Thursday, 18 April 2013

Beers Of London Series
17. Tap East - Coffee In The Morning 5.2%

I've never been to a brewery more times than I have to Tap East, and if I never realise my dream of having my own brewery some day then I don't suppose that I ever will. You see it's so convenient for me. I live in Brentwood in Essex, and can get a train from Shenfield station that will get me there in under twenty minutes. Situated in the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre right next door to the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, it has been open about a year and is the sister pub to The Rake in Borough Market. It's a regular stopping-off point for me on the way home from a day out in London either by myself, with the family (my children actually ask to stop off there so they can have a burger, a pork pie ,or a pizza) or with friends. The staff are friendly (in that East End miserable/friendly sort of way) and knowledgable about the beer they have on sale, either on the sixteen taps (six cask, ten keg) or in the admirably stocked bottle fridges. If you like beer then they'll find something to suit your palate. It can seem quite a sterile environment when you first enter (incidentally it's right opposite Stratford International station, in the Great Eastern Market part of the shopping centre) particularly if it's not that busy. The big glass windows almost make you feel that the place is outside but after a chat and a few beers later, particularly as it fills up, you'll forget all about that. You'll also notice the brewery in the right hand corner of the bar as you enter, again behind a big glass window, and brewer James Wilson, formerly with Brentwood Brewing Company, can often be found there, or you may catch him in the bar for a quick chat about his latest beer.
Coffee In The Morning is a coffee (but you worked that out anyway) porter brewed with coffee grounds from the Grind Coffee Bar which is also in the Great Eastern Market area of Westfield.
It pours a very dark brown, exactly like a black coffee, with a tight rich creamy beige head.The aroma reminds me of damp wood and leaves, and is punctuated with spikes of used coffee grouts and a little smokiness. It curls around the tongue like the tail of a cat before digging its bitter claws in at the back of the throat. There's lots of bitter coffee in the flavour as you might expect, and this is mixed with a little tobacco ash to give the sharp smokiness you get from a cigarette rather than a bonfire. A square of high cocoa solid chocolate desolves on the tongue just before the finish which is dry and bitter like the dregs from a cafetiere. This is a coffee porter that means business.
For my money, and as a self-confessed coffee addict, this is the best of Tap East's beers. It delivers exactly what it promises and smacks you round the chops like your first coffee of the morning. Superb.

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