Monday, 19 September 2011

Chriso Is (a bit) Unwell

This week I have mostly been drinking ...
Last week should have been a busy one. Monday saw the launch of Windsor & Eton brewery’s Republika, a 4.8% pilsner made using Saaz hops and Czech yeast, at the Rake. Tuesday was the opening of the Tap East bar at Westfield Stratford City, the latest venture (Tap East, not the shopping city that is) from the guys behind Utobeer and the Rake, with an in-house brewery due to come on stream soon. Wednesday was the Quality SE1 Pub Crawl, with guest appearances from Kernel, Innis & Gunn and Sambrooks. Saturday was going to be a bash at London Fields brewery but it seems that was put back to Saturday 24th, unless I got the date wrong in the first place. And that’s without bringing beers festivals at the Sultan in Wimbledon and the Rose & Crown in Walthamstow into the equation. I say should have been because I missed the lot due to an annoyingly persistent snot-ridden bug attack.

I will be trying catch up on these missed opportunities, and to write something about them, before too long but in the meantime you will have to make do with a little piece about something stirring out in Suffolk. However, London Fields brewery will have to wait as next weekend I will be at the Borefts beer festival at De Molen Brouwerij in the Netherlands where Thornbridge, Marble and Kernel breweries will be flying the flag for the UK. Which means I will also miss the first beers from London’s latest brewing venture at the Botanist pub, from whom I received an invite to their launch on Thursday.

Between now and heading for Holland I will be attempting to drink and review a sizeable proportion of the sixteen beers comprising the Sainsburys Great British Beer Hunt, currently all sitting in my fridge. Although I have to acknowledge that The Beer Monkey, and several other, have stolen a march on me on that one. In addition, Monday sees the arrival of the brewsters of Project Venus and Venus Rouge, their latest creation at the Rake. And on Wednesday I hope to get to the Bricklayers Arms for the first day of their Derbyshire beer festival.

Just a few years ago, beer events in London were thin on the ground. Nowadays the scene has burgeoned and there is so much going on that even Londonites who never venture beyond the M25 are bound to miss something sometimes. I try to maintain a calendar of London-ish beery happenings but it is getting tough to keep abreast of every event. The expansion of interest in beer in London is immensely encouraging but also extremely annoying when it’s an unseasonal bug that’s to blame for missing out rather than simply a lack of time.

Winsdor & Eton Republika is available in bottles from the brewery shop (see brewery website for opening times) and at the Beer Boutique Putney & Noble Green Wines in London. Also available online from Beermerchants. The Rake bar also has bottles at the moment. More to follow when I’ve had a chance to taste the stuff. Look too for another new brew - Conqueror 1075, a stronger version of Windsor & Eton’s excellent Conqueror Black IPA, also available from Beermerchants.

Tap East is a bar located on the lower ground floor of the Westfield Stratford City shopping complex (deep joy), aiming to carry 6 cask beers, 10 keg taps and over 140 bottles in addition to beers from their in-house brewery which are due to debut in October. More to follow when I’ve been there.

The Quality SE1 Pub Crawl is a monthly event taking in some of the best hostelries in, er, SE1 - that means the Market Porter, Rake, Draft House & Dean Swift amongst others. Everybody welcome. The next crawl takes place on Wednesday 19th October.

London Fields is a new microbrewery in Hackney. So far they have made six beers, which were first available at an extended launch party over the bank holiday weekend. The event was so popular they decided to hold another. I have not yet managed to try any of the beers and have no information about outlets. More to follow.

The Sainsburys Great British Beer Hunt is an event at which beers from smaller brewers get a temporary slot on the supermarket’s shelves and the two winners are stocked for an extended period. Reviews to follow.

Borefts Beer Festival is a now annual event hosted by De Molen Brouwerij in the small town of Bodegraven in the Netherlands with choice offerings from hand-picked brewers from around Europe. More to follow.

The Botanist is a pub and restaurant near Kew Gardens which is the latest in a string of new brewers coming on stream in London recently. Additional information on their Facebook and Twitter pages. More to follow.

Project Venus aims to promote women in the UK brewing industry, drawing inspiration from the Pink Boots Society in America. More to follow.

The Bricklayers Arms is a pub in Putney which holds several beer (and also cider) festivals a year, showcasing around a hundred beers from a particular county and invariably including some very rare specimens indeed.

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