Boggle finally got to the pub today. After almost a fortnight when caring commitments buggered up my afternoon off (thank gawd for Brodie's and Kernel bottles last weekend), it was off to Cask and The Rake for some beery goodness.
The freezing, sunny London winter days we get always cheer me up. Makes the trip to the pub feel like I'm earning my pint. Travelling on a bus that never got out of second gear between Pimlico and the Elephant & Castle took the shine off a bit. I've never been on a bus where the driver insisted on giving way to every single bus within 300 yards of his back bumper. Still, Boris Johnson has torn the guts out of South London public transport as mayor, so I should count myself lucky we've got buses at all.
Sorry - interlude over. Where am I? Yes, Cask, where they have a few beers from Revolutions Brewing of W Yorkshire. I've seen their pumpclips there before, but never been in when the beer's on, so it was time to wallow in some vinyl nostalgia and see if their stuff is any good.
First up was 'Unknown Pleasures', one of their special series. Leigh Goodstuff (I think) posted the pumpclip on his blog a while back, prompting Zak Avery to comment it was the best he'd seen. The beer was pretty good too, a single-hopped (Glacier) 4.5% IPA I could have stayed on for a couple of hours. The newest special, 'Milk And Alcohol' (thank you Dr Feelgood), a milk stout, was also on and didn't touch the sides. I like the branding and the beers were very drinkable. Peter at Cask says the brewer is a nurse by day. It made me ponder on this whole beer and brewing description roundabout some of us are on. Boak & Bailey decided earlier today that maybe dance makes a suitable shorthand, but maybe music will do it. These beers did.
While I was at Cask, notices advertising a 'bin ends' sale of bottled beers were going up. They've apparently got loads of new stuff, so need to make space in those big fridges. I picked up a couple of Smuttynose Robust Porters and a Duck-Rabbit Porter for under a tenner, which is almost 50% off. They've got some bombers (650ml) from Pretty Things, Rogue and Stillwater (including Stateside Saison and Jack D'Or) for between £5 and £10, you can get Mikeller Single Hop bottles for £3 per, and there are beers from Hopping Frog, Hitachino, Nogne (not the Horizon beers) and Dark Horse, all at around 50% off. Pop in to stock up.
At The Rake the beer engines were featuring stuff from By The Horns, a newish brewery from Merton. They premiered their first couple of gyles at October's second London Brewers Showcase, occupying The Table Of Destiny. This is the first table on the left as you go into the big function hall upstairs at Brew Wharf. in 2010, Camden were there with a couple of kegs, a cask and one of Paul Daniels' second-hand black tablecloths. This time Camden had a big fuck-off backdrop and a huge bar with loads of beer and their celebrity posse serving.
So, this time it was By The Horns on that table. It would be fair to say that they probably didn't do themselves any favours in terms beers to make you sit up and take notice in October, but they've had some time to develop some new recipes and work on their branding. The Rake had Lambeth Walk Dark Porter and Bobby On The Wheat. My camera phone is crap, so I've included a pic of the beer I didn't try, but you get the idea about their schtick. Chalk-effect sub-Banksy artwork (the Porter has a Pearly King) and London-themed beer names. I'd be happy to try a few more given a bit more time and maybe at the next LBS they'll have the big glittery bar.
One more thing. Anybody else been impressed with Arbor Ales' single-hopped beers? Their recent Bullion and the 500-Minute IPA (wtf?) were lovely, and they're doing a Meet The Brewer at Cask this coming Monday. I can't go, but you should if you aren't already busy.