Sunday 14 August 2011

The Craft Beer Co

As I'm seldom in the vanguard of the beeretariat it took me until yesterday to get to the Craft Beer Co. But never mind, if I'd wanted to be a vanguard I'd have got a job with Group 4.

We had had some concerns that our trip would have to be canceled, as earlier in the week the place had been closed due to rioting. Now I like a riot as much as the next man, but if bars are forced to close there are clearly anti-social elements at work.

As we trooped up to the pub there were plenty of drinkers standing outside so we thought the place was packed. There was plenty of space inside though, and we managed to get a seat upstairs. In the bar there's an impressive array of 16 hand pumps, but as the first two pints cost £7.10 it's not cheap. This was compounded by the fact the barman short changed me. I know these things can happen but I was especially peeved as he scurried off to bury his head in the glass washer whilst I was still counting. Still, it was a good and refreshing pint. I had Brodies Citra (3.1% ABV), made with extra pale or lager malt and, of course, Citra hops.

I followed this with a Twickenham Hornet (4.4%) which was also very pale and very hoppy. Feeling my light and dark ratio was getting imbalanced I tried finding something dark, but not entirely successfully. Darkstar Carafa Jade (5%) looked like it might be what I was after. Carafa is the name of various types of dark malt and sure enough it had a reddish brown colour, but I've since found out the "Jade" part of the name comes from the high alpha (i.e very bitter) New Zealand hop Pacific Jade, so once again I had a very hoppy beer.

Call me old fashioned but I don't like to drink very hoppy beers all the time. I enjoy malty beers too, and certainly find beers where the malt and hops are balanced much more drinkable over the course of a session. Despite the large number of hand pumps the only malty beer on offer was a mild, and it was a bit late in the day's drinking to switch to mild at this point. The lovely Lisa pointed out that the place is called the Craft Beer Co and "craft beer" seems to mean "made with loads of hops". My mate Dan had a keg stout but it was too cold and fizzy. A case of meet the new keg, the same as the old keg if you ask me.

There were a large number of bottled beers available but they were taking the piss with the prices (up £30 for a bottle of beer!) so I thought bollocks to that.

We were getting peckish at this point. Though innovative uses of pork were promised on the blackboard, with pork pies with black pudding advertised, all they had were scotch eggs. Despite them costing £3.50 we did scoff one each but it was really time to find some proper food. The first suitable place we found was a Fuller's pub called the Melton Mowbray.

To the uninitiated this might conjure images of pork pies but as a devotee I know the gray offerings of Melton Mowbray are not a patch on the pink pork products you get from butchers' shops in Yorkshire. So I had fish and chips. Despite looking like it's build into a shop unit the Melton Mowbray has the feel of a pub, not a bar, about it which is more to my taste. I washed my food down with a pint of ESB (5.5%) and followed that with a bottle of London Porter (5.4%). Contrary to the views of noted beer experts this beer is at its best when found on cask, but the bottle did restore my light/dark balance. And get me pissed, so it was time to go home next.


  1. Interesting perspective on Craft Ed. I liked it overall, but then I stuck to Cask and the house lager.

  2. It is summer, so pale and hoppy does kinda make sense ...

  3. £7.10 for 2 pints? Get down the Spoons.

  4. Yes, I started on the pale and hoppy but even in the Summer I don't like to drink pale and hoppy all the time, and with 16 hand pumps they could have had a wider selection.

    And I used to be a regular in my local Spoons but when I go out nowadays I like somewhere I can get a seat and has some atmosphere and I'm prepared to pay for it.

  5. Why does pale and hoppy "make sense" for the summer?