Craft Beer Co, Islington, June 2018 #2

Just a short fortnight ago since I was last here, and as it was pretty much on my route back to St Pancras, I decided to pop in for a little more refreshment on this beautiful sunny day.

The first glass of refreshment came in the form of Jubilee Anniversary Cucumber Pale Ale, a 4% cucumber pale ale from Rooster’s Brewing Co, which was very refreshing on a scorching London evening. The cucumber flavour is very subtle so don’t let that put you off. It’s almost a watermelon flavour.

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Staying with Rooster’s, there was also Helter Spelter, a 4.5% pale ale with subtle apricot tones, another nice summer beer.

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A great place to stop for a little refreshment before wandering down to catch the train home.

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Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington, June 2018 #2

A second visit this week. My course is over, and my train home isn’t for a few hours, so there’s time for dinner and a couple of beers as I wander my way through the streets of London from Old Street to St Pancras.

A couple of drinks to accompany dinner. First up, Britton, a 5% American Brown Ale brewed on site, a brown ale with good balance of malt and hops.

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I also had Chaplin, a 6% American IPA also brewed here on site. It’s sweet and malty, but your brown ale shouldn’t have more hop character than your IPA…

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After I had paid and ordered, they let me know about their secret offer where you could get three halves for a special price. Thanks for that.

Dinner next, chicken ham and leek pie with a dollop of mash and broccolini. It looks a bit uninspiring, but the pie was very tasty. There wasn’t really enough mash and the broccolini wasn’t cooked to perfection, a touch on the soggy side.

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A decent dinner though and enough to keep me going until I get back home later on.

Brewdog, Camden, June 2018 #3

Back again for some more food and football before I have to go back to the hotel and sit some mock exam papers before tomorrow afternoon’s two and a half hour exam. Oh how I’m looking forward to that.

I was pretty certain that if I chose any other pub to watch the England match, it would be absolutely rammed, and probably with some fans that I wouldn’t fancy watching football with. So I’ve returned to my World Cup safe space for some more interesting beers and a bite to eat. Beers first.

First up tonight was Gose  from Hi-Wire Brewing, a 4.2% sour with mild tartness and a subtle saltiness.

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Also accompanying dinner was Tepache  from The Wild Beer Co. I was looking forward to this one. Tepache is a traditional Mexican soft drink made from spontaneously fermented pineapples flavoured with spices. A beer version of that sounded most interesting, but there was just a very slight hint of pineapple, and a sort of cinnamon flavour lurking. Thought this one might be amazing but sadly not.

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Tonight’s burger was Cluck Norris, sesame and poppy seeded brioche bun, southern fried chicken, avocado, red onion, cajun mayo & coriander. A decent bit of fried chicken.

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That’s the end of my Camden Brewdog adventures for now. It’s still about the best bet for a decent beer around here, only Caps and Taps a little way to the north is better, and they have limited opening hours and no food, but I will get there one day.

For the record I should probably note that a much changed England side lost 1-0 to Belgium but progress to the next round to play Colombia.

Brewdog fanzine issue 6

Here we go again with the next fanzine. I think I’ve had 6 out of the 12 beers so far, and King of Eights v1, a tribute NEIPA, is about the best yet, although I’ve been saving up some of the imperial/double beers which could turn out to be better (and hopefully nothing will be worse than the small batch English IPA). Here’s what’s in the mix this time…

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Raspberry Rivet – 6.5% – “Speciality Beer”

A cranachan-inspired New England Pale Ale, brewed with the addition of raspberries and a lot of love (whatever that tastes of). Perhaps raspberry, lactose and Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo hops.

Zephyr V3 – Pina Colada – 4.6% – Sour Ale

The latest twist in the Zephyr series, a Pina Colada-inspired summer session sour, made with Perle hops and the addition of coconut, pineapple & lime.

Vinyl Vigilante – 7% – Stout

A coffee milk stout making use of bold espresso and smooth sweet mocha to mix it up, coffee and lactose added to Magnum hops.

 

The Bill Murray, Islington, June 2018

It’s Edinburgh preview season. And fortuitously I’m in London for work, although the fortune comes at a cost, five days of training and two exams, the second of which is two and a half hours long. I keep vowing to stop doing exams, and one day I will eventually keep that vow. This week however, I have a daily cycle of 20 minutes of sweaty tube journey, 90 minutes of learning, 15 minutes for a coffee, 90 minutes of learning, a sandwich in the park, 90 minutes of learning, 15 minutes for a coffee, 90 minutes of learning,  20 minutes of sweaty tube journey.

Anyway, on to the pub for a double bill of Edinburgh previews, a relaxing evening instead of doing mock exam papers. The Bill Murray is somewhere I’ve heard about quite a bit since I’m very much a follower of the live comedy “scene”. It’s a short-ish walk from Angel tube station (home to the UK’s longest escalator – one for you pub quiz fans).

Something that usually happens on these pub comedy nights is that you will bump into one or more of the acts at some point. This was in full effect tonight, as I followed opening act Sofie Hagen into the venue, and Mark Watson was hanging around at the interval before his set, and chatting with the audience. This is a proper preview experience, a small room in a pub, tiny stage, microphone, and a few lights. And the acts walk on from the back of the room, there’s no backstage area behind that curtain on the right hand side.

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On a warm night in London, a beer was needed to keep refreshed during the evening. Beer at comedy venues is generally pretty awful. The Soho Theatre try and break the mould by getting some reasonable cask ales in, but they need a crash course in how to look after cask ale, since it almost always suffers from mistreatment. And the way that the bar staff treat the beer engine, you’d think it was a piece of gym equipment with 50kg on the end of it. And they certainly don’t embrace the sparkler.

So it was a nice surprise to find a St Mungo from Glasgow’s WEST brewery, who produce all of their lagers and wheat beers in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law. A Munich style lager with a sweetness to it, and one of the best comedy venue beers that I’ve had. That is damning with faint praise, but it was good.

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As was the comedy. Sofie Hagen is trying out material for her 2019 Edinburgh show (nothing like being prepared), so the set was a proper tour through random bits and pieces that may or may not form a show one day. Mark Watson will be in Edinburgh in August (and likely touring after that), so his show was much more polished, although it got a bit derailed by someone finding a folder for him to balance his wine glass on (you had to be there). The show covers a few topics, but there is much about family and his recent-ish divorce. If I were in Edinburgh I’d be going to see the finished version, and hopefully we will catch it in Leicester or somewhere else local next year.

Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington, June 2018

A night off from revision and reading. My destination later on is The Bill Murray, a popular comedy pub venue in Islington. Before that I need some food and drink, so I thought I would pop in to Brewhouse and Kitchen, Islington, as it’s somewhere that I wandered past last month when I was at City University.

There was football on around the periphery of the pub, but no-one was that interested in it, so it’s another to add to the list of “not football venues” which you can watch the match in peace in.

First up, some Westwood Pale, brewed here on site, an American pale that’s a clean, hoppy, tropical and modern pale. Lovely easy drinking beer.

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I also had a Great Eastern India Pale Ale from Redchurch Brewery, a lovely well rounded IPA, full of balance. And they haven’t skimped on the pale either!

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Dinner was a pan seared red snapper fillet with coconut and coriander rice, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, fresh sweetcorn salsa and a soy dressing.

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As there was still plenty of time before the comedy started down the road, I had time for another, in the form of Hot Black Desiato, a milk stout also brewed here on site. As you might expect, it was sweet and creamy.

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A nice little place, and I think I’ll come back here for dinner on Friday evening as I have some time between the end of my exams and my train home.

The Crown and Two Chairmen, Soho, June 2018

Good to be back at my new favourite Soho pub after another evening at the Soho Theatre. A typically manic performance from Robin Ince (trying to squeeze a good few hours of material into an hour slot).

On my last visit, they were in the middle of a Thornbridge craft beer residency, a kind of mini-tap takeover. The next instalment of craft beer residency just happens to be up and running now. It’s an American theme this time, with Sierra Nevada and Anchor both represented here tonight.

First up was West Coast Hazy IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Yes, that’s a west cost NEIPA, very easy drinking and refreshing, and only 4.2% too.

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Alongside this was Blood Orange Blonde from Anchor Brewing Company, a rather non-descript blonde ale with not a lot of blood orange in evidence.

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Dinner was a simple pub classic, fish’n’chips. Nothing to get excited about, just plain fodder. Some pub fish’n’chips are fantastic, others are just ok. This was just ok.

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Still a great Soho pub, just avoid it at the weekends as it gets absolutely rammed! It was busier than usual because they were showing the World Cup, but the game was almost over and it soon emptied out afterwards.