Beer and Bunting: The Alternative Jubilee

As the bunting is strung up and Londoners prepare for public transport meltdown, Pub Diaries is here to tell you beer drinking proles what else is happening in the capital this weekend. If your idea of a good day isn’t watching Her Maj’s booze cruise putter down the Thames here are a few alternatives which may float your boat.

Saturday 2nd June – The Euston Tap, Lager Party

A day of Punk and Hotdogs awaits at the Euston Tap’s Lager Party. Czech Pilsner, Bavarian Helles, local boys Camden and their Black Friday await. For fans of self styled beer punks Brewdog there will be an exclusive supply of Growler, a Citra infused lager. We’re told that they’ll be using the UK’s only Randall beer infuser.

Sunday 3rd June 13:00, The White Hart – Stoke Newington Literary Festival – Pete Brown’s Beer & Music Matching

Billed as Pete and his iPod I’m thinking this could go either way. After seeing him tweet Eurovision on Saturday night I’m hoping that I’m not subjected to an afternoon of Boom Bang a Bang. At £4 for a beer flight and the opportunity to hear the beery bard I’m willing to take the risk. Tickets are selling out so get in while you can!

All Weekend, The Cavendish, Stockwell

I’ve always been a fan of The Cav and they know how to throw a party. They’ll have events from Friday onward. Balkan Bebop, Burlesque, BBQ, Bingo and other letters of the alphabet.

Know of other events going on? Pop it in the comments… God Save The Queen

Beer and Bunting: The Alternative Jubilee

Know Your Apples: Cider Tap, Euston

There was a time when Cider was my drink of choice. When I would happily guzzle pints of Woodpecker and Strongbow until I felt queasy and yes now and again painted the pavement with my nights consumption. I was, I’ll add, a teenager. Back then, if you had placed most “proper” ciders in front of me I’d have laughed at the flat, cloudy pint and demanded my fizzy muck. I’m a little older and hope to say a little wiser but cider is pretty much still a mystery to me. Stood in the Cider Tap in Euston I’m flummoxed. Cue helpful American barmaid, who does a great job of making a recommendation and we are not displeased with the result. Perhaps she’s just glad that we don’t tell her she’s got an accent as seemed to be the standard response.


The sister of the Euston Tap is still a work in progress with banging heard from upstairs and stock piled in the upstairs area but I’m told (via Twitter) that it’s going to do for Cider what the Euston Tap opposite did for Craft Beer. If I was in pedantic mood I’d suggest that this may involve precariously manoeuvring pints of cider up a spiral staircase (the two Taps being opposite each other in identical gate houses). I’d actually say that the Cider Tap will do more than it’s established twin, which by no means was the first on the scene, but this feels like it is. Sure you can get a good range of Ciders else where but this has the craft vibe to it that is doubtless some part of the craft beer surge in recent years.

Although I won’t be diverted from the Euston Tap that often I’ll definitely be back for a little more education.

Cider Tap, Euston Road, NW1 2EF

Know Your Apples: Cider Tap, Euston

North v. South: You Decide!

Having recently written a Crafty Pint feature  on the London beer scene, it brought me back to previous posts hailing SE1, and indeed the South, as the place for all things beer. I’m now left pondering whether  North of the River is actually out in front. It’s keeping me up at nights and no end of counting sheep seems to help.

While the Dean Swift, Rake, Draft House et al are as ever excellent, recent visits to Katzenjammers were dismal. I won’t waste too much time on this, but table service should have an element of well service in it and eye contact in some form shows that you’re still awake. I may have to get my fix of proper Pretzel and Paulaner elsewhere from now on. Any suggestions on the proper Pretzel front appreciated. Now it’s not really that the South on declining. It’s just that the case for the North seems to be getting stronger.

In addition to all the usual suspects of the Euston Tap, Mason & Taylor, Jolly Butchers and Cask I seemed to have blanked EC1 out of my mind. Strange as it’s a place I lived, worked and drunk in throughout my formative London years. It counts amongst it’s great pubs, The Gunmakers with an always excellent beer selection and menu, The Peasant, Jerusalem Tavern, Three Kings, of course the Ye Olde Mitre. The Castle (just inside EC4) tucked away on Furnival Street has consistently good Ale on offer and recently the odd keg of Anchor. This would all be compelling enough in itself. The killer blow has to be the soon to open Craft Beer Co. on Leather Lane. Although sad to see the Clockhouse, a decent enough market pub, close its doors, the fact it will be reopened by the team behind Cask is enough to raise a cheer.

Now can you see my dilemna? In the interests of me getting some sleep I throw it open to you. North of the River v. South of the River… vote, discuss, let me get some sleep!

North v. South: You Decide!

Beer Confessional

Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been sometime since my last confession.

Father, I’ve neglected my blog. Not for a lack of anything to write about. I have travelled far and wide in the hunt for Pub related material. Walking Coast to Coast, enduring the best and worst of pubs along the way. I travelled to Islay, battled driving winds and drank Single Malt at 10am. The hardships I have endured. Putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard has proved difficult. I will rectify this but it isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

I can hardly bring myself to say this…. I’ll start from the beginning. The other night I arranged to meet the Captain and Cockles for a few pre-gig drinks. Twin Shadow playing a sold out Scala. Despite the Lexington being just up the road and a superior pre-gig watering hole the temptation of the Euston Tap and their erratic shuffling playlist was just too strong. In fact so strong that after the Camden Inner City Green, Saltaire Cascadian Black and Darkstar Over the Moon  I could have forgotten the gig completely and attempted to drink both chalkboards. But this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I drank Red Stripe. From a can. I know it’s wrong, especially bearing in mind the visit to the Tap but it’s the paradox of gig going that you can have a great gig and venue but the bar is stocked with cans of Red Stripe and if particularly unlucky, Carling. Surely it should be they who confess! Perhaps on the other side of the Pearly Gates there is venue that has it all. Well stocked bar, well priced; a venue where people respect the support act, where they don’t talk about their loft conversion mid set. Perhaps this place doesn’t exist in heaven or on earth. The Luminaire came close but it’s closed. But I digress Father and this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I allowed myself to be seduced by something sweet and Swedish. Kopparberg. Pear Cider. It’s like childhood Pear Drops and adolescent Cider drinking rolled into a plastic bottle. I really should not like it. But I do. But this isn’t the only sin for which I confess.

Father, I don’t seem to know when to call it a night. I allowed myself to enter Water Rats, a pub that never ceases to disappoint in the service stakes, when I really should have called it a night.  But, yes you guessed it, this isn’t the only sin I confess.

Father, i allowed myself to enter a House of Kebab which is very unlike your house. Grease stained walls and the ever present threat of drunken assault and e.coli aren’t enough to put me off steaming shavings of something loosely termed as meat, topped with a chilli sauce which could have come from the pits of hell.

Father, these are my confessions…

Beer Confessional

Euston Tap, Euston Road, NW1

Faced with a dark January evening, monotonous drizzle and waves of commuters my patience is quickly waning. I’m heading to the most eagerly awaited addition on the London Craft Beer scene, the Euston Tap and telling myself it will all be worth it. Having watched English cover all sides of the Euston concourse in search of a working cash machine we head out of the station in the wrong direction and towards King Cross. I’m close to breaking at this point. Craft beer, craft beer, craft beer is the mantra in my head willing me forward. Finally, after the interventention of google maps we are heading the right way. A neon sign glows up ahead of us like a craft beer beacon.

Housed in a a remnant of the original station, the Portland stone lodge bears no resemblance to the 60s concrete blight of the modern Euston. The view as you enter through the double doors is of a bar top clear of pumps. Taking a cue from across the pond beer is dispensed from a wall of taps set into a copper backingl; the blackboards flanking each side are almost overwhelming with a choice on tap of 25+ beers and much much more in the fridge. It’s difficult to know where to start. Working through the blackboards we start light with Camden Town Brewery Pale Ale and Mahrs Pils before moving to Erdinger Urweisse.

The downstairs horseshoe space is compact and you could be forgiven for missing the original narrow spiral staircase leading to the upstairs seating. A tad precarious after a few pints perhaps but pint holders are available. Upstairs is a litlle sparse but is perhaps a work in progress and lets face it – we are not here for the decor.

As the evening progresses as does the thirst for something new which leads us from the lighter starters to the heftier and to my mind superior Thornbridge Raven and Bristol Beer Factory Ultimate Stout. With only a small dent made in the ever changing list there is no chance of getting bored with whats on offer and now I know where it is there’ll be no need for google maps or the mantra as “craft beer” just doesn’t come close to describing whats on offer. Another landmark on the London craft beer map.

Euston Tap, West Lodge, 190 Euston Road, NW1 2EF

Euston Tap, Euston Road, NW1