Lime Berliner Bikers and Passion Fruit Goses
Wild Card Brewery cycle club ride – 27.06.20
This week’s Tour de Hops cycle club ride takes us all the way across London to Wild Card Brewery in Walthamstow. On our ride we endure a lot… losing a cleat? Check. Persistent rain? Check. Unnatural tunnelled headwinds? Check. Awesome beer? Double check.
Our second ever Tour de Hops ride draws 7 different riders (seven!). This includes myself (Haydn) on my Charge, Joey on a Carrera, Paddy riding a Specialised Hybrid, Bliss riding a Fuji road bike, Rob on a hybrid and Kyle and Matt sporting the ever popular Lime hire bikes.
This sporadic array of bike types made us look a little like the lost boys from Peter Pan, riding rag tag on whatever we can get hold of.
All in all, we ride 48km at an average speed of 16.6km/h (although some did ride further to make it to the start line). Read on for some of the highlights:
Like that scene in Jurassic Park…
Our ride starts like that scene in Jurassic Park, you know the one. Where they’re stuck in the SUVs and the rain is pouring, the electric fence is out and there’s a shudder that makes the water shake (spoiler: it’s a T-Rex).
Well, it was just like that. Except there were no dinosaurs, no SUVs, no electric fences, just rain. And a lot of rain at that.
We start in South Park Gardens in Wimbledon where we pick up our first riders (myself, Joey, Paddy and Bliss). Most of us are blissfully under-dressed for the rainy ride – except Bliss who plays the part of a real Belgian tour rider.
Leaving Wimbledon, we head North West across the rainy streets of South West London. We whizz past By The Horns brewery and the future AFC Wimbledon stadium before hitting our first hill on Burntwood Lane towards Wandsworth.
We conquer this first hill easily and notice the rain has kept the masses off of Wandsworth Common. We ride on past Belleville brewery and make our way down Nightingale Lane to Clapham South where we pick up our fifth rider, Rob.
From here, we join Cycle Superhighway 7 at Clapham South and ride it all the way up to Elephant and Castle.
Two cleat or not two cleat
Two cleat, or not two cleat, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to pedal
The streets of London with outrageous terror,
Along Cycle Superhighway 7 around Kennington, I realise I can no longer click my cleat into place. My right foot sticks to the pedal but my left slides limply out of place every time I increase my cadence.
I pull over and check, I’ve snapped the top of my cleats off and will be “not two cleat”-ing for the remainder of the ride. Joy.
Riding with cleats is one of those things that changes the way you cycle. It can be pretty terrifying at first but it gets easier and you learn to pedal in a totally different way. If you haven’t tried it yet, I can’t recommend it enough.
What I don’t recommend however, is breaking a cleat 10km into a 50km ride. Having one foot locked in and one slipping all over the place makes it incredibly difficult to ride consistently. Especially in the rain.
I use that as my excuse for dropping to the back anyway…
Lime Berliner bikers or Lime Bikeliner Weisse… I’m sorry
As we battle our way through the barrage of traffic that is Dalston (wow that place is not fun to ride) into Stoke Newington. We pick up the first of our Lime bike contingent – Matt.
Matt has grown one hell of a lockdown beard and wears a T-shirt with the slogan “Huck it” on. He boasts about the electric boost that his lime bike will give him. And he’s not wrong, despite his bike weighing a total of 4 tonnes, he keeps up through the streets of Stoke Newington, Tottenham and Walthamstow.
The taproom is on a road called Lockwood Way it’s the 6th or 7th turn up Blackhorse Lane. You can’t miss it, they’ve got a big beer sign and a stand at the front of the brewery with a collection of beers on. They’re selling both cans and draught beer fresh from the brewery just 20 metres behind them.
If you’re not local and want to get your hands on some of their beer, they do both local and nationwide delivery – check out their store here.
As we arrive, we’re greeted by the second of our Lime bikers who in true lime bike tradition has grown out a great big bushy lockdown beard, looking sharp Kyle!
We’re welcomed to Wild Card by a friendly team member who tells us that Andrew has organised a few glasses to go with our beers (thanks so much guys). We package up a couple of Teku glasses and a few classic pint glasses and hope to god that they don’t end up in pieces by the time we make it back to Wimbledon.
The team pick a variety of the beers that are on offer and load them into various bags and baskets - this is where the Lime bike’s front basket comes into its own.
We also make sure to grab a few of Andrew Birkby’s recommended NEIPA from our interview with him last week. He says, “I always point people to our NEIPA. It's really soft, lush and bursting with mango and citrus flavours."
Now, I’m not usually a fan of NEIPA’s they tend to be a little too big and sweet for me. However, Wild Card’s NEIPA is different, it’s really drinkable.
It’s much subtler than some others in the same style. The base of the beer has a lot of malt character and there is a nice bitterness that comes from quadruple hopping. The tropical mango fruit flavours pop really nicely and, while the body is thick, it isn’t overly so.
It’s a real refreshing beer with full on tropical fruit flavours balanced nicely over that IPAesque bitterness.
Green spaces, do-gooders and good Goses
We leave the brewery and cycle on to a local green space.
We won’t name this green space because, as we found out, you’re not actually supposed to drink there. Not being from the area, we innocently missed the signs telling us we couldn’t drink alcohol.
All we will say is that the green space is beautiful, there is an awesome view of the new Spurs stadium and the reserve is full of wonderful staff members who keep the likes of us in line.
We’re super sorry for breaking the rules and we promise we won’t do it again.
Cheers to you Walthamstow Wetla… sorry Walthamstow Green Space team.
At our illegal green space stop off, the team crack a couple of Cashmeres, a few DDH IPAs, one or two of the core range pale ales and IPAs and the recently released Tribute IPA which was brewed on International Women’s Day as a collaboration between hundreds of women from across the brewing industry.
And you know what, they’re all pretty damn good.
We also try the Table Beer, again on Andrew’s recommendation; “Our Table Beer. It is light on ABV (2.7%), with a full body and packed full of flavour. It won a Champion beer award at SIBA South East's Keg Beer Competition this year.”
Now, this is one hell of a beer.
Tiny in ABV% (only 2.7%) but the most flavoursome table beer I’ve tried – it’s one of my favourite styles.
This is the perfect beer for the halfway point of a cycle ride. It’s beautiful to look at - bright yellow – it's hazy and it's bursting with tropical fruit flavours and aromas that you wouldn’t expect from such a low ABV beer.
Top marks from me.
While the Table Beer was pretty great, there is only one true winner. And without a doubt, that has to be the Passion Fruit Gose.
Passion Fruit Gose
For those of you who haven’t tried a Gose before, they’re a German style wheat beer often brewed with salt and occasionally with coriander seeds. They’re super sour and often fruity.
Wild Card’s effort is a real stunner. Mouth puckeringly tart, with Passion Fruitiness all the way through. A light carbonated body and a lingering sweetness. This is the kind of beer that you could sit in the sun with for an entire afternoon. And at just 4.8% it’s totally sessionable.
The best thing about the Gose is that as soon as we crack it open, the clouds open up and we get 30 minutes of glorious sunshine.
If that’s not a sign, then I don’t know what is.
Heading home in headwinds
The ride home takes us back much the same way as we came in so there isn’t a huge amount to sing about.
Except for the headwinds.
As we ride past London Liverpool Street we’re hit with an almighty headwind. The tall buildings create a wind tunnel and we’re blown back with every pedal push. It feels like we’re battling our way up the Great Glacier on the original Final Fantasy 7 game (if you know, you know).
We fight through to London Bridge with the only casualty being Paddy’s hat. The wind catches it and he drops his bike and chases after it as it blows into a building site.
To finish the ride, we continue over London Bridge, re-join Cycle Superhighway 7 and ride through to Clapham Common where we sit and enjoy a final beer in the sun (and wind).
Thanks so much to everyone who joined us on this ride and particularly to Hillcroft Lacrosse who supplied four of our riders. A huge thanks to Wild Card Brewery for being such sporting hosts and gifting us some wonderful Teku glasses for the collection.
Here at Tour de Hops we run small group cycles to independent London breweries and post about it every other week. Each write-up includes ride highlights, beer reviews and snippets from an interview with each brewery.
We visited Wild Card Brewery on the second Tour de Hops cycle club brewery ride on Saturday 27th June 2020.
To go alongside our ride, we interviewed Andrew Birkby, co-founder of Wild Card Brewery. You can read that full interview here.
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