The Craft Beer Co, Clerkenwell
One of the ‘Must do’s’ on my London list was to visit Craft, and I’m pretty glad we made the effort. I’ve read nothing other than excellent reviews since it opened it’s doors a few weeks back, and I was raring to go. 37 Draught Beers? Over 150 bottles? I’m there.
The evening after the trade session at GBBF meant that the place was nicely busy, but thanks to a decent number of staff and the design of the place – high ceiling, lots of light – there were no horrific queues or sweat-dripping walls. In fact, the bar ran like clockwork, and we gave serious time to peruse the beer menu before leaping in.
Obviously, you can’t miss Mikeller. There must have been ten or so of Mikel’s beers on keg, and I opted for Drinkin’ In The Sun – at only 3.9%abv, it was a super-refreshing, thirstquenching hero to start. A pale/Belgian hybrid, you get some bitter lemon-peel, a touch of coriander seed and just a whiff of Brett on the nose. Exotic Punch plowed the same furrow, but with a little more sweetness in the body, and much more fruit on the nose. Wonderful beers both.
Baird Brewing are a new one to me; in fact, Japanese Craft Beer in general is. Although I have thoroughly rectified this now (Posts to come soon), I have to say I was really impressed with Baird. Solid, straight-ahead maybe, but tasty beers full of flavour. Craft had run out of Kurofune Porter, so we opted for a Red Rose Amber Ale (5.5%abv). Robustly sweet, layers of caramel in the body and topped off with a slightly herbal hoppiness, it was a satisfying introduction to Far East beers.
After a brief conversation with Ray – a barman who genuinely went out of his way to ensure we were missing out on nothing, (Tandleman has also commented on the pleasantness of the staff.) we finally got to taste Mikeller’s legendary Beer Geek Breakfast (7.5%abv). Stupendously coffee-dominated, with a really smooth, cereal heart, I immediately realised why people rate it so much; it’s a coffee-lover’s dream; strong, smooth and satisfying.
Getting a taste for the dark now, Alvinne’s Freaky Dark was…well, Freaky. At 3.8%, it’s super-drinkable, but light – in fact, almost thin. But the term ‘thin’ seems a little negative – I actually quite liked it. Hard to categorise, I personally thought it was like a dark Gueze – sour, biting, spritzy and dry – but black. Like I say, I liked it , and will try it again to try and pin it down.
I throughly enjoyed our few hours at Craft, and needless to say it’s now going to be one of those places I’m going to find it hard not to visit when in London. Friendly, knowledgable staff, and good beer. A lot of good beer. That’s all you need to make a great beer bar. Not hard, really, is it?
The Craft Beer Co, 82 Leather Lane
Clerkenwell, EC1N 7CR
Posted on 06/08/2011, in Uncategorized and tagged Alvinne Brewing, Baird Brewing, Bars in London, Drinking In London, Japanese Craft Beer, Mikeller, The Craft Beer Co. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.