To The King William IV for a day of Brodies beers at their Bunny Basher festival.
I've been late to the party when it comes to Brodies. I met Lizzie and her mum at London Brewers Showcase last autumn, and had made a note to get along there as soon as I could. No opportunity presented itself until I was invited to go along and help brew one of the festival beers, Noisome Cru.
I didn't get a chance to experience the pub on that visit, so was looking forward to putting that right and getting to know some of their beers. In tow are my friends Emma & Steve and Valerie & George from New York.
Val & George only got in the previous evening and were bushwacked into a welcome party. George, on his first trip to London, pulls a face as he recounts his experience drinking Spitfire. He fears that all the things he's heard about our beer might be true. His fears are allayed within a few moments of getting to the bar, when he's confronted with selections including Pina Colada Porter, Triple, Summer Berry Beer and a dozen others. For somebody used to seeing a dozen different good beers on, this is more like it.
We settle in for a nice afternoon while I scope out the pub a bit. Beer tickers and geeks are rubbing shoulders with local Gooners as Arsenal play Man Utd at lunchtime, the big screen at the front of the pub seemingly causing no distraction as the tickers update their notes. Likewise, though the footy fans are obvious at the bar for keeping the keg font busy, they don't seem to mind the growing crowd of out-of-towners jostling for bar space as they work through the beers. Familiar faces swing by, introductions are effected, groups form around the pub. There's a hog roasting in the garden, I watch fascinated as some of the entrails roll about inside the carcass as it rotates, yet never falling out onto the coals.
Each trip back the bar sees another new beer on. The excellent Superior London Porter is there, as is a Ruby Porter and the terrifying 22% Elizabethan. I didn't know they'd brewed this monster. TBATB (That Bloke At The Bar) had a very wicked smile on as he told each new customer closest to him about it. I didn't try it. Wussed out. This time. But I mean to head back soon. This is a lovely pub. Spacious, lovely garden area, good food and great beers.
The Noisome Cru? Very drinkable, even at almost 9%. Lovely long and spicy finish a pleasing contrast to the bitter hoppy start. It could do with perhaps a bit of ageing, but it will be in bottles, and Brodies' success rate with the bottles I've tried has been 100% to date, so I'm looking forward to sampling a bottle or two a few months or more down the road.
My friends walked by me as I watched the last few minutes of the Man City vs West Ham game. I watched them head happily along Leyton High Road towards Stratford. They enjoyed their visit and their beer, and today they've woken up to news that has a special resonance to them, so I think they'll be heading to a pub somewhere to hoist a pint. And it'll be a good pub with good beer.