Redchurch – Meat vs Beer

Redchurch Brewery, Bethnal Green, London
Feb 2015

Redchurch Brewery occupies a couple of railway arches in Bethnal Green, employs about a dozen people, and brews delicious beer. Squeezed onto a mezzanine level above the brewing equipment is a cracking little taproom with a bar, some stools, a couple of tables, a wee DJ booth, and a dartboard. This is where Matt and I spent our evenings a few weeks ago sharing and pairing 6 Redchurch beers and 6 of our meats from Moons Green and Native Breeds.

Talking up meat and beer at Redchurch

Tida, Matt and Owen

We followed a simple format: handing around samples of a product while Mark, Tida, and Tim from the brewery poured glasses of the corresponding beer. Matt and I explained a bit about what we were tasting, how it’s made, why it’s made that way, and encouraged questions from the floor. The Redchurch guys did the same. We then discussed the pairing together. Repeat for 5 more rounds.

Those who joined us were as keen to learn about what we were doing as they were to taste each new round circulating. We always find this rewarding, and it made all four events great fun.

A mighty fine selection of Redchurch beers

A mighty fine selection of Redchurch beers

The pairings

Great Eastern India Pale Ale – Moons Green Slow-Cooked Orange Glazed Ham

Ham. It’s simple and everyone knows it. It’s a clear example of genuine British charcuterie, but it’s so hard to find a good one. Moons Green’s is moist without being wet, and not too salty, providing a good platform for many beers. The IPA had a rich caramel colour, with tropical fruit aromas and punchy bitterness. Citra hops brought the magic by drawing out the orange in the ham. This was one of the pairings that made something new in the mouth, and in Matt’s view, the best of the night.

Paradise Pale Ale – Moons Green Rosemary & Garlic Saucisson

Rosemary doesn’t usually find its way in to dried sausage, but why not? We think there’s no good reason, and there is loads of it about, which is why we stick it in there at Moons Green. The rosemary presents itself in the finish, and paired with the low ABV of Redchurch’s cloudy, zesty session IPA, it’s a fuzzy-head-inducing early afternoon delight. It’s more of a ‘clean washing’ match, rather than everything combining to form something new. I thought the combination was reminiscent of kicking back on a haystack in France in the summer time, or put even more succinctly by Mark, ‘grassy + grassy’. Delicious.

Shoreditch Blonde – Native Breeds Wild Boar, Juniper & Caraway Salami

This is an excellent beer, and Redchurch’s best seller; German Pilsner malt paired with the classic European hops Saaz and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. It makes for a continental style blonde ale, with a floral aroma. We brought an aged wild boar salami to the party – 7 months old rather than the normal 2-3; it was gamey but had mellowed with age, the caraway came through evenly, and because it was drier than normal, the flavour was intense. Despite being a pairing for Grown-Ups, it made for pretty easy easting and drinking.

Aged Paradise Pale Ale – Native Breeds Air-Dried Nape (Coppa)

Natural product continues to evolve over its lifespan, and the guys in the brewery observed that the longer the Paradise Pale Ale kept going, the more character it acquired, with ripe (read: stinky) tropical fruit flavours. Upon investigation, they found that it had caught a unique Brettanomyces yeast strain from the arch; in many beers it is considered a contaminant, but in certain styles it is highly prized. As a result, Redchurch has isolated the strain for future stank.

Looking for something robust to stand up to this one, we chose the Native Breeds Nape, which is cut from an older pig that generally translates to a big, deep flavour. A barny cured meat to match a funky beer. Both were aggressive and not for the faint of heart, and we found that the pairing really succeeded in what was left on the palate rather than while eating it.

Bethnal Pale Ale – Moons Green Air-Dried Pork Jowl (Guanciale)

We generally take every opportunity we can to tell people that we call this ‘Face Bacon’. And always eager to make a point about how delicious fat can be, we brought it along and told the guys at the brewery that we needed something that would cut through it and get you ready for the next slice. Step forward the Bethnal Pale Ale, malty with a clean citrus hop aroma and finely balanced bitterness. Reminiscent of the first pairing due to the citrus, but this time the beer was a palate cleanser rather than a catalyst.

Old Ford Export Stout (Barrel Aged) – Native Breeds Air-Dried Silverside of Beef with Fresh Rosemary

We’ve always thought Redchurch’s export stout was excellent, and when Mark told us they found some aged in a whisky barrel that he was sure they’d finished ages ago, it was enough to stop us talking (which is a big deal). It was amazing. 9-ish percent ABV, chocolatey with a crazy caramel aroma. We paired it with the beef to see what would happen, and it made something as close to a dessert as we have any right to expect at a Meat vs Beer event. The texture of the beef was well suited to the heavier beer, and a little sweetness was brought out of the meat; it made a kind of meaty, caramelly chew. It’s hard to communicate how appetising this actually was with words, but it was the most moreish of the bunch, and a brilliant finish. We finished the last of the barrel aged stout by the end of the weekend, so you’ll have to take our word for it.

Carnage at Redchurch Brewery - Meat and Beer


Thanks to Gary, Mark, Tida, Tim, Jessica, Spencer, Adam, and the rest of the Redchurch team for inviting us and making us feel so welcome, and thanks to London Beer Week for giving us an excuse to do it!

Keep an eye out on our Twitter feed and Facebook page for details of future collaborations.

The Meat Market

B8XEGYGIcAEL65d.jpg-largeWhat have we been up to at TCB this winter? We’re getting our retail on, starting up at two Saturday markets this year. Enter the meat market:  pastrami, smoked pork belly and ham by the slice; proper ham sandwiches; crazy spicy ‘nduja and air-dried charcuterie for your larder.

So where can you find us this and every Saturday?

British Charcuterie for sale

The Meat Market: cured beauties for sale

CRYSTAL PALACE FOOD MARKET 10-3, off the CP triangle, running between the Haynes Lane Collectors Market and Antenna Studios’ Cafe Thing. The market is a Crystal Palace Transition Town project, where you’ll find everything I miss from my first inspirational visit to the Berkeley Farmers Market in 1995: raw milk, community grown veg, gluten-free goodies, fish, biodynamic meat, hot lunches and local crafts. Perfect.

WOODGRANGE MARKET 10-4, just outside Forest Gate Station, in front of the brilliant CoffeE7. Besides us, come for tchotchkes; organic and biodynamic fruit and veg; bread; and cheese from The Forest Grater. For those making a day of it, there’s Wanstead Flats for green walks and The Wanstead Tap for craft beer, nosh, live performance, and cinema – check out E7 Magazine for weekly events. Crossrail is coming too, so hurry up and visit before EVERYONE does.

Both markets are volunteer-led and not-for-profit. We love their community driven spirit, the focus on their residents and local businesses, and the clear mark they’re making on their respective communities. Come down and support a micro economy – we hope to see you there soon!

Meat Market Hot Smoked Pork Belly

Native Breeds Hot Smoked Pork Belly 

courtesy of

courtesy of

Oktober = Beer + Sausage

While October has become a month for beer all over the world, we at TCB naturally consider it a time for sausage as well. And so begins our celebration of the wurst month ever.


Stay tuned for sausage posts from the field, as we make hundreds of them at The White Hart in Stoke Newington, make jillions of them at Native Breeds, grill them up at Beer Rebellion Peckham, and search out some new favourites across London and the UK.

We leave you with some further appreciation of sausage as a medium:

Poodle, based on Jeff Koons. Karsten Wegener, 2013

Poodle, based on Jeff Koons. Karsten Wegener, 2013

Conchita Wurst Wurst


Back To School Pork

It’s Matt here, and it’s autumn!

September feels like Back To School time no matter how old I get. I think I’ll be hard wired for it until the end. Everybody’s back in town and getting to the grind. The air of change prevails: the streets are busier, the restaurants louder, and it never hurts that the volume of our orders usually swings up.

Historically, September was also when smallholders started fattening and finishing their pigs, and getting ready to transform them into the brined, salted, cooked, fermented, dried charcuterie that would help keep them and their families in food for the winter. It’s not quite Back To School, but it’s a busy and expectant time which fits perfectly into my sense of the season.

Four years ago, I got to have both Septembers at once. I began my butchery and charcuterie training at The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck estate, where I would be for the next nine months. It was a Back To School September like I hadn’t had in 15 years, and it was awesome. Dreaming of a future in handmade cured meats, and brimming with the excitement and potential that the whole class of butchers, bakers, and cheese makers was feeling, I got busy learning and making everything I could.

Behold my first rolled pancetta, c. autumn 2010:

Matt's First Rolled Pancetta


The class watched the formidable Ray Smith whip one out in moments, and then each of us had a go ourselves. It was straightforward and difficult all at once – perfect! And so satisfying to be learning about butcher’s knots, bacon and 3D geometry all at once. The Steiner student in me had all the cross-dicsipline he could get. And I’d like to say that pork belly kept me in food all winter, but we ate it pretty quickly while I got practicing on more.

I’ve had plenty more practice since then. We’ve been rolling mountains of them in chilli this year at Native Breeds for Coppa’s second summer-long rooftop picnic (they’re only open for one more weekend this year, so hurry up and go get some).

By the way, any month can be your Back To School Pork month these days too. Among the offerings:

The School of Artisan Food currently runs short courses in charcuterie and all things handmade food, in addition to its year long diploma course in baking.

•Our Graham Waddington of Native Breeds teaches courses in charcuterie production at Humble by Nature.

In the September spirit, I wish you good learning this autumn!

The Ham Sandwich

Ham sandwich

Matt’s childhood ham sandwich on banana bread



It sounds so simple. Bread. Butter. Mustard. Ham. Even then, two of those components are arguably nothing more than distractions. But how wrong we can get it these days! After years of neglect, ham sandwiches are now a terror among pack lunch options, often thought best forgotten. But the ham sandwich belongs to Britain, and it deserves to be reclaimed as one of the best iterations of traditional British charcuterie.


The Charcuterie Board Is Here!

Charcuterie board welcomeWe’re here! If you haven’t met us yet, we’re Owen and Matt, and we are The Charcuterie Board. TCB brings you the finest British cured meats from our colleagues at Native Breeds and Moons Green Charcuteries (and we make it with them, too!). We’re also a couple of big nerds when it comes to talking about this stuff. Or anything, really.