I am always looking for new pubs to try in London, particularly near our flat. Yesterday, being let loose on my own, I set off to Brick Lane for my daily walk and found myself strolling into the Pride of Spitalfields, hoping to find Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold. It was on, but a few degrees too warm, which had knocked a little of the condition out, but it was still palatable enough. I sat outside watching the amazingly varied passers by in this very multi cultural area, while chatting to a Cockney Sparrow, who had also availed himself of the sunny weather for some al fresco supping. This is one of the delights of pub drinking, the casual conversation about this and that which makes you feel part of things.
Continuing along Brick Lane, I noted with pleasure that that there are still a number of little Asian caffs where you can get a cheap curry based snack or a couple of samosas. These, like their Manchester cousins, provide value and genuine home cooking. Far better than the flashy lookalikes which predominate in Brick Lane now. Passing Truman's Brewery is always a bit sad I feel. The mighty place still stands, much as it was. The registered office with its black eagle emblem is still there, but it now is full of arty farty cafes, galleries and clothes stalls. Times change.
I pressed on until I came to Cheshire Street and went along, simply because I had never done so. More clothes shops and galleries, until I happened on a little pub, the Carpenter's Arms. It looked neat and clean, so in I went. It was a typical old back street boozer, gentrified and gastro pubbed, but in a pretty good way. Original fittings and bare boards had been augmented by pot plants and candelabra, to tasteful effect. I liked it. Three handpumps dispensed two beers from Adnams, plus TT Landlord which I had and which was excellent. In addition there was draught foreign beers, with Duvel Green catching my eye and a number of bottled beers too, some interesting, but all maybe a tad expensive. I was the only customer, so had a good look round. There was a room at the back too and I noted with some surprise an etching of the Kray brothers on the wall in the bar. The barman told me the pub used to be owned by the Krays, with their mother as license holder, as they were ineligible due to their criminal records. Interesting.
I had to try the Duvel Green, given that Boak and Bailey had talked about it recently and did so for a reasonable £2.50 a half. Quite spicy from the Styrian Goldings, soft and very drinkable, but oddly vegetal in the finish, I marvelled at how the alcohol was so hidden. You wouldn't know it was nearly 7%. It was good. I'll have it again and will certainly visit the Carpenter's Arms again too.
Walking back home, I slipped into a little cafe for a couple of samosas. Gorgeous they were, but 50% dearer than Manchester. Expensive place London, but yesterday was still perfect. Sun shining, a nice new pub and a walk round my favourite East End. Marvellous!
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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