Some of the highs and lows of a day out in London.
Another London trip, another visit to Kernel. Can you visit London without going via Bermondsey? It may be possible, but not in my experience. A lot of choice. Actually a lot of strong choice. Apart from Table Beer, there was Pale Ale Summit at 5.2%, and then the only way was up, as they say. Nothing much of supping strength. But what about London Sour, I hear you ask? Well yes, they did have that. Indeed two new varieties of this 2.3% oddity. One that had been aged in a white wine barrel and one-wait for it-that had been aged in a red wine barrel. Call me boring, because I know barrel-ageing is all the rage in craft land, but I much prefer the original. The wood and acetic nature of these have transformed a pleasurable puckerish beer to some sort of (yawn) Belgian Lambic hybrid. Luckily there was Motueka, Centennial, Nelson Sauvin, Zeus to finish on.
Old Brewery, Greenwich
Ah, the Old Brewery. Probably the best outdoor spot in London. A place where you can sit back and watch the hustle and bustle whilst enjoying some of Meantime’s finest. And pay for the privilege. Which brings me on to the strange incident of the cockney sparrow barmaid. Now she may have been a learner (she was young) but then it’s down to training. Perhaps she’s somebody’s girlfriend. Or maybe it was just my gruff Northern accent that threw her, but things didn’t go well. Having firstly served someone else out of order, I finally got her attention.
"Have you got any Helles on at the moment?
Eh? Hell-ass? What’s that?
Er, it’s one of your beers.
No, we ain’t got none of that.
Ok. What about some Kellerbier?
Eh? Cans? Nah, we don’t do cans."
The barman stood next to her then intervened and explained to her what Kellerbier is and what beers they had on. Skip forward to her furnishing me with a taster of Pacific Pale. No sooner had I put the glass down after taking a sip-and I’ve never encountered this before-than it was swiped from my grasp, tipped into a pint glass and duly topped up from the font. I was somewhat bemused, I must say and not really the service I would expect at £5 a pint. Their own beer wasn’t particularly good and I soon swapped to Darkstar Hophead.
Draft House, Seething Lane
As described by Tandleman here. It is an impressive place and in a good location. No problem with background noise on my visit but it was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon. A good selection of 6 casks and numerous fonts and bottles; all at top dollar, though, it has to be said. Oh and a gigantic HD projector screen. Given the pricing and modernity, it was a shame that the cask: Red Squirrel Red Tail Citra was warm and flabby. I shall be visiting again shortly and will be very interested to see if conditions are the same.
This outpost of the Euston Tap is handily located on Sicilian Avenue and offers the good selection of cask and keg that you would expect. And, just like the beer, the pizza is reasonably priced as well. I must commend the excellent barstaff in here as well. We’d come in the expectation of finding Summer Wine Diablo on and we weren’t disappointed. Pints were soon being sunk al fresco.
This Victorian street-corner boozer, sat in the shadow of the famous Windmill theatre, is the latest unexpected convert to the craft beer cause. I’ve been keen to visit since hearing good reports about it and I have to say that on this, albeit brief, visit, it lived up to expectations. Smartly done-up, it has retained its traditional layout. It’s small and, given its location, would probably be busy anyway. But the additional bonus of being Soho’s go-to craft beer pub means that it’s going to be pretty full at peak times. Still, the staff were very helpful and the beer was on good form. Six handpulls graced the bar -I went for Triple fff Citra Sonic-along with a good selection of craft keg and bottles such as Kernel. Another one to visit next time.