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Why Hammerton Brewery’s Pentonville stout – made with oysters – is one of London’s finest

PUBLISHED: 15:11 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:42 11 April 2018

Hammerton's Pentonville Oyster Stout has been named one of London's best beers. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Hammerton's Pentonville Oyster Stout has been named one of London's best beers. Picture: Isabel Infantes

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Islington’s brilliant Hammerton Brewery continues to thrive – after one of its signature beers was named as the second best in London.

Brewer Director Lee Hammerton at his brewery in Islington.Brewer Director Lee Hammerton at his brewery in Islington.

Hammerton’s Pentonville Oyster Stout was runner-up in the recent Champion Beer of London awards, in which over 200 cask and keg beers were entered. Pentonville also won the best stout category.

Made using fresh oysters from Maldon, it’s an important beer for founder Lee Hammerton. It’s based on a recipe created by his ancestors from the original Hammerton Brewery in 1938.

“Hammerton was the first in the world to brew using oysters,” Lee explained.

“When we restarted the brewery [in 2014], we wanted to make our own modern beers, but when we heard about this story, the oyster stout was a beer we really wanted to bring back.

“There wasn’t any record of the original recipe but we wanted to have a modern take on it anyway.

“Half an hour into the boiling process, we add 100 wild oysters into the kettle and they boil away for about half and hour. We add the whole shells to get more mineral content.

“There are seven different malts in there, so there are lots of flavours in there, with choclatey and coffee notes. Because it’s an oyster stout you’d expect it to be quite fishy. But while it adds a bit of complexity to the beer, it’s not overpowering in any way.”

Of the award, he added: “We weren’t expecting to win – as we only found out we had been entered a day before. But we’re pretty happy to get the best stout in London.”

In other stout news, the brewery deserves credit for its impressive April Fool’s joke.

Hammerton tweeted a picture of “Casper”, a beer it claimed was the world’s “first white stout” after “six months of trial runs”.

The brewery was immediately inundated with requests to order a keg. Even one of Hammerton’s former brewers fell for it.

Meanwhile, Hammerton, located in Roman Way Industrial Estate next to Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station, has had an offer accepted for another unit in the estate.

A second unit will allow Hammerton to increase production, create more beers and move its monthly taproom opening from monthly to weekly.

Lee said: “One option was to have a production facility outside of London but we wanted to try and stay in the borough. Industrial space in Islington is ridiculously sparse and hard to get. So fingers crossed we get this new unit.”

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