This Friday, I’ve decided to actually make an effort to go out and drink a proper pint, a few actually, including one place I’ve not yet been to. As I’m writing this introduction, I am currently sat in Tap East, drinking a pint of London Extra, one of three beers available today that have been made at the onside brewery, which is visible through the glass from the bar itself.
The beer is more or less just what I want for a first beer of the day. It’s not too challenging, yet there’s also enough flavour there to make it interesting and enjoyable. It’s the sort of beer that I can still enjoy, despite having a cold.
Enjoy it I did, along with a somewhat overpriced, yet tasty bratwurst. I now find myself at The Cock Tavern in Hackney, home of Howling Hops brewery, and sister pub of The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town. It shows. If you haven’t yet been to The Cock Tavern, but have visited The Southampton Arms, just imagine the latter, on a bigger scale. I like it, and it’s the sort of pub I’d like to see more of in West London, or Southampton for that matter.
Here I have decided to opt for half pints, and have started with a Howling Hops Five Hop IPA. I had the option of cask or keg, and decided to stick with cask for now (even though I’ll be forced to go onto keg later on, I’d rather not feel bloated too soon). I can’t tell you what the Five Hop IPA smells like, but I can say it tastes rather good. There’s a lot of flavour packed into this small glass, and quite a bit of bitterness too, but it’s not to the extreme levels that might put some newcomers off.
Following this, I find myself with a half of Otley‘s Experimental Stout, which has been described on the hand made pump clip as being “a bit Bretty”. It’s not wrong, though “a bit” may be a slight understatement. Brett is short for Brettanomyces, a form of yeast that can add sour characteristics to a beer. As a result of the Brett, this stout doesn’t really smell or taste like a stout at all, but it still tastes extremely good, and may be a struggle to beat for the other beers I drink today.
The first to try and challenge it, is Howling Hops Poacher, a green hop ale, made from hops sourced by local poacher, Jonathan Cook. The flavour isn’t really to my taste (too much bitterness with not much flavour to compensate), but it’s a well made beer, and nicely conditioned. It’s an enjoyable beer, and I am enjoying it, yet I enjoyed the Experimental Stout much more.
I’m finishing my time here at The Cock Tavern with a bottle of Kernel’s London Brick, a collaboration beer brewed with a selection of other London brewers. It’s a red rye ale, and much like its bigger counterpart, Big Brick, which I got to try last year, it tastes good. It’s relatively strong at 7.3%, but the flavour and enjoyment more than make up for it.
And so my afternoon comes to an end at Camden Brewery, where Gentlemen’s Wit is on tap, and so I have myself a Gentleman’s Wink. It’s a delicious black and tan, with the sherbet from the Gentleman’s Wit balancing against the burnt malt of the stout. It’s been a personal favourite of mine since I first had it this summer.
Following on at Camden, I’m currently on a half of Jopa, a 5.1% English pale ale. It’s not quite as flavoursome as some of the beers I’ve had today, but it goes well with the jerky I’m currently eating. To finish, I’ll be having an unfiltered Hells Lager. The Richmond to Stratford overground line is becoming a good beer line. It’s worth trying one day.
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