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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Craft Beer Co hosts Southern Tier

I write this almost one week on from the spectacular opening night of Craft Beer Co in Farringdon.  Somewhat lazy, you might say, but a significant delay was incurred while I rode out the hangover - Fuggles was in no state for writing for at least 2 days, and then it was the weekend - topping up the hangover, etc.

So here we are, belated congratulations to the owner of the fabulous Cask Pub & Kitchen for repeating his success, and then some.  Boasting no mean 16 hand pulls and 21 fonts is close to my idea of beer heaven.  It was harder than being at a beer festival, where at least you can write off a significant number of the beers as being ones you have already tried.  Confronted with 30+ beers that I had never even seen before in the space of 10 metres, I nearly went into meltdown.

To describe it as 3 deep at the bar would be an understatement.  The beer world and his wife had turned out to check out the latest shrine to the craft beer revolution.  Rumour has it the scotch eggs and pork pies didn't last past 9pm.  My disappointments were therefore only two-fold.  Firstly, lack of pork scratchings.  These have the benefit that you can stockpile them in great numbers, even in a small pub.  And I'm yet to find the scientific evidence, but cling to a belief that beer and pork scratchings somehow constitutes a balanced meal.  Especially if it's fruit beer.  And secondly that Black Albert was just too lively to be tamed into a glass on this particular occasion.  Hopefully he'll visit the bar again for a second attempt.

I knew when I walked in the door that taking any comprehensible notes on beer would be a tall order.  But apart from working my way through the 3 Mikeller beers on offer, I was very taken with the beers from Southern Tier.

The IPA was predictably gorgeous and slipped away quite nicely.  But I was blown away by the Choklat stout.  It's true what the reviews say, it is the most chocolately beer I have ever had.  I challenge you to find one more so.  I am long since past expecting a beer with chocolate in the name or tasting notes to actually taste anything like chocolate, I think of it more as a euphamism for porter.  But oh my god have they done something right at Southern Tier.  Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, I commend you to try it.  Dangerously high alcohol, at 11%, this silky smooth mocha of beers earned among us the affection moniker "Kahlua beer".  I rather suspect that this beer may have been the root of my undoing that night.  But I'd knowingly overindulge again, given the choice.


  1. Dying to go to this bar - will have to visit soon!

  2. Like you I prefer to pay attention to other things around the beer, that all make the experience much more enjoyable. I had a think about the texture of the beer and the atmosphere of the pub.
    That got me looking at sites like this – a section of the same site tries to get you to nominate your pub but this got me thinking about your post: Is there such a thing as the “best pub”, is it more personal to the individual as to what sort of atmosphere etc they experience? (btw pork scratchings and beer are totally part of a balanced diet!)

  3. Jack - let me know when you're next in London and I'll giove you the guided tour of the bar. Apologies if we don't make all the way from one end to the other...

    Will - if we all liked the same thing, wouldn't it be dull, so I agree, alot of it is down to taste. I regularly hear people say they are unimpressed by my beloved Cask Pub & Kitchen? Luckily the Publican awards recently came down on my side on that one. However, I think there are some things we can all agree on - toilets that don't smell, knowledgeable and timely service, etc. You have to have the hygiene factors before you can go for the niche stuff.