Good morning/afternoon! Remember when I said I was packing my beer into my suitcase for another journey? I’m guessing the title spoiled it, but I joined Onward Travel and Dave Engbers from Founder’s Brewing on a week long beer journey in London. My grand plans of doing a daily write up were smashed by a strong desire to sleep, both to account for the time change and for the copious amounts of beer we’ve already consumed. Which is to say, this will be part 1 of a totally undetermined number of write ups.
I had to miss day 1 of this tour because of my prior commitment to Savor, so my Day 1 is actually day 2 of this tour. I hit my hotel (The Mad Hatter) at approximately 9am local time, after leaving 6pm EST from DC. So while sleep and food was the first thing on my mind, only food was forthcoming (started off with a full English breakfast). A few folks from the tour were hitting a hop on hop off bus tour, so I joined them and got a nice view of the city before coming back to the hotel at 2 to start off the day’s activities.
Day 2 was a historic Pub Crawl that started at the Black Friar. All in all we were scheduled for 9 pubs, but one of them was mysteriously closed. My personal quest to drink only new beers was very easy, each pub offering a great selection (though many pubs are ‘owned’ by a particular brewery and only server beers from that line, Fuller’s or Samuel Smith for example).
We then visited; Punch Tavern, Tipperary, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Cittie of Yorke, The Counting House, The Lamb and Old Tom’s, East India Arms (closed), and The Ship (Hart St). Of those, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese was my favorite; a building that has been serving beer since the 1600’s with much of the original structure intact, with a stone pub basement feel that created a really interesting and cozy atmosphere.
After sleeping for 12 hours, I was ready to hit day 3, visiting three local breweries! First though we visited Brixton Market for lunch and I found a truly outstanding Colombian spot. We were originally scheduled to visit Borough Market today, but due to the recent attack there things were still closed. On a side note, other than the closed market and increased police presence, things felt pretty normal here, which really speaks to the resiliency of the English people when it comes to tragedy.
Brew by Numbers was our first stop, a brewery tucked into two arches under a railway. No longer the English ales we were consuming the first day, these guys are brewing things we’re used to in the states (and they even had a New England Style IPA, is that ironic or what?). Tom Hutchins treated us to some really stellar beers here, including an Oyster and Seaweed Saison that I just had to buy a bottle of to bring home.
Anspach and Hobday was a few blocks away, also tucked under a railway. Known for their porter, they also had a variety of truly interesting beers, most noticeably and Mango Chilli Saison. Paul Anspach served us a little bit of everything, and we even managed to score a taste of their 3rd anniversary porter. A rack of bottles greeted us when we walked in, and wouldn’t you know it I left with some from here too.
Meantime Brewing has a large facility and a ton of beers. This time we got the usual walk around the production floor, sampled many more beers (including a Double IPA and an Early Grey Tea infused Saison). We ate dinner here and sampled a few more beers over the company of Big Al, who had enough personality to fill the entire tap room!
So today, (whatever day it is right now) I find myself taking the train to Manchester and visiting Cloudwater brewing, so stay tuned for more updates!