Cool beer in London. Surely a parody account.
My thoughts on London pubs are summed up in my suggested improvements to the GBG.
That’s a little mean, there’s a string of good pubs from Camden to Highgate, and South-East London is fun, but in general the warm welcome you receive in London comes in the glass.
The new Beer Guide gives me a chance to re-evaluate the capital by testing all the central London new entries on a sunny Saturday in September.
All four of them. London at the weekend means super off-peak returns, but also means that I can’t quite finish off the pinking.
Pubs like the Pelt Trader do a good impression of a weekday micro pub at weekends, despite the area being ever busier now folk have the chance of bumping into Tandleman round there.
Most pub tickers seem to have a plan. I just set off vaguely in the direction of Wetherspoons, stopping abruptly to take photos of street art and great buildings that most Londoners are too busy to notice.
Having caught the 7.35 from Waterbeach I was due a 9am pint. The Gooners on the train from Cambridge (glory hunters all) had convinced me it must be an early start at the
Library Emirates, so I sprinted along Pentonville Road to the Angel,hoping to beat the hordes with their newly laundered red and white scarves.
Not a Gooner in sight. I can only assume the ones I saw on the 7.35 were on their way to Highbury to flog their Europa League tickets to Germans.
Still, plenty of life in the new GBG Spoons. I seem to have missed this one over the years, directed instead by the Guide to the lesser joys of Brewhouse & Kitchen and the rather better Craft Beer Co.
Clearly it’s the Craft in the Spoons that appeals to forward thinking North London CAMRA.
I would normally have gone for the intriguing sounding Shipyard from the Craft board, but of course I have to try the cask in order to smear my pink marker over the GBG.
No other cask drinkers at 9.10 a.m. (I’d stopped to read the listings at the Lexington so was late), so no way of being sure the beer had been pulled through. I asked my “server” (as they call them in Islington) which had been pulled through.
“I haven’t pulled any of them through” It was 9.11 a.m. folks.
Whatever, the Truman’s Waterloo Sunset was superb (NBSS 3.5), served cellar cool and with a tight head. I could still taste it was a Spoons pint though.
Despite feeling a bit modern café-bar and posing table hell, I had a mix of professional drinkers and young lovers to entertain me in the Angel. Not being Simon, I won’t disclose the domestic arrangement of Alexis and the man who’d just scalded his hand on the coffee (craft, no doubt).
Buoyed by this early success, I reckoned I could make the other new Spoons by 10am, however unwise that strategy.
A weaving walk took me through a quiet Finsbury and Exmouth market,
and a rather busier Cheapside full of Japanese tourists wondering why the City was closed.
Luckily, I knew the Green Man opened on Saturdays ’till 6 pm, especially for pub tickers. Or it did before it was closed by Wetherspoons back in early Summer. Out of the Beer Guide before it even got in.
Probably just as well; I’d never have found the entrance to it.
Two more chain pubs from the capital tomorrow, and the most exciting pub I’ve ever seen in London.