Posts Tagged With: shop

North London Beer Expedition

There are 2 beer shops that I have long heard about but had never visited as they are in north London, and I don’t usually have much business being in those parts. Which is unfortunate, given the crop of craft and real ale pubs up that way.

It was a lovely, sunny, autumnal day yesterday, so I decided to venture to the two hallowed beer shops of Kris Wines and Drinkers Paradise to see if they were up to all the hype I had read and heard about over the years.

On my way up north, I also popped in to St. Pancras station to have a look at Sourced Market, which I had seen listed as a stockist on the London Fields Brewery site. And very impressed I was too, a surprising selection for such a location: Camden, Moncada, London Fields, Beavertown, Windsor & Eton and Kernel from London, and a good range of real ales from around the country. The prices were a touch high, but not bad considering its location.

So on I went, up York road in the sunshine, past the now derelict York Road tube station, until I reached the parade of shops just before you get to Camden Road. And there, with its shutters down was Kris Wines. God damn it. Well, it was about 12:45pm, so I figured I’d walk to Drinkers Paradise and hope that Kris Wines would open up about 1pm.

Drinkers Paradise is a good little shop. Not blown away, but certainly a much better selection than your average off-licence. Possibly not worth a journey to go there specifically, I’d say, but pop in if you’re in the area. I got myself a Little Brew pale ale (a local Camden brewery), and Eistök pale ale (which I’m seeing around more and more).

So then I went back to Kris Wines and it was open! And, Lordy, what a shop. An overwhelming selection of beers from all over the world; a section of Belgian beers, a whole shelf devoted to Mikkeller, little nooks and crannies filled with craft beers. I could have spent hours and lots of money in there. But, I only had £6 on me (for reasons I won’t go into) and I had to carry what I bought down to Camden. So that limited me to 2 beers. One choice was the London Fields Love Not War because I have, as yet, not tried anything from them. The second choice was tougher and took me a good 15 mins to decide. I finally plumped for the Kernel Porter, as I seem to be exploring the darker beers at the moment (after trying the Sambrooks porter at their brewery bash – it’s opening up a whole new, roasted, toasted world to me!). Kris Wines is definitely worth the hype, and definitely worthy of a trip. Just make sure you take money and a means to carry your spoils, as it’s no fun having to choose only 2.

Then I strode off towards Camden to meet a few friends (with a brief stop to watch 6 middle-aged women trying to negotiate Camden lock with a narrow boat, whilst 2 guys from Amsterdam criticised their every move). The first stop was The Black Heart, as I had heard about their range of craft beers and real ales. The selection was pretty good (Camden, Darkstar, Moor, By The Horns, Brooklyn) but the setting wasn’t. You’re definitely in Camden. It’s also a venue upstairs and feels like it – a bit dingy, bad toilets and not great for a quiet afternoon drink. Still, we stayed to sample their wares, highlights being the Stiff
Upper Lip from By The Horns, and the Darkstar Revelation.

We wanted a bit of food so we ventured to the BrewDog just round the corner. The 5am Saint was very, very good. We ordered food – a pizza and a burger – which took nearly an hour to come. After asking a few times where the food was, the staff simply said it was on its way, not offering an apology. The food came, it was good, but as I’ve mentioned before, when that place gets busy it gets very loud. After the food we decided to call it a night, which was a shame as I didn’t get to try Hello My Name Is…Beastie which I’d heard a lot about. Perhaps I’ll have to pop back soon on a quieter night.

All in all, a lot of walking, a lot of beer, and a lot of discovery.

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Categories: Beer, Craft Beer Stockist, Pub, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Rocky Head Launch

I had a lovely afternoon today (after waking up a teensy bit hungover from an evening at Craft) visiting my favourite beer shop, Drink of Fulham for the launch of Rocky Head Brewery.

The new London brewery is based in Southfields, south west London (and about a 5 min walk from my flat) and is the weekend hobby for the two brewers, Steve and Pete, who are wine merchants Monday to Friday.

They are currently only brewing a Pale Ale while they build up their reputation and profile but will expand to other brews in time. The Pale Ale is, I think, one of the nicest beers I have tasted. Loads of hoppy flavour, as you’d expect from a pale ale, but a nice smooth finish that doesn’t grip your tongue like other pales can. Very well balanced, it’s a really good beer with bags of flavour, and so good to see something a little different from a local microbrewery.

They hand bottle and label themselves, and stamp each one with a “Bottled On” date, making it feel very hand crafted. Their artisan approach to brewing means that while they try to make each batch the same, differences in hop yield, malts and the small quantity of beer brewed will result in slight variations in each individual brew, giving an interesting variation. Much like the wines with which they are both well acquainted.

The beer was matched with various Gujarati snacks from Shrila, the owner of Drink of Fulham, who had enough faith in the brewery to host the launch before even tasting the beer.

The only tough part was then choosing which beers to take away. So to ease the pain, I had a Rocky Head Pale Ale while I perused. And now, as I’m writing this, I’m drinking the beers I purchased earlier today. Nothing like writing about beer while you drink it.

I will follow this fledgling brewery closely, I think they have a bright future ahead of them. And I will also be back to Drink soon to stock up on some more of their pale ale, and I recommend you do too.

Categories: Beer, Craft Beer Stockist | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The People’s Supermarket

So, on this mission to delve into the world of craft beer in London, I have realised that there are many places I don’t know about. For example, until 2 weeks ago I didn’t know By The Horns Brewery was 5 minutes from my flat. But then that’s one of the things I love about London; there will always be so much to discover.

Anyway, whilst looking into Little Brew, I noticed The People’s Supermarket in Bloomsbury listed as a stockist. I’d never come across this shop before and since it was only a 10 min walk from my work I decided to pop in on the way home. Didn’t have a chance to have a look around the shop as I was drawn to the shiny bottles in the corner. And boy, the sight that greeted me! Lots of lovely London craft beers – Camden, Little Brew, Meantime and Redchurch. Amazing. One of the assistants did give me a bit of an odd look when I took a photo of their fridge, though. But that’s understandable.

Regretfully, I didn’t buy anything, but I will be back soon and that will be a heavy, clinky walk to the station. Probably get some strange looks on the train. I should get used to that.

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Drink of Fulham

I stumbled across this wonderful little place on Fulham Palace Road shortly after it opened a couple of years ago, enticed in by the quaint cafe/boutique feel of it – a big, black awning and a couple of tables out the front.

On entering, you are greeted by the wonderful sight of nearly floor-to-ceiling walls of beer. And although quite small, the selection of beers is truly excellent. Lots and lots of British beers and ciders, plus German, Czech, Belgian, French, American, Australian and a range of interesting world lagers too (China, Kenya, Laos, Morocco etc). There are a couple of fridges for most of the lagers and ciders, just in case you want to crack one open while you’re there, either to retire to a table outside or simply while you’re browsing the rest of their stock.

The other great thing about Drink of Fulham are the homemade curry pastes and other Gujarati treats – simply excellent. Made with a tomato and onion base, the spices are added in front of you so you can have it as hot as you like.
I always stock up on a few pastes when I make a beer run here.

The staff are very welcoming and friendly; I remember one time I was there while a man (a Canadian brewing Belgian beer) was giving a bottle of his brew to Shrila, the owner, to try. She promtly popped it open, shared it around the customers in the shop and then whipped out some tasty little snacks that went very well with the beer. Like I say, very welcoming and friendly.

AND, they also do monthly beer tasting events featuring home-cooked Gujurati cuisine.

The website is very well kept, with pretty much full listings of the beers they stock, along with details of upcoming events and the full curry paste and food menu.

An absolute gem of a shop, and definitely worth a trip.

Categories: Craft Beer Stockist | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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