Wednesday, 22 December 2021

The Blackhorse Road beer mile

 As a #PubMan at this time of year I should be whinging about it being amateur season with groups of people paying for drinks individually or ordering Guinness last. But despite my best efforts in the past week to support pubs I've had to do disturbingly little queueing. A beer launch up in Bethnal Green saw a busy table but not a busy pub. My local, in which I drink regularly, was fairly busy but at this time of year it should be like sardines. As for Walthamstow, read on:

Our first stop on the Blackhorse Road beer mile was at a pub and it had beer served as god intended. Which I have to say is an improvement on certain other beer miles I could mention. Sadly, the Tavern on the Hill was practically empty. I mean we were starting early but still. 

Not even the wonderful stained glass windows in the bog could attract many punters:

After that it was on to tap rooms. 

High Hill Tap had found a way to suck out even more of the charm of drinking in a large warehouse whilst sat on picnic tables by adding a giant telly screen. The beer, though served from the devil's drainpipe, was OK though and the staff were nice. 

Lot's of shiny cyclindroconical fermenting vessels but crappy looking brewhouse kit:

Then we went opposite to Wild Card tap room, which had also gone for shiny cyclindroconicals and crappy brewhouse kit:

Again it was only beer served from the devil's drainpipe, and for ye of little faith that think serving beer on keg means higher quality than cask you're sadly mistaken. The pale ale and IPA were both sour and so were taken back. The person behind the bar poured himself a sample to check but after his face turned as sour as the beer we were given a refund. Two infected beers in a tap room was not good so we moved on rather than trying anything else. 

Beerblefish was another kettle of fish, being smaller with less money but better beer. 

They did have beer on handpump, and despite one of the beers being Bretted the other beer hadn't been inadvertently infected so thumbs up for them.

Exale had some bigger and shinier kit...

...and Monkey seemed to have parked his cloud there, though sadly I didn't see him. 

Lots of distilling in the lab too for some strange reason. The beer was all keg.

Proper big budget arrived when we got to Signature brew. I'd heard at an IBD dinner they're putting out 25,000hl a year, though I must admit I can't recall seeing their beers in the wild. 

The room by the bar was fairly busy...

...but the hall by the indoor tanks with a giant telly screen was almost deserted. I guess it's not just me that thinks giant telly screens are a bad idea. Keg only again.

Truman's Social Club was the busiest place.

Though being the biggest it was still half empty. 

The had Laine's cask beer on, don't know what happened to Truman's. Still, even if there had been Truman's on I'd have gone with Laine's as I have a working relationship with them as close as lips and teeth. 

Perfectly decent it was too. 

There were a couple of large disused tanks in the beer hall which I also thought didn't bode well for Trumans brewery but who knows?

We called it a day at that, which left me in the rare position of being able to walk in a straight line after a research trip. 


  1. Pretty decent Laines beer now that is a surprise.

    1. Well it was no Landlord but I'd have happily had another. Any particular reason you don't rate Laine's? I did hear from one of their brewers they had a bad reputation but he blamed that on previous owners.

  2. When they had brewpubs in london the beer was lacking in flavour.the exception was the one in the east end whose beers were pretty good.Tried there mango pale a few weeks ago to see if it had improved but still a dud. Cheers

    1. Ah, yeah don't think I'd go for Mango.

    2. Do Laines do the Beerkat pubs? Been meaning to check out the one in Ealing at some point

    3. Yes, I think they do. I'll check with the Laines people tomorrow.

  3. I've quite enjoyed Laines beers to ge fair, but their (?) pubs seemed to take the mickey on pricing, particularly spirits.

    Are they anything to do with a mystery beer called People's Champion that Punch supplied to my old Waterbeach local recently, Ed ?

    1. They're owned by the same company as Punch but still have some separation. Quite possible People's Champion is one of theirs though, I'll see what I can find out.