Monday, 22 November 2010

London Pubs Lead the Revolution

Lovely, London Beer

Pssst! Yeah, You!

Come over here.

I've got something to tell you but you had better keep this just between us.

Closer, so no one can hear a word.

Ssshhh! Don't tell a soul but there is something rather deliciously exciting happening in the world of tasty beer and lovely pubs down that there London.

The Jolly Butchers

In the past few months, there have been the first initial tremors of a potentially seismic beer earthquake in the Capital City. Following on from the success of The Rake Bar and The Cask, two new pubs have opened that are leading the way in changing attitudes to how beer is perceived and consumed. These two pubs are the The Jolly Butchers in Stoke Newington and The Euston Tap just down from Euston station.

One proves conclusively that a pub can be an ale success regardless of the unfashionable postcode provided you are giving the punters what they want, a sublime selection of quality beers from innovative and exciting local and national brewers. The other confirms that there is clearly an untapped market for cutting edge U.S. Craft, eclectic European and diverse U.K. cask, draft and bottles.

London Beer Week

The Jolly Butchers on Stoke Newington High St has been up and running in its latest incarnation since May and in a short space of time has earned a reputation as the place to go in North London to find some of the finest beers around. Particularly, if, in the Jolly Butchers case, the beers are knowledgeably sourced not only from the finest Breweries in London and the Home Counties but also some of the best regarded UK brewers such as Thornbridge and Brewdog.

When I was in it was coming to the end of their London Beer Week showcase that highlighted the depth, quality and brewing pedigree of the Capital's micro's such as The Kernal, Meantime, Brodie's, Redemption and the Camden Town Brewery. Also available were regular's such as Thornbridge's Jaipur and Brewdog's 5a.m. Saint, Punk IPA and 77 lager. The food is rather good too.

What has struck me the times I have been in the Jolly Butchers was the range and ages of people enjoying the superb selection of beers. Not the usual Camra suspects on a day trip from the Bree Louise but a mixture of a young, edgy, left field crowd and well heeled couples going through the various beers with an infectious enthusiasm. Significantly, the beers were being downed by not just men but also a healthy proportion of women.

All around you could hear variations of the same phrases, "What's that you're having?", "You want a taste?" and "What will I have next?". The excitement and curiousity in their questions were almost tangible and an absolute delight to hear.

Havin' a  Butchers

The second pub has only been open since Guy Fawkes Night and has created fireworks ever since. The Euston Tap sits in the Stunning Grade II West Lodge in Euston Square just in front of the Station and it's mission is to "bring London the best draught real ale and craft beer available" and on the evidence of my visit, it doesn't fail in it's mission.

Tip Top Tap

It really is a beer drinkers nirvana with 11 Beers on Cask and 19 Draft Craft Beers (see pics)but that description doesn't do the Euston Tap justice as the beer fridges have to be seen to be believed. These truly are Magic and Enchanted fridges containing the finest selection of bottled beers I have seen in any pub in the UK. The choice is truly a beer perverts paradise. Bottles from brewers near and far include The Lost Abbey, Titan, Left Hand, Founders, Victory, Cantillon, Tegernseer, St Georgen Brau and Magnums of Mikkeller Festival 09 and 10 among many others.

The Bar at Tap

The choice blew me away and left me trapped, frozen like a rabbit in the beer head lights and it took me a few minutes to make up my mind as to what I would have first. I was jumping between the fridges and craning my neck to see the boards above the bar as I tried to narrow down my options. It was almost impossible but I went for lovely Manchester Bitter, followed by a Sierra Nevada Torpedo.

Behind Bars

One was Cask, the other Draft but both were beer and to be honest, I don't care about the method of dispense. If it tastes lovely then get it in your mouth and down your neck. Both were superb and again, temptation got the better of me and I decided to have one more before I made my journey back to the frozen North. I wanted something Big and Hoppy so I went for a half of Great Divide Hercules Double IPA.  It was reminiscent of Brewdog's/Mikkellers I Hardcore You summer collaboration and was full of meaty loveliness.

A Magic Fridge

The Euston Tap really is a special place offering the beer drinker an unrivalled choice in the city. It opens during a very exciting and optimistic time for beer and pubs not just in London but also across the country in pubs such as Brewdog Aberdeen, The Marble Arch, The Grove and the Tap's sister pub in Sheffield. Hopefully, pubs like these, The Euston Tap and The Jolly Butchers are merely the forerunners of a beer and pubs revolution that might just spread to other Cities across the country.

Another Magic Fridge

Did I say ssshhh, don't tell a soul?

Forget that, go to the nearest rooftop and proclaim from the top of your voice that the beer and pub revolution has begun and could soon be coming to a city near you.

The quicker the beer revolution spreads, the better.

Get to it, Comrades.


  1. nice post, it's nice to read about pubs in London that are not nicholsons clones.

    I live near the Sheffield Tap and it is a fine pub, I'll have to visit its sibling next time I'm in London.

  2. It's not really surprising that London as one of the world's great cities should have some decent places to drink. What's surprising is that London has punched so far below its weight in terms of beer until now. It's only with these relatively recent openings that London has come out of the shadow of Sheffield. If you'd said just a year ago that London was as good for beer as Sheffield, people would have laughed in your face.

  3. There are some great places and quite a few breweries now - I think 14 across the city!

    Some of this Nicholson's aren't bad - the Black Friar in particular is a pretty interesting pub...

  4. Its sad that I live but 20 minutes from the Euston Tap and have yet to sample it. Next time I am passing through I shall make sure to leave a bit of free time to sample its delights!

    I shall be honest, I have never thought of London as a beer mecca, more of a bar place. It seems I was wrong.