A lost afternoon (London part 2)
For the beer enthusiast, London has a lot to offer. The Rake, The Craft Beer Co, The Porterhouse, The Southampton Arms just to name a few. We had started the day with grand plans to at least drop into The Rake but the amazing Brew Dog had us trapped for the best part of the day. We reluctantly managed to drag ourselves out eventually and back out into the big city. Some cake and a walk round St James’ Park were all we needed to prepare for part two of our beer adventure at The Cask.
Nestled into a block of flats in Pimlico, The Cask is an unusual-looking place from the outside. Nevertheless, it’s great if, like me, you have become fed up with being pushed and shoved around central London and just want to go somewhere a bit quieter. It’s spacious, modern and has plenty of seating. The staff are friendly and always ready to answer any questions. It’s just as well because they normally have a few taps dedicated to Mikkeller’s concoctions which I always have to ask about just because there’s different ones every time, normally with charmingly hand-written pump-clips that tell you very little. As well as Mikkeller, recently I have seen a lot of Magic Rock, Southern Tier, Dark Star and Thornebridge on the taps alongside other less well-known brewaries. I never fail to be impressed by their bottle selection which you can also buy to take home. Their selection includes beer from all over the world, most of which I have rarely seen sold anywhere else.
Sadly, as the hours in the day were running out and I had to get a train home at some point, I could only stay for a couple of drinks so I had to choose wisely. My first half was a Southern Tier Imperial Creme Brulee Stout (10%ABV). I always expect great things frorm Southern Tier; I truly believe their Pumpking is the very best Pumpkin ale on the planet and is one of my all-time favorites. The Creme Brulee surpassed expectations. Although it was a deep silky black in the glass, it tasted pretty much like somebody had whizzed up a Creme Brulee in a blender. If somebody had actually liquidised a Creme Brulee and asked me to compare it with this stout in a blind taste test I’m not confident that I would tell the difference. It’s brewed with real vanilla beans for a big vanilla and caramel hit. You even get a sense of the burnt caramel topping. It’s really a pudding dressed as a beer with absolutely no bitterness. I kinda wish I’d had this after my lovely Fish & Chip supper.
Having said that, my final beer of the day was a pretty refreshing accompaniment for the food. To round off the day as I had started it, I went for a Mikkeller with one of those hand-written pump clips I mentioned known as The Big Hunt for Pine (6.5%ABV). Although it wasn’t really extraordinary, this dark, cloudy amber ale did remind me of the lovely pine sugar from the Heston Blumenthal mince pies I’d had over Christmas which made me feel slightly nostalgic. Light and sweet with a little light hops and malt, it was the perfect thing to round off a lovely day in the big city.