Q & A with The Kernel

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Evin O’Riordain opened The Kernel in 2009 after moving to London from Waterford a decade earlier. He found a job selling artisan cheese at Neal’s Yard Dairy and was sent to New York in 2007 to help open a cheese shop in Manhattan. It was there he discovered the beers that would shape his future and arguably ours as beer drinkers. The brewer behind Kernel beer doesn’t do many ‘meet the brewer’ evenings so we decided to make him feel at home with a cheese pairing menu courtesy of 64 Degrees. Eat, drink and ask questions was the agenda for Evin’s visit to Bison Beer, and we’re pleased to share some insightful answers from the occasion here..

THE PAIRINGS

Table Beer, 3.2% – Roasted cauliflower with zesty mature cheddar foam.

Bière De Saison (Burgundy Barrel Aged), 5.0% – Ricotta with lime rye

Amber (citra), 4.9% – Celeriac with cured egg yolk and zatar.

Export India Porter, 6.2% – Tiramisu style spiced ginger cake with mascarpone

THE GRILLING

Q. What do you think of the term ‘craft beer’.

A. It’s a commercial term used to define something that shouldn’t be defined.

Q. Tell us about your beer

A. Table beer is a technically difficult beer to make that you wouldn’t know by tasting it. Brewed to be enjoyed any time of the day or night, it’s the kind of beer you can get on with life after drinking. With saisons we reduce things to their simplest principles. The less you control it the better the outcome & how you relate to it. The wood becomes where yeast and bacteria live as they age and constantly change the beer. Now have 60 barrels to artfully blend in. I still don’t fully understand it – an endless surprise

Q. Why did you decide to open The Kernel?

A. I was cheesemonger who used to work for Neal’s Yard whilst doing PhD in philosophy. I was sent over to America (NY) 2007 to set up a shop for a customer. After cheese lessons I used to go for beer and learn about beer like cheese – it blew my mind. I grew up on Guinness in Ireland and the clean, crisp beers were a revelation. I came back to London in 2009 and started brewing for The Kernel. Ignorance teaches you as does trial & error. Keep it simple I loves brewing that’s where I like to be. It’s a process of learning but the most important thing is tasting, like it is with cheese.

Q. How do you go about developing the taste?

A. We all have tastebuds but it’s just tasting and learning and the beers change, they are never the same. The most important thing is quality. Using the same equipment & process no matter how they do it each brewer always produces a different beer, but that’s what the kernel is about. It keeps our beers fresh. As you get bigger it’s hard to not repeat yourself but we try and do it differently and that’s what keeps us excited about brewing.

Q what is an IPA?

A. There is no one that makes an IPA like it traditionally was. It comes down to how a brewery interprets it. We brew an IPA at 7% and pale at 5% because that’s the way we like it. It’s very much down to how each individual brewery likes it. When the style first came in to existence (travelled to India) they were very dry, heavily hopped and not strong. They were more like session IPAs.

Q. Are you affected by a hops shortage?

A. We use a lot of hops but have good relationships which hopefully means we will always have supply but hey if they run out of hops we will make more sours! But it happens in Austria & Germany for example. I’m more concerned with global warming. There are a couple of breweries, Adnams for example, who have tried to measure their carbon footprint and they’ve looked in to it and made changes to their business from it.

The Bison Arms – Crowdfunding Begins

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As of Friday 27th November 2015 crowdfunding begins for what we hope to be our next big adventure. We need you good people to help us kick Burger King to the curb and keep the lovely Brighton Old Town free from Whoppers and Royale’s with cheese! At www.thebisonarms.co.uk you’ll be able to first register your interest to find out more on our plans for an honest and worthwhile Sussex-centric tap room & restaurant and also keep tabs on progress as things develop. Here is a little background to the mission…

·   The Bison Arms will be created & run by a local collective of small business owners in Brighton & Hove, ourselves included (obviously)!

·   Our aim is to revive the derelict ground & lower ground floor site at Grade II listed Clarendon Mansions at 80 East Street, Brighton.

·   It has been trading as a pub for decades but has been vacant for the past 4 years including a short squatter stint.

·   The Burger King franchise wants to build a restaurant in the vacant space that looks out over the sea.

·   Residents in the city have raised concerns that a Burger King in the listed building would ruin the seafront’s appearance and dilute a prime position in Brightons Lanes area.

·   An online petition was started to keep Burger king out of The Lanes. It got 3,000 signatures in just 4 hours and a grand total of 11,500

·   https://www.change.org/p/brighton-amp-hove-council-keep-burger-king-out-of-the-south-lanes

·   We want to revive Clarendon Mansions as a pub. A pub that champions everything about Brighton & Sussex.

·   We have started a Crowdfunder campaign in order to raise the funds to carry out Phase 1 of the project – Reviving the Ground Floor pub.

·   Phase 2 would be reviving the lower ground floor and would be self funded once the pub was up and running.

·   Crowdfunding means that investors big and small from the local community can contribute to the project, have a stake in the business that will grow as the business does as well as other stakeholder benefits including discounts, events and gifts.

·   Our focus would be sourcing from local breweries around Sussex for craft beers and real ales with ties and politics which you often see in Brighton and showcasing them in our ‘Tap Room’.

·   We intend on collaborating with local chefs to run the kitchen.

·   The design and influence on the interior to be worked on by a number of local artists.

·   We aim to showcase artworks, photographs and literature developed by local creatives.

·   We want The Bison Arms to be funded, built, staffed, supplied and enjoyed by the people of Brighton & Sussex.

·   We want to help make Brighton a city where local business can thrive and build a pub that can give back to the local economy.

There is a real alternative to Burger King. Have it Your Way.

Be More Bison

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There’s a beer for that. That day, that dinner, that situation. There’s 365 different beers in our shop and we’re working our way through them all as quickly as we can. We’ve even made things nice and simple for the folks that frequent Bison Beer. The fridges can be viewed as an atlas, with Asia, Australia and some cool Kiwi stuff on the East side. The middle of the map features the UK and Europe where our own brews reside. Out West is where it all began: the USA. It doesn’t end there as the scaffold boards are organised to keep it simple, stupid. There’s a Sussex shelf celebrating the 63 different micro breweries we’re blessed with in the area. Belgian and German sections, along with what we call Old Man Ales, that take care of Dad. The bookcase by the window is easily accessible too; imagine it as a light to dark theme. Up top are the Pilsners and Pale Ales. In the middle are some Ambers and Reds with the Stouts and Porters sitting down low.

We like to shop local at Bison Beer. That’s why we’re supporting the beerilliant Sussex breweries in store and celebrating those that are local, independent and proud. Craft beer is everywhere in Brighton at the moment and it’s great to see the See Side APA and bEAST STREET IPA in pubs and restaurants across town. So come sit down and rest with us; we have a long way to go.

Hello Brighton!

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We are best mates who met at university, and lived above a local offie in London. Between us we tracked down every student night going and always found a few quid to get another round in. After scraping through our studies we grabbed our girlfriends and moved to Brighton, spending long periods in local hostelries doing what we’re now referring to as ‘research’. As the craft beer revolution begun, we patiently observed it, mainly from The Mash Tun.

Now we’ve opened our very own bottleshop, which will stock hundreds of the beers we love. We’re 100% independent and aim to bring a wide and varied selection to the centre of Brighton, paying particular homage to Sussex breweries.

So come, brothers and sisters throughout the land, let’s celebrate the rise and rise of craft beers. For The Times They Are A Changin’