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Last night was date night. Having been away at the CIPD conference all week
and himself being pretty much confined to quarters on dog sitting duties during fire work celebrations it was time to head out, have some good fun and properly reconnect (I’ll talk about date night another time but for now beer!).

So we headed off to Camden and the Feast of IHL. The Feast was the last event and the culmination of Camden Town Brewery’s 7 days of IHL. The Feast was a four course affair with food provided by Texas Joe and as much IHL as you could drink – including an IHL cocktail where it was mixed with tequila blanco, pink grapefruit juice and agave nectar and served in a beer glass with a sugar salt rim. Now that’s the way to drink a Tequila beer!

The event was Hosted by the brilliant people from Camden Town Brewery who are led by Jasper Cuppaidge. Jasper stared brewing in the basement of The Horseshoes pub that he was running in 2006 and their beers are now brewed in a £2.5m turnkey brewery built to his specification under the railway arches in Kentish Town. Probably best known for the popular Camden Hells and Camden Pale Ale they also brew Camden Pils, Gentlemans Wit and Camden Ink as well as a number of specials throughout the year – including most recently a Pumpkin Spiced Lager they produced just in time for Halloween. And now IHL.

The brewery made Indian Summer but wanted to go further and make an IPA in lager form. They tested and tried an improved and tinkered and eventually IHL was born – Indian Hells Lager. To celebrate the launch of IHL the brewery have undertaken 7 Days of Hell – a week of event including the Feast – ending on Saturday with a festival of cans with a pop up can off licence at the Temple of IHL (205 Royal College Street, London NW1) with 19 different canned beers from 6 different breweries.

The Feast was a lot of fun – the food was excellent. You may know Texas Joe from his appearance on Dragons Den where he got the offer of investment from Peter Jones. He was telling us last night that whilst that deal didn’t pan out the plans he talked about have all come through and his Jerky and other products are now stocked in major retailer including Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda whilst he kept all of his equity. An Actor by trade from Dallas and sporting a fabulous hat and belt buckle Joe was there to make sure his food was served well and answer any questions about it.

Well the food was lovely – particularly the brisket and jalapeño corn bread. If you’d like to try his food he’s currently in residency at British Pub of the Year 2014 The Grafton in Kentish Town. If you like your meat and American food at American portions I’d highly recommend making the trip to NW5.

So what about the beer – well IHL is 6.2% alcohol which is strong to say the least. I asked Jasper and he said that they had wanted to make it strong like an IPA and that through the breeding and fermenting process they’d managed to get this result. IHL is a labour of love. It’s brewed for nearly 6 weeks and it’s all about the hops. As Jasper told us hops, hops and more hops. He described part of the process like mashing tea but they don’t just squeeze the tea bag they also then add more hop flower.

And you know what it works. IHL is clean and crisp to drink. It has an underlying sweetness but isn’t cloying in any way. It’s not overly gassy and is easy to drink (judging by himself’s snoring this morning possibly a little too easy.

If you like your craft lager/beer and are in London it’s worth heading to Camden Town Brewery as their tap room is open Tuesday & Wednesday 12-6pm Thursday, Friday & Saturday 12-11pm (with street food in the evenings). They also run brewery tours you can book on to on Thursdays and Saturdays.

If you can’t get there look out for their beers – and hopefully you’ll get to try some IHL.

In the meantime I’m pretty sure this is going to be a three can of coke kind of day and there may be a need for a stack of pancakes!

I feel I should point out that this gush fest is not a sponsored post in any way and we paid and booked privately for our tickets to The Feast – no payment has been received though we did leave with a cheeky case of IHL to share with our friends! I