Thirteen hours from home, the team from Moncada Brewery in North West London touch down on the runway in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 9 days of collaboration brews and to take their Notting Hill branded beers to Cerveza Extremas; a 2-day beer festival celebrating extreme beer hosted by Juguetes Perdidos.
Not quite fresh from an overnight flight, the team hot foot it to their hosts for the day, Gorilla Brewing, who have blazed a trail in the Argentinian craft beer scene with sours and saisons accompanying their core range, which features a well-loved London Red Ale. The intention of today’s brew is to attempt to recreate Moncada Breweries award-winning and extremely popular Vanilla Custard Imperial Stout, or Impy Custard for short. Thick, viscous and black with aromas of traditional Custard, this 10.4% abv beer packs a punch and is the perfect dessert accompaniment. Now to recreate it on another continent, in another hemisphere!
First drafts need a little tweaking, as the malt mash just isn’t dark enough, and the brew needs to reach the mighty 10.4% to realistically replicate the Impy Custard of home, so more dark malts go into the kettle for a long brew day, whilst the team sit back and sip on Mate, a South American high caffeinated tea drink sucked through a bomba, a metal straw. A well-received tonic, after 2 days on the road with little or no sleep this pep provided a vital revival to the Moncada Brewery team.
Whilst the beer boils and brews, other guests, arrive and set up a traditional Argentinian Asadso, a whole side of fine Argentinian cow is prepped to slowly barbeque over smoking coals. Beer TV, a much followed digital TV station in South American arrive to document the event, that quickly turns into a showcase of each other’s beers, with the Moncada brew team whipping out several bottles of their limited edition barrel aged beers ; Ned, a comedically titled Flanders Red Ale and woody two shoes both prove popular. On show from Gorilla brewing is their awesome Caipi Sour and Berliner Weiss which are set to shine at the Extreme beer festival in a few days. With the beer brewed and copious amount of meat eaten, it’s time to hit the town and conduct some vital market research at Buenos Aires finest craft beer bars.
The rest of the week is taken up with preparations for the Cervezas Extremas, or extreme beer festival, which is to be held in a football stadium to the North of Buenos Aires. 2,000 people a day crammed into an exhibition hall, a marquee and onto the football pitch to try 600 beers from 40 brewers around the world; Moncada Brewery and Brew Dog being the only 2 from the UK. Beers are served in 150ml goblets, owing to the high strengths of some of the beers on offer, which include the first outing of Moncada’s Amber Sour ale and Floorshaker, a 6,2% West Coast IPA brewed in London.
Upon return to London, it’s not long before the Gorilla Brewing team make their way to Moncada Brewery and tap room to brew a German Style Weiss beer. Another long brew ensues, and the resulting beer is now fermenting, which is set for release direct from the brewery or through Eebria online wholesale from 1st August. Brewing starts early, as Ramiro from Gorilla Brewing has a flight to catch late afternoon, and there are multiple stages, boil temperatures and malt additions to go into this brew day. Once fermented and conditioned this German Style Wheat beer, that currently smells and looks like a banana smoothie, will settle at 5% and be available in both can and keg.
Moncada’s legendary Impy Custard is now available all year round in the UK, as well as a seasonal special in Argentina. The core Notting Hill cask, bottle and keg range is available all year. This summer 3 new beers will be launched including a fruit salad DIPA, a Kolsch and a collaboration Wheat Beer brewed with Gorilla Brewing of Argentina.
Author – Nigel Tarn
Photo credit – Ryan Evans Photography