Surprisingly, to me anyway, there is a bus a five minute walk away from home number 2 in London E1, direct to the door of the Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington. Stoke Newington sounds far away and exotic, but despite the half hour plus on the bus, it is only two or three miles away from the City and is a posher pause on a cosmopolitan journey which takes you from a war damaged and never repaired East End, through to Vietnam and Turkey all on the same straight road. From the top of the 67 you could see the changing environment, with so many pubs that are no more, but once populated every corner. A lost world and a reminder that fings ain't wot they used to be.
Pete Brown wrote about the Jolly Butchers here and we thought it worth a visit despite the somewhat ambivalent remarks in some pub comment sites. To me, it seemed to be trying to do something right and different. We arrived at around 15.30 and Sunday lunch was still in full swing. The pub seemed populated by Observer subscribing couples, studiously reading the unreadable, while ignoring each other and a plethora of young people drinking coloured cider. It was an anthropologist's wet dream. We were singularly disconcerted to find ourselves the oldest there by a good 20 years.
The beer choice was good. Two from Dark Star, one each from Thornbridge, Brew Dog, Crouch Vale and Brodies. I started on the Brew Dog Trashy Blonde which was tired really, with diactetyl and wet dog - no pun intended. E had Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold which was as good as it always is. Then a couple of Dark Star American Pale which didn't disappoint. But we both knew that the real draw was yet to be sampled. Jaipur. That's your man. It was full of condition and so very tasty.
We had a great spot from which to observe proceedings and you know, we both liked the place enormously. It was buzzing and pleasant, light and airy. The food looked good, the place was clean and well looked after and the staff were unremittingly pleasant and helpful. You could tell the intentions are good. It is a big space though and it may not be so conducive on a wet Monday night, but putting that thought aside, we'll certainly go back.
Of course there has to be a down side. Stupid, handled, dimpled glasses do nothing for the presentation of modern beer and of course we come to temperature. All the beers varied between 17 and nearly 19 degrees C. What is all that all about? Getting the cellar and dispense temperature so wrong is spoiling a good ship for a hap'orth of tar. This is a good place. It should be great. Sort it out.
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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