Posts Tagged With: pub

Samuel Smith Bottles – A Revelation

Despite working in central London (Fitzrovia, to be precise) I haven’t been to a Sam Smith’s pub in a long time. Not since they inexplicably increased their prices, thus eliminating their major selling point. The beer has never been great, well certainly not the draught stuff but I had a couple of drinks in The Fitzroy Tavern tonight and was pleasantly surprised by their bottled fare.

The Taddy Porter is very, very nice. A bit pricey at £5.50 a bottle (albeit a 550ml) but delicious nonetheless. Roasted, malty, chocolatey and slightly sweet means that this, for me, is a very moorish sipper of a drink.

The Oatmeal Stout, also about the same price, was a little disappointing. While there were still those malty, roasted notes in the nose, there was also a lingering salt-and-vinegar aroma that got me slightly worried. It wasn’t overly present in the flavour but it did have a slightly vinous aftertaste which made it much more difficult to sip and savour than the porter.

There’s still the Organic Chocolate Stout to try, and I noticed an apricot fruit beer as well. I have tried their cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit beers, and for me, they have a very nice balance of sweet and bitterness that makes them quite drinkable, so I’ll no doubt be trying that at some point.

And from memory, their Organic Cider and Nut Brown Ale bottles are also decent if, again, slightly pricey.

So probably better if you can find their bottled range in a shop rather than pay the expensive bar prices – try Dr.Ink of Fulham or Whole Foods (Kensington or Piccadilly branches) – but I’d say the porter is now my drink of choice if I find myself in a Sam Smith’s in the near future. Considerably better than their lagers.

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The Gunmakers Beer Fest

On the train on the way home now from a lovely evening at The Gunmakers, working my way through their list of beers from London breweries. 8 on at any one time, and I believe they’ll change them through the week. A lovely, relaxed atmosphere and lots of beer-related chat from the staff and customers made for a great evening.

Sticking to halves, me and a friend tried nearly everything on the menu, highlights being the By The Horns Diamond Geezer red ale, the Cronx Dry Hop Standard and the East London Brewery Quadrant stout. All delicious in their own way.
Definitely try to go down this week while you can, a great selection and a brilliant opportunity to try some interesting London brews.

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Craft Brixton Opening

Beer. Lots of beer. That’s what comes to mind when I think of the Craft Beer Co., and their new bar in Brixton certainly has it’s fair share. Over 30 beers on tap (about 10 cask and about 20 keg) means that a trip to the bar is not as simple as “3 pints of Stella, please mate.”

But, if you ask me, that is a good thing. A very good thing. I arrived about half past 6, after a long day at work, having already decided to stick to halves so I could try more beers. The bar was quite busy, the little outside seating area already full of happy beer-lovers who somehow managed to get to Brixton on a Friday before 7. Don’t these people have jobs? Anyway, while waiting to be served and taking in the selection, I plumped for Magic Rock’s Craft Magic, brewed especially for the night. Then I thought to myself, “well, I’d usually order a pint, so why not get two halves!”. So I did. I went for a Darkstar Kiwi. The Craft Magic was good, a low ABV session ale and an easy drinker for the first of the day. The Kiwi was delicious, the light, fruty aroma of the kiwi balancing perfectly with the bitter hoppiness.

As I supped my halves at the table I managed to snag, trying to look nonchalant, drinking alone in a busy pub, waiting for my friends, I had a look around the bar. Very minimal, high tables with stools (that had pedals…) and not much else. The bar itself is a marvel, the cask pumps sitting atop the polished copper with a bar over the top for all the keg beers. Seemed a little strange to see staff pouring pints above their heads, but it’s a innovative way to use up the relatively small bar space.

The vibe was good, very busy and buzzy, but with all Craft pubs when they get busy they get quite loud and if you don’t have a seat you can feel a bit lost in the room and a bit in the way.

My friends joined and I sampled the Darkstar Belgian IPA (“Bruges in a glass”, so one of my friends proclaimed) and another beer brewed especially for the pub’s opening, the cranberry milk stout Crafty Jane from the Ilkley Brewery (like an old, warm country pub – smokey leather).

The evening progressed, the bar got busier and the waiting time for drinks got longer. But I guess that’s to be expected on the opening night, and a Friday to boot.

The real highlight beer of the evening for me was Thornbridge’s Chiron, a golden ale/blonde beer (so say’s the label) that is delicious, absolutely beautiful. A perfect balance of hoppiness, sweetness and dryness that makes it very drinkable and very moreish.
So, all in all, a very nice evening. And a great addition to Brixton and craft beer. That’s if you like beer. If not, well then why are you reading this? Honestly.

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Bibacity Map of London

New page on the blog here, long term goal of doing a beer drinker’s guide to London. Send updates and suggestions please.

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