Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Beers Of London Series: 43. Crate Brewery - IPA 5.8%
Beers Of London Series
43. Crate Brewery - IPA 5.8%
Back in number 15 of this series I reviewed Crate Lager and pondered on what their beer would taste fresh from the tap by the canal-side with a slice or two of pizza on a warm summers day. Well I'm pleased to say that a week or so ago I was able to find out for myself.
I've read reports that Crate is tricky to find, a brewery hidden in a labyrinth of warehouses and run-down buildings, but essentially it's not actually that difficult and if you come out of Hackney Wick station from the direction of Stratford on the London Overground then it's pretty much left, left, and left again. You might want to download the Craft Beer London app to your phone though just to be sure.
It does indeed sit alongside the canal, and quite a pleasant little spot it is too, and I particularly like the way that although it partly blends in with its rather bleak and scruffy surroundings, it also has the feeling of an oasis of calm. The tables and benches are fairly Spartan but it's relaxed and laid back letting the beer and pizza do the talking under the background murmur of idle conversation. It wasn't particularly busy when I visited, but a word of advice, you may want to order your food when you arrive as the pizzas are prepared and cooked to order so it's probably not best to visit if you want to eat in a hurry.
The outside seating area is in similar vein to the interior but be aware that there's no barrier to the water so keep an eye out should you take any youngsters with you. The pizzas when they come are good and tasty, reasonably priced, and easily enough for two to share unless you're feeling particularly hungry. The beer on offer is good too. I sampled the Crooked Stout, the Best Bitter, the Lager (well I had to have it fresh) and the IPA. There were guest beers from Alpha State and Thornbridge, as well as a fridge stocking the likes of Partizan and Kernel with some Belgium and American beers for good measure. A fine selection of wine and cider is available too, but it's the IPA that I'm reviewing tonight so I'd better crack on.
It pours a pale amber with a tight white head, so far so good and there's a wonderful aroma of melon, peach and pineapple that is instantly captivating. Dry, sharp and tight over the tongue, lemon, pineapple and sweet sticky peach juice flavours emerge and combine with some frothy melon and the merest notion of mango rather delightfully before drying out quickly, perhaps a little too quickly on reflection. The finish has a light citrus lick with shades of lemon, lime and orange, a very tasty ending to a fine IPA. I could have drunk that all afternoon if I'd had the time, and next time perhaps I will.
Addendum: I have learnt today that Urban Sessions, London's biggest and best beer bar in a converted public baths, is also incredibly near Hackney Wick station. Instead of turning left for Crate (see directions above) just turn right and keep going. As it doesn't open until 4.00pm during the week, why not visit Crate for a late lunch and a few beers before heading down there? Just saying ...