According to "Walk It", it's 4.7 miles from our flat in the East End to Cask in Pimlico. The weather was fine, so with the promise of a new pub (to us) with decent beer, we set off in good heart, wending our way past St Paul's with it's shroud of tourists and on through the still interesting Fleet St and in to the heart of London, looking up as we always do, as that's where you see the most interesting stuff. We even paused briefly to look at Dr Johnson's house which is hidden like so much of London up an unassuming passageway. We then discovered where the RV1 bus departs to Tower Gateway, so it was a useful walk too.
We paused for a pee stop in the Lord Moon of the Mall and sampled Brewster's Ice Queen which while pale and in good nick, just didn't hang together as a beer well enough. Pity as I've heard some good things about Brewster's Brewery. On the last leg now, down the Mall, past the Houses Of Parliament, along Millbank, take a right and a left and suddenly, ten minutes from the bustle, you are in quiet suburbia, with interesting 1930's social housing intermingled with rather grand homes. This is the fascination of London - a surprise round every corner.
Cask is easy to find on a corner of rather interesting housing. Modern and clean inside with big windows, it is an attractive room with a well positioned bar at one end, bristling with interesting stuff. For a start I've never seen Rothaus beers on draught in the UK or, for that matter, outside GBBF or NWAF, Keesman Herren Pils, so you get the impression right away that these guys are on a mission. There are some interesting Belgies too and a fridge full of decent and unusual bottles. Add eight handpumps and you know things are going to be pretty good. We started on Dark Star Hophead which to be honest wasn't on top form. Six Hop next and that wasn't that great either. At 6.2% it was alcohol, not hops that dominated and it wasn't in top condition. Was this going to be a disaster? No. Thornbridge Kipling was superb. Delicately balanced between juicy malt and zinging hops, it was a melange of tropical and citrus fruit and simply delicious. I didn't try anything else. I'm of the ilk that when I find something I like, I stick to it, so I did, but it seems I just missed Young Dredge - pity that - and no doubt he'll have denuded his wallet on some of the foreign stuff and will give his views.
So is Cask good? It is, though it's a difficult room in which to generate atmosphere, even when fairly busy as it was when we left. Other quibbles include no obvious price list for the clearly expensive beers (all cask seemed to be £3.10 a pint) and the sole staff member was pretty uncommunicative, which is a pity, as you really need to generate enthusiasm from behind the bar in this kind of a place. Having said that the balance is overwhelmingly positive.
Will I go back? Definitely.
I won't mention the awful bus journey home though!
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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