London Drinking

Ah, London. I really do like drinking in London. Maybe it’s because I don’t live there, so haven’t yet been beaten into submission by it. Everything still feels buzzy and new, and I always end up thinking that I should have stayed longer, because I’ve still got places I need to go.

My pre-GBBF session was pretty much based around places I know and love. I find it very hard now to get within ten minutes of King’s Cross station, and not start thinking about The Euston Tap. I still read mixed reports about it, but I can honestly say I’ve yet to encounter anything than excellent, polite service from the staff there. Quite a feat, given how busy they were at points over the weekend (running out of glasses at one point!). The first pint of the day –  a clean, crisp Camden Helles (4.8% abv) – slaked the train journey thirst in no time; crisp and first then drying into sweet/citrus notes. I could have happily stayed for another couple, but we had a specific agenda.

A quick tube ride later and we find ourselves sitting in BrewWharf; somewhere I’ve not visited before despite being in Borough a lot recently. A quick scan around the bar led to slight disappointment. Although Ivanhoe’s Pale Ale (4.3%abv) was perfectly nice – very nice, actually; Piney bitterness and biscuit body – it was the only offering from the brewery available. It’s a smart place all right, all exposed brick and pale wood, but can someone give me a reason to go back when I’m around next?

Onto The Rake next, and Kernel’s Centennial IPA (10.1abv) was truly worth taking on in spite of the heft of the abv. Orange-hued, bursting with orange-pith aroma and with a comfortingly viscous mouthfeel, it remained utterly, utterly drinkable and we whiled away another hour talking the transfer market whilst this nectar warmed our bellies. With the GBBF trade session in full swing, The Rake was a little oasis of calm in an afternoon where the temperatures were getting a little on the high side. If you’re not familiar with the place, jump on over to Rabid Barfly (link on the right) – Glyn’s the general manager.

After a bowl of Paella in Borough Market (well, part of it. It was closed, being a Tuesday), we headed over to The Market Porter to see what was on there. I love drinking in The Porter – and I’m not sure why. There’s something about it I can’t put my finger on. In terms of beer, we needn’t have looked further than Meantime’s Pacific Pale Ale (4%abv). In fact ,we didn’t – Wow – what a beer. Darker than you’d expect, with a firm, fudgy malt base, the nose just leapt out of the glass. I must add, too, that it was a pleasure to experience a Mango/Tropical Fruit sweet aroma rather than the usual ‘Grapefruitiness’ that we seem to be getting so bombarded with (more on this later). Stupidly drinkable and with a perfect, clean finish, we sank two of these each and I could have sunk two more. Stomachs rumbled.

A quick nip to Neal’s Yard Dairy over the road and some clean, slightly piney Goat’s cheese was procured, and, alongside some of my favourite Cornish Yarg and half a chewy, dense Rye loaf, we had an impromptu picnic. The beer was perfect for the cheese, and for a couple of hours, all was well with the world.

It’s moments like this – of sweet harmony – that give me the greatest pleasure whilst eating, drinking and writing about it. You think that you’ve experienced all that you can, but then something unexpected hits you and you realise that, in fact, there are most blissful moments ahead of you than you’ve probably experienced. And if that’s not reason enough to keep seeking them out, and helping others to do so, then I don’t know what is.


About leighgoodstuff

Blog: I'm Leigh Linley; born and bred in Leeds, and writing about it since 2005. TGS exists solely to highlight the great beers that are out there; brewed with passion by Craft Brewers around the World. I also edit the 'Tavern Tales' section of Culture Vulture, which looks at Pubs and Pub Life rather than the beer in the glass.

Posted on 05/08/2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I’ve never been in The Rake, and I only work t’other side of the Thames. I must remedy this!

  2. Love wandering around Borough, there’s just so much greatness to tempt the money from the pocket. Brew Wharf can be a little cold at times, but one reason to return is the varied beer they have from the likes of Saints&Sinners – there always seems to be something experimental there…

    • RIch – thanks, in that case I will pop my head in next time I’m at Borough – which is a lot, I love it down there. Like you say, beer and food heaven.

  3. Were you at GBBF on Tuesday, Leigh?! If so, why didn’t we catch up for a beer?! If I’d have known you were there I’d have hunted you down!

    Good pub crawl there. Something I do often as my train from home goes straight into London Bridge in 35 minutes.

    Also, almost unbelievably given the disgusting volume of beer I’ve drunk in the last week, this post has given me a massive beer craving!

    • Mark, tell me about it. I swore I wouldnt have a beer today but wanted one immediately after writing up drafts and looking at the pictures again! I was at GBBF on wednesday – I didnt go to the trade day as wanted to do my first GBBF as ‘a punter’ and see how it was without any influences, good or bad! Next time I’m down I’ll let you know though matey. Will be posting up my thoughts in the next day or so – looking forward to hearing yours!

  4. Despite the Rake, Craft Beer, E’Tap and Cask’n’Kitchen I’d rather be where you are mate. If only for a real football team and edible Fish and Chips :-p

  5. nice one looked like you had fun, cant believe I didn’t bump into you at some point!!

  6. The trade session is just like being there as a punter, so don’t worry about that for next year. It’s pretty full all day and then from 5 it fills out.

    Glad you had a good time in London!

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