Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Craft Beer Social Club - London Fields

2 Tudor Grove, London Fields, E9 7QL

(This review also appears on Hoxton Radio)

(Update: from 27th November, The Craft Beer Social Club will be found at 232 Shoreditch High Street, London, E16PJ)

Craft beer is hitting the big time and, as many hoped, it's shocking the industry. Investors in the US are downgrading the prospects of big beer, while in the UK the market is becoming more competitive with the 'old guard' rushing to jump on the craft trend before it's too late - buying small breweries or creating their own.

The appetite for craft beer clearly exists amongst consumers. People are eager to try new beers, proven by the crowds in BrewDog and Craft Beer Co bars on a Friday night. The problem, if you're lazy, don't know a lot about beer, or in my case both, is that there can be too much choice. Often I'll pick the beer I know, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm scared of making a bad choice, and partly because I own shares in BrewDog

For those in my position, The Craft Beer Social Club is an excellent proposition. Paying only an entry fee, you sit at a table and are brought glass after glass of different British ales, and round after round of different foreign meats. Detailed tasting notes are also provided, just in case you want to learn a thing or two about what you're drinking. It's all very civil, for the first few glasses, and the large tables encourage you to make new friends. After five or six beers, the tasting notes had been forgotten - as had the names of the new friends - and I couldn't remember if we were eating alpaca or llama. Apparently, there is a way to tell the difference.

Occupying what is possibly a warehouse in London Fields, a short walk from the station, The Craft Beer Social Club is definitely as described - a pop-up bar. Dim lighting, trestle tables, a couple of sofas, a makeshift stage, and a toilet with accompanying bath, toothbrushes, flannels, and towels. Welcome to East London. Although not completely full, the atmosphere was fun, friendly, and full of noise - just as a bar should be at the weekend. There was even a hoedown during the set of Sam Green and the Midnight Heist.

I'd be lying if I said I learnt a huge amount about the beer, but I'll blame the quantity consumed for that, not the quality of what was on offer (although one of the stouts was vile). It would also be fair to say that there were some teething troubles on display - confusion amongst the staff early on, a quarter litre of vodka being served as a drink, and no mixers to be had. I'm sure these will be ironed out and who goes to a craft beer bar and orders spirits anyway?

Open until mid-December, it's worth visiting The Craft Beer Social Club for the evening or even as a starter to a big night. Take a pen if you want to make notes or sit back and just enjoy the almost endless procession of quality beers.

No comments:

Post a Comment