On the way to see the mighty Hawkwind on Friday I managed to get a bit of research in. First stop was the Waterloo Tap, in a railway arch on the way to Embankment. I always like wandering around that area as it brings back memories of the fash getting turned over in '92.
Unfortunately 6.30 on a Friday is a really bad time to visit. The place was absolutely rammed, and being a bar not a pub the noise level was far too high. My brother said we should just go, but I had to point out that I wasn't there to enjoy myself, I was there for research so insisted we stayed for a beer.
The screen at the end of the bar I was at showed eight beers on, but didn't make clear which were served as god intended and which were evil keg. I did spot that a beer from Southwark brewery, the jewel of the Bermondsey beer mile, was on, but paying a fiver for a pint of bitter seemed a bit much. All the beer was pricey, and no doubt it would be even pricier at the gig, so instead of sacramentally venerating the one true living beer I started calculating what would give me the best bang for my buck. I settled on Lagunitas IPA as I'd enjoyed their hospitality when I was in the states. The beer was a blast of American hop flavour, even my lupulophobic brother could smell the grapefruit in it. It wasn't quite as good as when I'd had it previously, though whether that was due to it crossing the Atlantic or changes in share ownership I couldn't say.
Our duty done we could move on, and our next stop was the altogether more appealing Craft Beer Co in Islington. Being a proper pub not only could we actually hear ourselves think but we also found somewhere to sit down. I had a milk stout. It was too sweet. The beer was from the Summer Wine Brewery, a company that seems to have dropped off the beer geek radar a bit. Perhaps thoughts of Nora Batty hamper their attempts to get down with the craft beer kids.
It was time to move on to the gig after that, but as things worked out we had time for a swifty in a pub opposite the venue. At first glance it looked like a run down boozer, but in fact turned out to be a cocktail bar with the bizarre name of the Dead Doll's House. I don't know what that's all about.
My brother was pleased we were there as cocktails are the things he'll drink given the choice. He had an espresso martini, the posh version of red bull and vodka.
The beer choice was dire, and once again I had to drink beer from the devil's drainpipe. I had a Theakston's Peculier IPA. It was brown and sweet, so authentic, but also rubbish.
Fortunately the band were on fine form.
Widely acknowledged as the greatest band the world has ever seen, Hawkwind can be prone to instrumental noodling. Worryingly the singer did wander off stage a few times, but mostly they stuck to playing songs and very good they were too.