London Drinker festival

In his latest voyage of discovery our beer correspondent goes to the capital in search of some London brewed beers.

The main reason for my trip was to visit the London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival held in the Camden Centre which is virtually across the road from St Pancras/Kings Cross stations so is very easy to get to. I had pre booked my train ticket and it was cheaper to go via Doncaster on Grand Central Trains rather than on East Midlands Trains direct from Sheffield. Maybe East Midlands Trains should look at their advance pricing policy.

For the first time this festival featured only beers from London, but given the diversity and range of London breweries these days, I was not spoilt for choice. I sampled cask ales from Beerblefish, Barnet, Alphabeta, Bexley, Three Sods, Wimbledon and Kew breweries, with probably the pick being Kew Petersham Porter at 4.3% and full of dark chocolate overtones.

Shortly before the planned 3pm afternoon festival closing time I set off on a fairly lengthy walk to the Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpub in the Highbury area. I have visited other brewpubs belonging to this chain and have enjoyed their beers and general ambience and today was no exception. Having sampled The Goalscorer and a black IPA called the Illustrator I retraced my steps calling first in the Taproom on Upper Street in Islington.

Eight casks were stillage behind the bar in a type of chilling cabinet, although only 3 were available today. I sampled a light and refreshingly Wild Weather Serendipity at 3.5%. Next up was another Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpub in Islington, near Angel station. Again, two of the in house brewed ales were sampled from the six available. These were Vlad Harvest Ale and Watchmaker.

Continuing my way back towards Kings Cross I called in the Scottish Stores. The welcome from both the bar staff and customers was in contrast to that I received in the two Brewhouse pubs earlier. The bar person didn’t utter a word whilst she served me and the ignorant customers sat on stools in front of the bar did not offer to move whilst they supped their lager and wine. Why do pubs insist on having bar stools in front of the bar at busy times? Fortunately the Franklins Conquistador Stout was the highlight of my visit to this pub.

Time still permitted a further pub visit so I continued along Euston Road to the Euston Tap (East Lodge), a small bar in the gatehouse next to Euston Station. Here, another Wild Weather beer was sampled, this time Big Muddy at 3.8%. It was then time for a brisk walk back to Kings Cross and the train back to Doncaster. No time for a drink here, before boarding the Sheffield train and then the bus home.

Andrew Morton

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