During my recent trip to London, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will no doubt have seen my many messages about the beer I was drinking at the time. Or as one friend kindly put it “Stop filling my bloody timeline up with pictures of bloody beer!” (Edited, “polite” version…)
There was a reason for this albeit a personal one, I wanted to try to keep track of what I’d drunk and where, over a rather hectic pub crawl.
Anyway here’s that list give or take a few that I forgot about or can’t now find.
- Euston Tap: Odell 5 Barrel Pale, Summer Wine Brewery Galicoe and Rouge Hop
- The Bull (Highgate): Little Creatures Pale Ale
- Southampton Arms: Brodies Shoreditch Sunshine x 2 (man that was good)
- Brewdog Camden: Hitachinos Nest Amber and Pale, Brewdogs American Saison, IPA is Dead Motueka and Dogma, Mikkeller & 3 Floyds Boogoop (beer of the week)
- Craft Beer Co: Dark Star Revelation, Rogue Double Dead Guy, De Molen Vuur and Vlam, Evil Twin Shoreditch Hipster, Magic Rock 8 Ball
- Dean Swift: Arbor Ryeteous Mild, Sierra Nevada Celebration
- The Rake: Anchor Bock
- Cask Pub & Kitchen: Marble & Emelisse (collaboration) Bubbermans Best, Evil Twin Saison, Mikkeller 1000ibu and Sorachi Ace x 2
Quite a decent list but nothing over the top, lots of hops evident of course as is my preference especially on warm spring days. What surprised me when looking back though was the dominance of keg beers amongst my selections. I hadn’t set out to purposely target these beers, each choice was made as a spur of the moment decision based upon what was presented to me on each bar top.
Oddly though my two favourite beers of the three days were from different ends of the spectrum in terms of style, strength and serving method. Shoreditch Sunshine as found at the Southampton Arms was light quaffable session beer, fresh, fruity and extremely hoppy too. I went back for another which is odd for me on a beer pilgrimage, but it was just that good.
At the other end was the Mikkeller and Three Floyds collaboration, “BooGoop” barley wine. A rich and resinous sipper, full flavoured with bags of syrupy citrus fruits, a warming mouthfeel and dry bitter hop finish to boot.
One of those beers that you could just sit swirling around the mouth allowing the taste buds to pick out more and more flavours, if only I had the time..
As you can see though, I liked it, I liked it long time.
Reminiscing over though and back to the question, why was my shopping list dominated largely by beers served via keg lines, was it simply lack of choice? No, too much on offer for that surely??
I think the answer though, does lie in the above question albeit in reverse. The type of beer I chose is the sort of beer that I actively seek out in bottled form, rarities, stronger imports, big fat juicy American IPA’s and the like. Seeing them being served fresh on the bars is just too much of a draw for me, I get that Willie Wonka kid in a sweet shop grin on my chops and am sucked into the pure indulgence of it all.
Conversely, after only a couple of days though, I have to confess to finding myself soon longing for a normal pint, a quaffer, something equally tasty and refreshing to sup and sup again without fear of being pickled in my own alcoholic juices. This I found in a pint of Summer Wine Breweries Rouge Hop at the Euston Tap, the place where all London beer tours should start and end, it was my last taste of London and was beautiful..
So what is the point I’m so long windedly trying to make I hear you groan?
It’s this, I want more keg, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many times again, not just imported keg but good, solid British keg of all strengths and styles too to sit in harmony with it’s foreign bedfellows. I don’t want it to replace real ale dispensed from the cask, I want it to exist everywhere in harmony, giving punters across the UK a real choice of what they want to drink and how it is served to them at that moment when stood in front of the polished bar top.
I drowned in keg in London because I never see it locally or anywhere else for that matter, unless I travel to other cities specifically to get it.
When I get there I enjoy it immensely, but must miss countless other lovely local beers in the process as I’m panic buying it like stamps, petrol or bread on New Years Eve, knowing that once I leave there’s no more to be had back home…