boney wrote: So, what's the verdict on the CO-OP? Worth making the trip over to the ol' L-spot?
Right now the beers range from decent to very good, but none are outstanding. Most are well-made takes on English and European styles (EPA, Brown Ale, Belgian IPA), though the Norfolk WC Red Ale and Workhorse IPA lean towards the hoppy/American side of things. The Tolpuddle (Robust) Porter is their best beer IMO.
Would I recommend making a special trip there? Probably not, since they have yet to make anything that I would rate above a 4/5. But I'm encouraged with what they're doing (including their partnership with The Root Cellar Cafe), and the direction they seem to be heading (the beer keeps getting better). And the brewery itself is a really cool space with a great community vibe, for what that's worth.
I was in town visiting friends and family and had some time to kill during the day so I went to check out LBC and Anderson Craft Ales, which are basically right beside one another. Anderson has great branding and the brewery is a fun and popular spot, but compared to Forked River, LBC, and even Toboggan the creativity is not there. Launching with an "Amber" and "Cream Ale" should be illegal in 2017, but that's what Anderson has decided to do. And that's unfortunate because they know to brew. The IPA, Brown Ale, and Black Lager are all really good takes on their respective styles, and they recently made a Dubbel and Tripel that I'm told were quite tasty, so I'd like to see them move more in that direction. But I get the sense that they won't, because they seem to be catering to the masses. We will see what happens.
I guess the "big picture" story is that London's beer scene has changed dramatically for the better over the last few years. Four new breweries have opened since 2013 and nobody talks about Railway City anymore. Milos' has become a top destination in Ontario while some of the weaker places, like the APK and Black Shire, have fallen by the way side. Beertown, Root Cellar, Morrissey House, and the King Eddy are viable alternatives to Milos'. The Forest City Beer Fest is actually worth going to, and the organizers are now doing pop-up events in the lead up to the festival. But the real game changer will be when Beerlab opens their brewery and retail space later this year. Nick and Adil really know what they're doing when it comes to making flavourful, interesting, and experimental beers, and I think Beerlab has the potential to light a fire under the ass of the city's other breweries and push them to do better. So when they open (expected Spring/Summer 2017), that's when it'll be worth making a trip to London.
"Bar people do not live as long as vegan joggers. However, they have more fun." - Bruce Elliott