City Cruises has raised the bar this summer by teaming up with Gipsy Hill Brewing Company to step back in time and brew craft beer the vintage way.
Setting sail in late August three of City Cruises’ popular sightseeing boats have been loaded with six hand-made wooden barrels holding a traditional English IPA from the south London brewery. The motion of the waves combined with the delicious hops will create a craft beer sensation sure to tantalise the taste buds of beer experts and novices alike.
Wooden barrels created by the last master cooper Alastair David Simms, who began his career in 1979, will replicate those once traditionally used in beer brewing. Dating back to the 1700s, Indian Pale Ale (IPA) was once brewed in wooden barrels stowed on vessels that sailed from England to India, taking 3 – 4 months each time.
This summer will be the first time in over 100 years that a beer - brewed in hand-made barrels – will be replicating this journey.
Visitors are invited to hop onboard and learn how each barrel, and its golden liquid contents, has been carefully constructed in the traditional way. City Cruises will also host several Gipsy Hill Brewing events to celebrate craft beer and England’s glorious brewing heritage.
City Cruises’ managing director Kyle Haughton said: “Hundreds of years ago the river Thames was lined with breweries producing beer to supply local pubs and eventually the world. With our sightseeing fleet playing such a principal part of the modern-day story of the Thames, this is a way for us to connect with the history of the river and generate interest in the brewing traditions of the past.”
Gipsy Hill has been producing full-flavoured moreish craft beer in the heart of south London since mid-2014. Founder Sam McMeekin said: “In the 1700s London’s breweries became popular among East India company traders. Brewers increased the ABV and added even more hops to pale ale recipes, which acted as a preserving agent to ensure the beer survived the long journey to foreign climes. The changing climate, the wood of the hogshead barrel and the motion of the ship all helped mature the beer in a unique way. At Gipsy Hill we believe in pushing the boundaries of our trade and we want to showcase a beer brewed and matured as close to historic tradition as possible.”
This project is supported by Simply Hops, which supplies high-quality hops and hop products for craft brewers. Dan Christmas said: “This project reminds us that the old techniques of brewing have plenty to teach even the most modern of breweries and at Simply Hops, we want to be part of anything that helps brewers learn more and become better at making the greatest beers.”