Moncada Brewery are based in West London, just over the Westway from where I used to work, a bit further up the road from the Turkish coffee shop I used to love and none of this has anything to do with the beer I’m about to review.
Except for the fact that the Moncada range is called Notting Hill and in having a quick look at their website I was taken back to a former life, a life in London, a life of living one end of the Central Line but working the other, of early mornings getting off the tube at Notting Hill Gate and walking down Portobello Road, the Westway looming in the distance, picking up a coffee on my way and watching the store holders opening up as I made my way to my office on the corner of All Saints Road.
If you like Moncada provided me with a psychic journey through a glimpse of my old life.
And what’s more, their beer is pretty good too, look.
Notting Hill Blonde (4.2%)
This is a terrific little bottle of beer packed full of flavour.
Pouring a sunny gold, the smell is apricots and peaches and Haribo Gold-Bears.
The flavour is like a sweet shop too, with lots of jelly sweets, tropical fruit chews, and a good glug of pear juice, all presented on a soft crusty loaf of bread.
The hops are sharp and bitter, lemon pips and lime zest.
Sweet and fruity to begin with, Notting Hill Blonde ends with a long satisfyingly dry finish.
Notting Hill Amber (4.7%)
Peaches, toffee and tamarind come wafting up from this deep amber beer.
There’s tamarind in the flavour too, and it cuts beautifully across the digestive biscuit, caramel and honey of the malts.
You also get a similar fruit juice to the Blonde floating around in the background, which I’m guessing (you know me) might be to do with Moncada’s choice of yeast.
The hopping here is sticky with pine resin, red crunchy leaf litter, and sharp as needles with grapefruit skins, and the finish here is fresh and crisp and unfortunately I knocked my glass over and spilled half of it on our new carpet.
Notting Hill Porter (5%)
Inky black and with a simple ring of bubbles for a head, the smell of Notting Hill Porter is chocolate coated prunes.
The malting is crammed with toast and plum compote, coffee and vanilla, and the hops are heavy with hedgerow leaves, woody twigs and a spoonful of bramble jelly.
All this makes for a satisfyingly thick, unctuous chocolate and honey finish.
A very good beer indeed, but to my mind the weakest of the three in that I’d like just a touch more fizz, though that may have just been this bottle.
Source: Crafti Beer