Beer Hunting

London to Gent and all stops in-between

Part One – London

Utobeer – Best Place to buy beer in London. The Rake – The best place to drink beer in London

Due to an early EuroStar train from St Pancras International on Saturday morning we booked a B&B in London on Friday night

As soon as we arrived we dropped off our bags at the digs and headed over for a mooch around a bustling Borough Market. I’d set myself a limit of buying just one special bottle from the usually well-stocked Utobeer. As expected I came away with two, it could have easily been more. I nabbed bottles of Schmaltz Jewbelation 12 and Great Divide Oak Age Yeti.

While we were nearby we of course headed over to the capital’s premier beer bar The Rake. Over the last week I’d been harassing Glynn (the bar manager) to insure there’d be something “Hoppy and American” on draught for when I visited. The keg of Stone Levitation was spot on at a mere 4.4% ABV. A deep amber beer with caramel malt and lots of fresh pine hops. A perfect beer to enjoy in the beer garden on a glorious day. Next beer up was Crown Brewery’s Ring of Fire. A big chocolaty ale with a red wine-like quality. Molasses and a warming infusion of homegrown chilies. This beer was brewed by master-brewer Stuart Ross and’s Andy Mogg. A confirmed chill addict, Andy supplied the fiery little beasties grown by his own fair hand.

To contrast the full flavoured chili beer I next opted to splash out on a bottle of Nogne O Pale Ale and a Odell IPA for Esther. Both were tasty and bright ideal to quench our growing thirst. After a bottle of Harvistoun Schihallion lager, more Odell IPA and more glasses of Levitation Ale…we started to think about getting something to eat.

Serving up some good food and some fantastic beers!

Next to the Market Porter for a quick pint. Esther and the two friends we’d picked up en route had pints of Meantime London Pale Ale but I wanted to sample a couple of halves. When we arrived I was elated to see Crannog by Fyne Ales Brewery but when I ordered it I was told it had all gone… gutted! I’ve enjoyed both Avalanche and Highlander from Fyne and would have loved to have tried this wheat ale on hand pull. I ended up with two reasonable enough pale ales and I cannot recall the names of either of them. We polished those off and stepped down the road to Brew Wharf to get something to eat. I had been recommended this place on twitter by “Chunk” of Beer.Birra.Bier on the strength of good for and the chance of sampling the Uber-cool and very hard to find Saints and Sinner beers. I went for a pint of Hoptimum along with my meal of Pork Belly and potatoes. Hoptimum is a great light golden ale brimming with American hops. This was a great match for the fatty meat and rich sauce, extremely drinkable at a respectable 5.2% ABV.

Two darn tasty and generously hopped ales

As we finished our meals a bearded man (is that a brewers beard?) approached our table and introduced himself. It turned out to be Phil Lowry aka Phil from BeerMerchants aka “The Beer Traveler” (That what I like to refer to him as) and little did I know one of the team who brew under the Saints and Sinner name. Phil has recently been producing beer in the Wharf’s in-house brewer. It was great to finally meet Phil and chat about his beers and the future plans for Saints and Sinner. Phil popped off to chat to someone else then reemerged with a pint of Goldfish Bowl and proudly placed it in front of me. Nothing tastes better than free beer and this pint was bloody lovely. An amber ale with crisp malt and lots of hops leading to flavours of Honey and pale stone fruits. A lovely beer and another generous gift for Mr. Lowry. I’m going to hold you to the delivery of a growler of “Tasty’s Brown Ale” Phil. Us BN’ers have got to stick together.

A fantastic sunny day in London with some great beer and wonderful company.

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