and it was pretty quiet, aside from the DJ spinning some awesome tunes. We rocked up to the bar in front of us and straight up went for the new Pink Grapefruit re-incarnation of Magic Rock Salty Kiss. I'm already in love with the original Gooseberry version but this was even better as the pink grapefruit made it tart as fuck with a little bit of sweetness and that gentle salty kiss it leaves on your lips. Simply phenomenal. We then went outside as despite it being about 10pm it was still awesomely warm and lovely, where we bumped into Melissa and it was generally really chilled out. We were also introduced to a lot of the staff members working there and mingled with some other merry drinkers which was great! I then had Redchurch Great Eastern IPA which has become a favourite of mine as it's just really well balanced and juicy. Next up was Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA, which to be honest if you were blindfolded you'd actually have no reason to believe that it's black, a trait in the Black IPA that so many breweries miss! After this, we had one more beer which was Moa Methode from New Zealand. Very nice and crisp pilsener and a brewery I hadn't come across before Saturday!

This ends Saturday evening. It turns out that Urban Sessions was so good that it would've been illegal to not go back, especially considering I was meeting some people there!

I planned to meet with Brad who has created a free beer app (available on both Android & iOS) so he could explain a little bit about what he's doing and his aims to get more breweries and (in his words) 'beer celebs' of which it seems that I fall into that category. Who'd have thought I'd ever be called a celebrity! That day started with Anchor Summer Ale which is a beer I'd wanted to try for ages and it was very refreshing indeed! After chatting with the awesome bar staff for a while, we were ready for our second drink of the day and were convinced that Flying Dog Easy IPA was the way to go. It's rare that we find an IPA from an American brewery at just 4.2% but it packs a goddamn punch with some grapefruit and peaches as well as a soft malty backbone. Was very impressed! Next up was a beer I'd wanted to try for a while... Weird Beard & Elusive Brewing's collaborative effort, Nelson Saison a perfect summer beer with funky flavours just hiding behind white grapes and apricots. Brilliant. We retreated outside into the beautifully scorching heat to sit and chat, and have a few more beers. Brewfist's 24K Gold was alright, but after all of the hops I'd been drinking I'm unsure it was wise as it had been overshadowed. It was at this point that Melissa Cole came to join us and had the awesome idea of lending us some sun cream because otherwise I would've been burnt to fuckery, cheers!

Brad then left and the awesome superstar beer blogger, Chris Hall joined us! I'd only met Chris once, quite briefly so I was quite excited to meet up with him properly for some beers. And then I had the awesome surprise of Sharona arriving along with her husband and niece! My next beers were Magic Rock Curious & Cannonball, which I'm sure need no introduction. Just after I'd finished those, Melissa broke out a few odd bottles she'd brought back from Spain to kindly share with us (sadly they're not available at Urban Sessions). I remember all three being enjoyable but the one that stood out for me was BresaƱ Estival... as Chris described it, it is "A minty mindfuck of a beer" and I couldn't have put it better myself.

I was meant to leave after this to get the train home, but I had a few more beers including the new and wonderful Fuller's Frontier Lager. The truth is that I couldn't bring myself to leave.

I was having such an awesome time with some incredible people and incredible beers in the sun. I can promise that you won't want to leave after you've been either!

I enjoyed everything about Urban Sessions... the beers, the venue and more importantly the staff who are working so hard on it. They're all so friendly and attentive! Every time I went to a bar, it took me forever to get away because the guys working engage you in conversation. It was simply brilliant.

Urban Sessions runs from July 11th - October 31st this year. Tasting tickets are incredible value and are available from their website: http://www.urbansessions.co.uk/

No matter where you live or what you've got planned, Urban Sessions is the place to be this summer so don't miss out!

Nate

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