Friday, 15 February 2008

Pembury Perspective

When you read about "must visit" pubs in London the Pembury Tavern in Hackney always gets a mention. Good enough for me, so I went there today. Now everyone thinks London is a rich place. Go to Hackney and you might just think otherwise. Leaving the station you encounter LCC flats that escaped the Luftwaffe and in the middle distance loads of high rise flats which presumably took the place of those that didn't. The general ambience is Toxteth or inner city Leeds. It would take an optimist to think this into the next place to invest.

The Pembury is easy to find. Turn right out of the station and at the bottom of the road, there it is, built in 1930's Stalinist style. Its a big bugger inside with a long bar sporting about 14 handpumps of which 10 were on the go. Decor is minimalist. The wooden floor is a wonder. Truly. It is a beauty.

I stumped the very friendly barman right off. I asked for something pale and hoppy. Not possible. Out of 10 handpumps, none, most from the owning company Milton of Cambridge, could oblige. What? I decided to go dark instead. The Minotaur Mild was dark and inoffensive. Earthy, dry and charcoal tasting. The Nero Stout was curious with an odd , chalky, malted milk taste leading to a dry charcoal, milky finish. A strange beer. Next up was Pegasus, a brown, malty beer with stewed rhubarb and gooseberry notes. A tart short finish mercifully ended this experience. Lastly, by way of a change, I had Milestone Loxley, a sweet lychee and apricot tasting beer that needed a kick up its arse to perk it up.

I tried to like the Pembury and didn't dislike it, but it is dominated by an ordinary brewery and was almost deserted. The condition of the beer was OK, but on the warm side. Maybe when it is heaving it would be better. I am not sure I really think so though.


Tyson said...

A must see pub that was more don't bother! That's what happens when so so breweries get pubs. I don't think Milton do hoppy, although I think Electra is probably the nearest to what you were after.

Bailey said...

There are normally at least three pale, hoppy beers on -- all tasting rather similar. Of the Milton range, I like Pegasus, Nero and Marcus Aurelius. The main appeal of the Pembury is the sheer range of guest beers and the German stuff in the fridge. If I love Germany so much, why don't I go and live there?

Tandleman said...

Bailey - If I was 25 years younger I'd go and live in Germany! Seriously I would. I love it there. I'm looking forward to our trip to Zeigeist later today, but first "Fiddler on te Roof". I know. I know.