It seems that a fair chunk of London's new wave of brewing is concentrated in the east of the city. This is handy as when I am there, that's where I'm concentrated too. So, after a fairly civilised session at the London Drinker Beer Festival, it was time to up the octane trendiness wise. Unfortunately, there wasn't time to grow a neatly trimmed, but astonishingly bushy beard, but compromising by way of our tightest fitting clothes, we headed off up to and across Commercial Road, on to Whitechapel Road, then just before it becomes Mile End Road, left into Cambridge Heath Road, passing on the way, many interesting looking pubs of shall we say, a basic nature and a little portion of what appeared to be a market in Bangladesh after a typhoon. Nobody paid us the least bit of attention. It wasn't hard to find our destination thanks to Google and after a shimmy under a railway bridge, a sharp right and we were there. Redchurch Brewery is in a a set of railway arches, so typical of London micro brewers. The bar is upstairs and only open on a Thursday night, hence my determination to get there. Showing what a small world the world of beer geekery is, I bumped into Mark of Beer, Birra. Bier on my way upstairs. He was busy brewing on a small pilot kit with his home brewing pals. Upstairs in the bar was Rich of Beercast, though that was less of a co-incidence as he'd told me earlier he'd be there. Seems he thought he'd be gone by then, but had been gripped by the demon drink (or was it the attractive lass he was talking to?) and was still giving it laldy.
The space is a modern, open one, with a small bar in a corner at one end, a few easy chairs, high tables and the like dotted about and a lot of thin beardy men. Beer is keg and dispensed American style from taps in the wall, supplemented by bottles. I decided to start with Shoreditch Blonde on draught, which I didn't like much, though according to the barman, is their biggest seller. It was astonishingly highly carbonated, with a sherbet lemon nose, palate numbing cloves, though hoppy and bitter enough. E was luckier with Bethnall Green Pale. This had good pine resins, clean and bitter hoppiness throughout, but the body was made rather thin by excess carbonation. As we sipped, we looked round at the gathered throng (not a big throng, but perfectly formed) and noted the high hipster content, including one bearded gent who, rather like a none too subtle shoplifter, had a (very well behaved) baby tucked up his jumper. He cooed to it from time to time, while his lass chatted to her mates. That was nice.
Things looked up with Brick Lane Lager in bottle. This was the business though. Loads of C hops, a decent body and that elusive drinkability, was just what was required. I finished with an impeccably good porter on draft, which was smooth, liquoricey and contained more resinous C hops and a hefty swipe of alcohol and an equally good Hoxton Stout, which certainly hit the spot body and hop wise. They were very good indeed and I recommend them highly. So all in all, I reckon these guys are on the right tracks. It was well worth a visit, so why not make the journey? Beers were (I think) £3 a bottle and around £2.50 a half.
The bus was our preferred journey home, straight to Aldgate, but of course after that sipping I fancied something to actually drink, so we called into our favourite local. The barman called us both by our names despite not seeing us for several months, there was a sing song to Delilah (and many subsequent songs) on the go with the jukebox in full swing. There was much merriment and a lock in.
You probably don't get that kind of malarkey in Hipsterville, but room for both I'll happily say.
More on the smallness of the geeky world in a subsequent post.
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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