Trips to London these days are great. I’ve been to our great capital so many times recently, I almost feel like I’ve moved there. Yesterday (16 Feb 2013) was no exception.
Train from Wolves left bang on time @ 10:45.By the time we got to Birmingham it was late….. However, just 1 minute late drawing in to Euston, so no real complaint. Spent the journey listening to some Pantera and Nuclear Assault live gigs.
Plans were afoot to meet up with some folk, and Twitter was awash with planning. The upshot of which saw me heading straight to Kernel. I’d not been before, so a first “new” for the day.
The map on the Kernel website was perfect, and just after 1pm i was walking through the open door(?) into the archway beneath the railway viaduct. Goodness me, the place was rammed! Looked for Phil (@filrd), found him easily (nothing to do with a bright green coat, oh no!) Also at the table were Andy (@tabamatu) Mart (@martjsmith) and Thomas (@tdtm82) Hellos were said, and I got a beer.
Kernel Table Beer was first up. Lots of people were telling me this was a good beer. It was ok, I was expecting more from a beer with the Kernel name on it. Decently drinkable though, and a nice start to the day.
Kernel being rammed, Andy offered to show us to Partizan Brewing. Also situated in an archway about 5 minutes walk away (or 20 if you’re Phil and Mart!) It was a lot quieter here, ample opportunity fora couple of beers then….. Partizan Saison Galaxy all round. Cheers! Very well balanced, lovely galaxy hop finish, but possibly hiding the yeast too much? Didn’t really notice the “saison” trademark yeast flavour. As a matter of comparison, we then all had a Partizan Traditional Spiced Saison. This was a “proper” saison, that sour-ish yeast nose was there right away, and I for one thought it much better.
Off to Craft Islington next? Go on then. Ridiculously, time was already moving on ….. (Does it go faster in London, or what?) It was already half three when we got in to Craft. I like this pub. Because it is a pub, in contrast to the “bar” feel of the other Craft venues. Plenty of keg and cask to choose from here. I plumped for the Dugges Edward. I’d never heard of Dugges before. They are a Swedish brewery, and based on this beer, they’re really rather good. A very pleasant light fruity IPA, give it a try if you get the chance. Next up, I tried The Mayan, from Ilkley Brewery. This is described as a “chocolate chipotle stout” on the pump clip. There’s a shed-load of chocolate in there! Both on the nose and in the taste, it was certainly chocolatey, with a lively finish from the chipotle chillies. A very good beer, which went very well with the chilli jam pork pie and mustard that I had as an accompaniment.
Time was pressing on, so we decided to head to Euston Tap, which was the focal point of today’s trip. Those great folk at Buxton Brewery were launching a new beer, and in the process had brought some of their other quality offerings to the capital. So, straight in to the new one then! Wyoming Sheep Ranch is the 5th in their Special Reserve range, and is an 8.4% double IPA, and it is bloody lovely. Depending on your nose, it’s either fruit salad or sweaty socks (but in a good Stilton cheese way). A big, full-bodied in your face thump of a beer, which doesn’t hide its strength in any way. In fact, the general consensus is that it feels stronger than 8.4%, which is rather unusual. Quite sweet tasting,more on the fruit salad theme, and I recall now quite resinous too, but with a bitterness underpinning all of this flavour holding it together very well. I’ve got some on order, and look forward to having it again.
As is usual with these events, bottles and stories were swapped, beer was drank, acquaintances were renewed, or began. It was Mike (@buxtonbrewermike)’s birthday. I’d brought him down some Beavertown Black Betty, and Mike very kindly gave me a Tsar Bomba and a bottle of Wyoming Sheep Ranch. Thanks Mike!
I had a few mroe beers, amongst others I had Buxton Black Rocks, Dark Nights & Axe Edge, all of which were on great form. Other new beers for me were Bristol Independence, Fyne Ales Vital Spark and Kissmeyer Black IPA. Final beer of the night was Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA, and all of a sudden, it was time for the train.
A curry when I got back to Wolves sealed a great day out, with some ace people and some high quality beer.
Thanks everyone for a fab time.